The freedom of students to watch YouTube videos in school is in peril!
In addition to the usual nonsense of Banned Books Week, where ALA minions insist to the world that the United States is full of censorship and oppression, this year we can add to the hoopla Banned Sites Day. Whoopee!
It’s the brainchild of school librarian in New Canaan, CT, who is protesting the restrictions on student use of the Internet during school hours, which keeps the kiddies from using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, at least on school computers during school hours.
The poor dears, I don’t see how they can possibly get a good education without using Twitter and Facebook at school. It’s a terrible tragedy, and I’m glad someone is doing something about it!
The librarian is quoted as saying that she sees the restriction “as similar to banned books in that there are other voices telling people what they have access to in relation to what people are reading.”
If by “other voices,” you mean “teachers and librarians,” and if by “telling people what they have access to,” you mean “guiding them in their education,” then isn’t what schools are supposed to do?
Except that it’s not similar at all, since “reading” has very little to do with Twitter or Youtube.
Even the librarian acknowledges that implicitly when she says, “What’s important is that students have an opportunity to share information with the world in a supervised setting and share and use social media for learning.”
I’m not sure how reading a book and sharing information with the world are equivalent, especially when most of that information being shared is irrelevant to their education.
The justification is that education should be partly about the “real world,” which is “Facebook ridden.” “This is the kind of culture they’ll be in once they get into the workforce.”
Teaching how to use Facebook is sort of like shop class for the upper middle class.
There are a few things to say about that. First, since when does education have anything to do with the “real world,” if by real world we mean the grown up workaday world of most people.
Think I’m joking? When was the last time you solved a linear equation? Calculated sines, cosines, and tangents? Dissected a live frog? Named the capitals of every country in Europe?
See what I mean?
Second, it’s not like these kids aren’t getting their share of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube when they’re out of school. New Canaan is one of the wealthiest towns in the country. The kids are probably accessing all those sites on their iPhones when the teachers aren’t looking.
If anything, schools should be reducing the distractions of the real world so that students might be able to concentrate on learning how to do all the things they won’t be doing incessantly with their friends as soon as school ends.
It’s like taking a class in how to watch television or how to smoke pot. Maybe they could add beer pong to the curriculum, so that the New Canaan students would have yet another advantage when they go to college.
Third, while many people’s workdays might be ridden with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, almost no one’s actual work has anything to do with sites like this. They are a distraction from work for the most part, a plague on efficiency and attention.
Why introduce this same plague into the life of the students?
I’m assuming the ALA won’t be adding this to Banned Books Week. That celebration is already silly enough. If they do, maybe in addition to “READ” posters, they could make posters of celebrities watching their favorite YouTube videos or reading their favorite tweets.