Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Tips for Using YouTube in the Classroom

YouTube has become a hot commodity in the classroom, especially in high school.  Teachers are sharing videos from their classrooms, professors are recording lectures, and then you have videos from the likes of Khan Academy and Periodic Table Videos to really add an educational value.  Below are some tips for using YouTube in the classroom.

1.) The biggest issue that most administrators have with YouTube is not the videos themselves but the extra content that normally accompanies them.  Its the comments, the ads, and the similar videos.  One way to alleviate that problem is to use a site called or ViewPure (which has a bookmarklet you can use).  It will remove all the extra stuff and provide you just the video.  So if you are having trouble convincing the administration to allow YouTube, show them this option.

2.) Sometimes, it can also be necessary to download YouTube videos in case you are worried about the Internet being down.  Keepvid is a site that allows you to download a YouTube video in several different formats.  It is simple to use and can make it easy to share videos.  If your school is blocking access, download them from home and then bring into class.

3.) Do you have some students who are visual learners but struggle keeping up with the auditory aspects of videos?  CaptionTube allows you to easily add captions to a YouTube video to help those students who have trouble listening and prefer to read, or hearing impaired students. 

4.) There are some great videos on YouTube, but sometimes, those videos are really long and you only want to show just a section of a video.  You also don't want to have to search through the video in front of class to find the spot you are looking for.  Well you can use a site called YouTubeTime that allows you to specify a time that you would like the video to start playing.  YouTubeTime can really help you narrow down to the important part of a video.

5.) Wallwisher is a popular site among educators.  Combining it with YouTube can make for great implementation.  When you provide a YouTube URL link in Wallwisher it will allow visitors to view the video without having to leave the site.  You could provide the video to students and have them comment on the video in 160 characters or less.  No longer is it just a video to watch, but it is a video to interact with.  If you don't want to use Wallwisher, you can use the Embed feature of YouTube and place the video on a website, wiki, or blog as well.

6.) As much as I am anti-PowerPoint, I do want to provide this option.  It is possible to embed a YouTube video into a PowerPoint without downloading the video.  You can learn how to do this simple step here.  Do know that you will have to have a working Internet connection for the video to play and you will want to allow some time for the video to load as well, so have a discussion ready.

7.) YouTube itself can be very daunting.  There are billions...yes billions of videos that you can watch.  So as a teacher how do you find ones that are specifically for education?  Luckily there are a couple of lists.  100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Educators and 100 Best YouTube Videos for Teachers are good lists that are broken down by subject matter.  This would be a great starting point to find videos to use in your classroom.

8.) I encourage your school, departments, or class to create a channel (i.e.: create a user name that is easy to find) for your students to use.  This way you can share videos with the community.  Using a FLIP camera makes it even easier because you can easily upload videos from within the software.  You can customize your channel as well.  Here is a great tutorial for how to do that.

9.) Understanding the benefits of YouTube to Education, they now have an entire section dedicated just to education related videos.  YouTube Education is a great supply for videos specifically for teaching.  The videos are broken down by category so that you can easily find what you are looking for.  You will find that a lot of colleges and universities have their own channels and professors have uploaded their lectures.  Want to give students a taste of the college classroom, have them watch a lecture.  Of course there are some videos that are non-educational that come from the institutions students, but this is still a valuable resource.

10.) A great way to use YouTube would be to start your day with one and have it as your Bell Ringer activity.  Each day you could choose a focus: entertaining, academic, thought provoking, etc.  Students will probably be excited to see what the "video of the day" is in your classroom.  With billions of videos it might be worth while have a different video for each class period so that students can't share with other students what the video is for your classes later in the day.

How have you used YouTube?