How embarassing – we made it onto the international news circuit via ZDNET Education:

The Victorian State government in Australia has banned YouTube in all schools after an assault on a 17-year-old girl was posted on the popular site, reports the Associated Press

The effort to thwart cyber-bullying has resulted in banning the site from all schools in Victoria, Australia’s most populous state, a minister said Thursday. This came after students posted a video last year of a gang of male school students assaulting the girl on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Although schools already filter websites and YouTube had been blocked, the recent ban came as more of a symbolic gesture of zero tolerance of cyber-bullying.

The state government “has never tolerated bullying in schools and this zero tolerance approach extends to the online world,” said Education Services Minister Jacinta Allan.

“All students have the right to learn in a safe and supportive learning environment – this includes making students’ experience of the virtual world of learning as safe and productive as possible.” The state government “has never tolerated bullying in schools and this zero tolerance approach extends to the online world,” Allan said.

Sooooooo, let’s blame the technology? YouTube is the evil behind everything and now those little darlings will go back to be their usual behaviour – knocking over old ladies in shopping malls, graffiti and vegging in front of the TV? I wonder if the schools will lock out the photo equivalent of YouTube’s videogoodness, Flickr. Here’s another solution, from a blogging teacher Becky Spies:

Using the picture below as an example, I will have my students take pictures on a digital camera, choosing one that they would like to write a poem about. Each student will upload their own picture on Flickr and add text within the picture that reflects their poem. The poem can be posted onto the Flickr website along with the picture. One of the main objectives of this lesson is to get each student to take ownership of their writing, and to feel like they have some “say” in what they can write about. It will get them thinking about key words that reflect the mood and topic of their poem. Also, the movement of going outside or around the building to take pictures will hopefully get their creative juices flowing, and create excitement about a task (writing poetry) that is difficult for some.

Her lesson plans using Web 2.0 sites are exemplary. Any other teachers out there embracing, managing and maximising the positive benefits of junior generated content and Minor Journalists? Tell me. šŸ™‚