If you haven’t been to YouTube, you should go check it out. It is an amazing site. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can now upload videos. As a result, a lot of questionable material has made its way on to the site. Not really anything TOO bad, but it has created enough controversy that many districts (including mine) block it through a filtering/censoring system. I have mixed feelings about blocking the Internet in K-12 schools, but I’ve seen some outlandish and fringe videos on YouTube.
By blocking YouTube we are eliminating another possible educational tool from our toolbelt. The ability for students to easily share school projects is lost (at school). Additionally, there are videos on YouTube that potentially could be used in an educational setting. It could be video clips from a television program, an expert discussing a specific topic, or maybe just some nice home movie footage of a place you are teaching about. What then?
Well, you have options. You should not bypass your school’s filter, nor will you probably successfully persuade your district to stop blocking the site (though you might want to try!). So what is a teacher to do?
One easy solution is to download the video at home and then bring it to school to show your students. There are a number of tools and web sites that can help you with this process.
Downloading the video
- Find the video you wish to download on YouTube.
- Select and copy the URL of the video you wish to download.
- Go to either KeepVid or Oyoom and paste the URL into the specified text box.
- Hit submit.
A simple process to acquire the video.
Playing the video
To play the video you have a couple options.
- You can download a player that supports FLV files (like this one). I’m sure there are several others out there. This one is free and it works on Mac OSX and Windows.
- Convert the FLV file to a Quicktime or WMV player for easier use. There are applications for both platforms that will do this for you, but in the spirit of Web 2.0 and free, I am suggesting two online conversion sites. Zamzar and Media-Covert allow you to upload the FLV file and select one of several output formats (including MPG and WMV). Larger videos will take some time because of the upload/download time involved. Now you can embed it into a PowerPoint (or Impress) presentation or just show it through the player. Reposting the video will probably conflict with the YouTube copyright agreement.
For more on this and for info on automatically taking a YouTube video and adding it to iTunes, see TechCrunch. For an interesting teacher perspective on YouTube in the classroom, read this post over at Education Wonks.
(Inspired by Dean Shareski’s post)