11.26.2006

Students Suspended for YouTube Composition

Two articles—one on cNet, the other over at CBC News—about two students who were suspended for posting a video to YouTube of their teacher going berserk.

From the CBC report: "the incident took place a month ago, when one student provoked the teacher into yelling at her while a classmate secretly taped the confrontation." Of course, the video was captured on a cell phone, so the school has banned cell phones and other portable electronic devices.

Readers of this blog will recall that I was posting a while back on teachers being YouTubed, and you'll see most of the videos I posted a few months back in this recent CBC clip:



At that point it seemed like only a matter of time before bans of this kind (composition and documentation technologies regulated and controlled) would go into effect. Some composition technologies are simply too threatening, especially in the hands of students.

I say this with full recognition of the issues surrounding publishing the text of others (a lecture, say) and the importance of consent. But students who post video of their teachers to YouTube insist on a new kind of classroom that is open and public; they also insist on a new attitude among teachers that is game for public assessment and scrutiny.

A video will necessarily take teaching out of context, that is true, and with a little editing, any teacher can seem inept at best and demonic at worst. But still, when I see composition and documentation technologies banned, as in this case, I can't help but think the folks doing the banning have something to hide.

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