Online opportunities available at CAPS not offered at BV

Annie Matheis, News Editor

The new CAPS center is equipped with exclusive social networking capabilities not available at district high schools. The social media options for CAPS students include Facebook and YouTube access.
The CAPS Center is unblocked from these websites to create a realistic business environment.
“We are mocking, or mirroring, an industry or business environment,” executive CAPS director Donna Deeds said. “What we do is we transform you as a high school kid into the world of work. We treat CAPS students like employees.”
Deeds said she believes it is necessary for the CAPS students to have access to sites like Facebook and YouTube so they can perform at the business level.
“That is why it is so different from high school,” Deeds said. “Because of the types of products and the people they are working for, they have to have those types of tools.”
Junior Beth Houghton, a Civil Engineering and Architecture CAPS student, said she had to use YouTube in her class to look up how to use a software system.
If it is found that a student in the CAPS program is using YouTube or Facebook for personal use, they are immediately dismissed from the program.
“They told us at the beginning of the school year it was a privilege to be able to use this stuff,” Houghton said. “If we misuse it, they will take it away.”
Broadcasting teacher Denny Brand said he believes that at the very minimum, websites like Facebook and YouTube should be unblocked for teachers and librarians that want to use them as a resource.
“I think, in the issue of fairness, the faculty at all the high schools should be able to use it as well as the students,” Brand said. “As a broadcasting teacher and a guardian of the First Amendment, I don’t agree with anything being censored by anyone.”
Brand said that he thinks his Tiger TV students could utilize YouTube to become more equipped for the broadcast world. He said professional journalists now use YouTube to reach a greater audience.
“What we do in [Tiger TV] is make videos,” Brand said. “It would be nice to be able to get on the Internet and look at the videos that are being made, not only by other students in other schools, but by professionals. In the interest of news, newsmakers are putting stuff on YouTube now where they didn’t before.”
Deputy Superintendent of Education Services Sue Dole said it is possible for teachers to request for certain videos and websites to be unblocked. Teachers must fill out a heat sheet, which is sent to Information Technology Services and routed to the appropriate people in educational services.
Dole said they usually try to keep this process in under 24 hours, but that is not always possible depending on the technical work involved. “We are required by law to provide that kind of filtering,”
Dole said. Journalism adviser Jill Chittum said social media sites
could be used in newspaper and yearbook. “Here in the high schools, especially in classes like yearbook and newspaper, where social media is a big part of where the industry is heading, our students need to have access to those types of websites and be taught how to use them responsibly,” Chittum said.
She said the newspaper even has a Facebook profile to contact sources and know their readership. She said it is important for her students to learn how to do this at a young age because media outlets all over the world are using Facebook in this manner.
“It is like any sort of tool,” Chittum said. “It is out there, you learn how to use it, what works and what doesn’t.”