by Cayden Gu, Palo Alto
Following the global spread of TikTok, videos have become the most important form of content. From copy cats like Instagram Reels to Youtube Shorts, videos have become a necessity for living and learning in a 21st century world. However, the school’s recent proposal to eliminate all forms of videos in classrooms threatens student’s abilities to engage meaningfully with this critical form of media. To ensure that Palo Alto High School adequately prepares its students for success after high school, Paly should not ban videos in classrooms because engaging with video content is critical for student’s survival in a technology-driven world, videos serve as a necessary supplement to education, and students are able to bond through videos.
With Paly’s reputation as a media driven school, Paly must ensure that videos are allowed on campus to prepare its students to excel in a dynamic, video-driven world. The Media Arts Center on campus is a reflection of Paly’s dedication towards advancing its students to become prepared to interact and consume all types of media, and with video’s recent rise, play must ensure that students understand how to engage with them. Nowadays, 40% of teenagers reported that they used TikTok to research information for their HW assignments. With TikTok being an app primarily driven by entertainment and lifestyle content, students must learn to navigate the perils of becoming distracted. At their workplaces, our students won’t be confronted with textbooks and readings—they’ll face digital content and media, which they must learn to work with. In the world beyond high school, whether it be at work or at social gatherings, students will need to prepare themselves to engage with video content responsibly—starting in high school.
Beyond being a necessary form of media to understand, videos are also crucial to supplementing other forms of education. Oftentimes, certain concepts are difficult to explain through textbooks, requiring videos to demonstrate another perspective on a topic. For instance, in my AP Literature class, only after watching clips of the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was our class able to decipher the confusing language in the play. Without videos, some scenes would come across as word jumbles, which does nothing to advance a students progress. Moreover, there are many different types of learning that the school must take into account. Video is able to effectively help students grasp concepts because it appeals to both visual and auditory learners. Thus, videos serve as a necessary tool in all classrooms.
Although some may argue that videos are distracting to students and prevent social-emotional learning by preventing socializing, videos actually serve to help students engage with their peers. Frequently, I see my friends bonding at lunch watching YouTube or Instagram Reels together, sharing laughs over common interests. Moreover, our newspaper staff has bonded through watching and even making TikTok videos. Videos are an accessible, easy way to form bonds with fellow classmates, and simply blocking this media would not help advance the school’s goals. If the school wanted to reduce distractions in class, they could reconfigure their network settings to get some limited restrictions during class time, but outright blocking all video services will only inhibit student’s growth at school. Finally, if the school truly hoped to increase physical games, ASB needs to find a way to increase their frequency and engagement. Students want to socialize and have fun, and presently, videos are the best way to do so.
Thus, to prepare students for life after high school, enhance students’ learning experience, and form bonds between students, the school must not ban online video services. Doing so would be an authoritative measure that only serves to promote the interests of outdated administrators.