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Scenario C: High School Videos

In every classroom, there are many teachable moments that extend beyond the content. When students post information online, it can present many teachable moments. Teaching students about responsible behavior online extends beyond the classroom and into their everyday activities as well. The following scenario is an example of a teachable moment:

Your high school Spanish students have been extremely excited about a recent project in your class. Students have been writing scripts and acting out “commercials” in Spanish for imaginary products. You have recorded the commercials on a digital camcorder and uploaded the videos to YouTube. The response has been very positive to these videos, and several students have uploaded them to their personal social media pages and blogs to share them with friends.

However, one of your students, Olivia, just forwarded you a comment written in response to one of the videos in which she participated and asks for help translating. The comment is in Spanish and contains several sexual references and curse words. When Olivia clicks on the commenter's username to find out more about the person, she sees videos with sexual content. What do you tell your students about the comment and what Olivia saw, and how do you advise them to respond?

There are several possible options for handling this situation, including;

Option 1:
This is both a teaching experience for the student and learning experience for the teacher. First of all, when posting any student content online without controls, a teacher opens themselves up to many possible issues. All comments to these videos should be reviewed and approved by either the teacher, the student, or both. The teacher should review the rules of monitoring comments on Youtube. The comment should be removed immediately and the settings should be changed so that comments are monitored before being approved.

Option 2:
The teacher should immediately email the principal and make him/her aware of the situation. Comments should be private or only be viewed if someone is part of the school server. This is a wonderful safety option for Google Docs and is user friendly. Here is a link to articles about the reporting process of inappropriate online usage. - http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/11127

Option 3:
Taking the right precautions from the onset helps to avoid negative situations online. Ideally, this project would have been housed on a private sharing site such as Google Docs, and therefore only viewable to those with the link. But since this isn't the case, then other measures need to be taken. First I would speak with the student to make sure her concerns are addressed and that she feels supported and safe. I would also take this time to review internet safety tactics with the entire class. (As is indicated in Option 1, the teacher should know about requiring comment approval before publishing prior to this incident.) Since this comment has slipped through, here is a link to flagging inappropriate comments on YouTube Flagging Comments on YouTube In the future, I would make sure videos are privately housed on the school server. If this isn't possible, then even YouTube has ways of making videos private by following the instructions on this video Making Videos Private on YouTube For some good tips about how to handle cyberbullying (and unwanted comments are a form of harassment), see NotMYkid Helpline And keeping a supervisor or principal in the loop during this occurrence is never a bad idea.