While YouTube has provided education-specific content through YouTube EDU, this venue is often problematic from an instructor’s point of view. The “distraction factor” is extraordinarily high, and the ability to restrict access to content has been global rather than category specific. As a result, more schools have been shutting down YouTube entirely. Yes, that approach removes the distraction, but it also removes access to thousands of quality educational videos.
As a solution to this concern, YouTube has developed YouTube for Schools which is a network setting that allows school network administrators to turn on YouTube access only for YouTube EDU content. of course, this may not prevent students from viewing other video content while in class, at least the distractions will have some educational value.
The value of having educational video content segregated from general content is compelling, and I suspect that this move will allow schools to be more comfortable in addressing a more YouTube-friendly access policy. However, this is only a first step to more systematic use of video content in the teaching and learning space, and it will take a fair amount of time before best practices regarding the integration of YouTube content become widespread. Individual instructors will certainly continue their practice of recommending videos and sharing them with their students; it will be interesting to see if a more systems-wide adoption of YouTube video in curriculum occurs as a result of this move.
You can read more about the move on YouTube’s blog here.