14 Oct 2015
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Is YouTube allowed in the classroom?

By Shannon Williams

Millions of videos get viewed on YouTube every day. From music videos, at home videos and cats to instructional how-to videos, YouTube plays a significant role in education as more teachers turn to the video sharing platform to discover and share content.

There are thousands of YouTube channels dedicated to education. There are educational games, instructional videos, experiments and more. YouTube helps teachers and students interact, learn in different ways, and discover more. Teachers can bring experts right into the classroom and teach students more about science, history, mathematics, whatever – with illustrations, tutorials, and music helping students become more engaged.

But what are the rules around this content shared on YouTube? Are schools and teachers allowed to freely view and show videos loaded on YouTube in the classroom and to students?

According to NetSafe, unless explicitly stated, all YouTube videos (and other online videos) are protected by copyright. Unless the video is licensed for re-use the videos may not be downloaded for use in the classroom, unless the educational exemptions of the NZ Copyright Act apply.

However, NetSafe says teachers may play videos directly from YouTube in a classroom as long as they are part of a lesson, the audience is comprised only of students and teachers from your school, and no one has paid to be present when the video is played.

This exemption however does not enable teacher or student to re-post the video, or parts of the video (like a mashup) outside the classroom – including online, for example on YouTube or on a blog, NetSafe says. “This is because the educational exemptions to the Copyright Act do not extend to communicating/showing works publically, unless explicitly permitted to by copyright holders. Such works may only be used within the classroom,” it explains.

NetSafe reminds educators that any work that is used must be acknowledged appropriately to avoid plagiarism.

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