Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Schools- blocking YouTube makes my life difficult.

Earlier in the week I posted a general post about internet filters in schools. Today I'm going to share how filters are making my life difficult by blocking YouTube. 

The Scene: Library student (me) is working on a collaborative project with a local high school. Part of the project is that I and my teammates are making short tutorials about the library commons website. We are then going to embed those videos into the schools website. 

The Problem: Seems SUPER easy right? A little Screen Cast-o-Matic, some YouTube, a little cut and paste of the embed code and voila... a series of tutorials on the website. Of course it would be way too easy if it really were that easy. This week we hit our first road block, and by road block I mean we ran right up against the schools filter system, which blocks YouTube. We can't very well embed videos using a site the students and teachers can't even access at school. 

The Solution!: Teacher Tube. Excellent, a back up plan that will allow me to upload the videos and have them be available at the school. The thing is, people use YouTube for a reason. It's easy. It's quick. It gives you lots of options. I don't claim to be a Web2.0 guru, but I'm also not a novice. I made a profile on TeacherTube, and then did it again because it didn't work the first time. Then I uploaded my video... ERROR... uploaded again.... more try....ERROR. This was followed by my yelling at the computer, then going and getting my husband who is, in fact, a tech guru. He couldn't make it work either. We tried IE, we tried Chrome, we tried changing the file type. No. Dice. 

The Problem is back: So now I have no YouTube and no Teacher Tube. How am I going to get these videos on the website?!?!

We have a solution part 2: I took to twitter and begged for ideas. Mary (@bkbiblio) was nice enough to chime in with Vimeo as a potential solution. I was all over it. I created an account (it worked on the first try!) uploaded my HD even! Then I waited.... and waited.... because I'm not a paying Vimeo customer my video kept getting bumped to the back of the line. Finally, 45 minutes later, we were ready to go! 

Where we are now: Now I'm just waiting to see if the Vimeo is blocked or not. If it isn't then we are in business. If not then we may be back to square one. 

So What?: In case you are wondering (you're not) this is my favorite part of my posts. The "So What?" section. A professor of mine, Oakleaf in case any one is interested, asked me that question on my papers constantly. Apparently I was missing that crucial part. I know I can ramble on about any given subject... but what exactly is the point. In other words, "So what?". 

I decided to share this on the blog because it tied in so perfectly to this week's discussions. This whole mess started because the one website I needed is blocked at the school. So I can't share the new resources with the students in any thing resembling a timely manner.  I have a week to figure it out, thank goodness I went in now to test it out and didn't wait until the last minute. Why do we block YouTube? Well, because there is bad stuff on there. Instead of teaching kids to conduct effective searches on YouTube or to ignore the bad stuff and focus on the relevant videos, it's easier to simply block the site all together. There are alternatives, but they are not as well organized or quick to use. The actual posting of the videos should have taken an afternoon. Now we are on day 3 and the videos are still not up. All because of the filter. This might just be a case of restrictive overkill....


  1. Hi Kate,

    I feel your pain. Actually, I really do. Because in trying to help you troubleshoot the problem, I also gave it a whirl. Since it didn't work for you using .wmv, I decided to try uploading an .mp4 file which is an allowable file type. I thought I was golden because it was cranking along fine and then it hit the 59% mark. It stopped there and after waiting forever my session timed out. Worse even, when I went back in, they no longer had an account for me and I had to signup again. Take 2. This time it only went to 8% before it quit. I think we'll have to talk directly with TT because it's obviously not an isolated problem.

  2. I sent them an email! I'm hoping they come up with a solution.

  3. You already know I feel your pain. If Vimeo works, I will upload my video to there as well. Looks like we are going to have to hang in there for the time being...

  4. Dr. Oakleaf's "so what" comments are my favorite (seriously - that's not sarcasm. So hard to tell in this format!!) One of those instantly made me a better writer...

  5. Denice- absolutely made me a better writer. Not just on school papers, but on my personal writing as well. Every time I get the the edit process I find myself saying "so what?" over and over again. If I can't answer it then I'm not done!

  6. I have given up on Teacher Tube. Even deleting my videos from their site took several attempts - deleted videos would reappear a few days later. It almost seems as if the folks who 'manage' the site don't actually use the site. Missing graphics. Awkward interface. Horrible search. Good riddance.