Those of you who follow me will know that in addition to writing here, being an author and all the other things I seem to do, that I'm also a teacher. I've spent the last few years teaching adult basic skills, which is helping adults with poor literacy and numeracy skills, or those without qualifications, to get the skills and qualifications they need to either get into the labour market to begin with, or to get a step up in their careers. This is tremendously gratifying work.
One of the biggest issues any teacher will tell out about though is finding good resources. It's bad enough that schemes of work, lesson plans, individual learning plans and assessment and evaluation sessions take up all of your time. To find the time to locate quality teaching resources on top of all this is extremely difficult indeed. This is why most teachers are resource hogs who will always try to get copies of resource libraries from other teachers whenever there's a meeting or a training event.
Now though, Google has stepped into the fold with that can only be described as a godsend. They've launched a special YouTube Schools website where they've aggregated thousands of hours of video content and filtered out all the "distracting" stuff.
The content is filtered into 400 playlists, with more to follow, on subjects including mathematics, English, social studies and more. All of this is then filtered again into age groups.
In a press release, Brian Truong, YouTube's project manager said...
We've been hearing from teachers that they want to use the vast array of educational videos on YouTube in their classrooms, but are concerned that students will be distracted by the latest music video or cute cat, or a video that wasn't appropriate for students.
While schools that restrict access to YouTube may solve this distraction concern, they also limit access to hundreds of thousands of educational videos on YouTube that could help bring photosynthesis to life, or show what life was like in ancient Greece.
To make matters even better for educational establishments of all varieties the YouTube for Schools programme can divert all YouTube traffic from their establishment direct to the new site. This means that students can only use YouTube to watch educational videos, rather than being distracted by the latest Beyonce video. This site says it...
...gives you access to the hundreds of thousands of educational videos on YouTube EDU. This includes short lessons from top teachers around the world, full courses from the world’s best universities, professional development from fellow educators and inspiring videos from thought leaders.
The new system allows schools and educational establishments that sign up to customise the content to suit their own needs with teachers and systems administrators able to create custom playlists for students to match and suit individual differences in curriculum.
If you're not a teacher you probably won't get just how much of a big deal this launch is, trust me when I say that it's positively huge and will save teachers worldwide hundreds of hours of fruitless searching for content and having to watch dozens of long videos before finding something suitable for a lesson in class. Finally the peace of mind that comes with students not being able to look at "Cat playing with iPad" again is worth its weight in platinum.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.