YouTube creates a school-friendly version with access to thousands of educational videos

youtube for schoolsKids today need their visual stimuli, and Google just made it easier for teachers to play videos in the classroom. YouTube has launched a network setting that slims down the streaming video service and still gives school administrators access to a community of educational videos free of distractions.

Public schools typically block websites such as Facebook and YouTube, in a way cloistering students and at the same time impairing teachers’ access to online resources. BrianTruong, YouTube product manager, illustrates this point saying, “while schools that completely restrict access to YouTube may solve this distraction concern, they also limit access to hundreds of thousands of educational videos on YouTube that can help bring photosynthesis to life, or show what life was like in ancient Greece.”

YouTube for Schools allows teachers to plug into thousands of videos on YouTube EDU, provided by 600 partners including TED and the Smithsonian. The vast repository also offers navigation help, providing teachers with over 300 playlists broken up into grade levels and various subjects. Teachers can also create their own channels from any video in the YouTube universe.

To Access YouTube for Schools, administrators will need to create an official account for their school. They will then be allowed to approve teachers’ accounts and select which videos will be available in the specific school’s network. Of course, just because students are restricted to educational videos doesn’t mean teachers have to go without their daily fix of adorable kittens, but that’s an admin decision.

It’s cheap and it seems like a good way to bridge communication gaps between teachers and an increasingly plugged-in youth; though, short of confiscating smartphones, kids will still watch what they want to via their parent-paid data plans.