Chromebook Conundrum: Youtube Blocked on School Laptops

By Lauren Gustafson

After over a year of online school being entirely dependent on the use of Chromebooks, Google Drive, Peardeck, and Wifi, the transition back to in-person school has morphed education to encompass the different styles of learning developed during Covid-19. In place of paper, school-issued Chromebooks tops desks in almost every classroom, and the variety of online strategies have carried over into the classroom despite a supposed return to normalcy. 

One major educational tool utilized throughout a variety of classes and for a variety of purposes is YouTube, the popular video-watching platform. Though not all of its content is regulated and school appropriate, it is utilized as a method of explanation, presentation, and example in most classes. 

Senior Lily Gordon is one of the many who reflects on the reliance on the application, stating, “For marine science, like a lot of my classes, we have a bunch of YouTube videos we have to watch and answer questions for for an assignment.”

Even outside of independent study and exploration, these videos are often assigned to be watched for a grade and serve as major parts of class curriculum in place of teacher-guided explanations. Some teachers like Economics teacher Mr. Prime and Psychology teacher Mr. Ireland make their own videos through this platform for the benefit of their students. 

Senior Erik Collins is adamant about the productive uses of the site, exclaiming that, “when we don’t have time to complete assignments in class we are given Youtube assignments to watch videos and learn outside of class… it’s good to wrap up a good lesson, get extra information, elaborate maybe with examples, presentations, and even models.”

Despite the reliance on this platform and its many uses both inside and outside the classroom, Howard County recently blocked the use of the app on school chromebooks. Outrage ensued because of the lost learning potential provided by the app and students are now working to convince county leaders of its importance. 

Senior Eliana Poirier, like many others, suggests that, “They should allow you to because it is very educational”.

The complete ban was quickly redrawn to allow flexibility of usage, but these changes were hardly apparent to students and parents. This redesign allows parents to opt their children into the use of the website, though most are unaware that this option exists. 

Collins reflects on his displeasure with the handling of the situation, questioning, “Why did I not know that? That’s important information I should know. I never heard of this … so I would say this is outrageous … How do I opt in? Someone tell me please.” Hopefully, these lapses in information distribution are solved to better inform students and parents of their options regarding this ruling. 

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