Getting the Most Out of Youtube


PJA Technology Spotlight

In each blog post, I will spotlight a few of our very own technology stars.


First, you should take a walk down the 5th Grade hallway and marvel at the Hebrew dialogues hanging on the bulletin boards!  5th graders composed Hebrew dialogues and then recorded their conversations with digital voice recorders.  Go Bat-Ami!


The 5th Grade Wikispace is also up and running.  It looks gorgeous!  Harriet and Bat-Ami are using the space as a resource for their students, and as a collaborative learning space.

Visit their wiki at .


Celinda has a beautiful blog up on the PJA Web site.  She used FinalSite (our very own PJA web site interface) as the tool for creating the blog.  Visit her page to hear kindergarteners sing about different alphabet letters!  Very sweet!  (Remember, you have to login to access all the teacher pages on the PJA Web site.  Email me if you do not remember the password!)


Noah’s 6th Grade students learned a great deal about their online identities and digital footprints, as well as about bullying and cyberbullying.  His students created posters that represent their online identities,  and they created Public Service Announcements that demonstrate their learning about bullying.  All of the digital citizenship coursework can be viewed on Noah’s wikispace at  .  Noah will continue with Digital Citizenship next quarter with another group of 6th graders.


How many times a week do you think you watch a video on YouTube?  How many times a day do you think our students watch a video on YouTube?  A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes, but how about a video?  Our students live in a visual media age–a time so unique from any other period in human history when media is readily available, accessible, and in our face.  And no longer are we passive viewers or consumers of media.  We post our own movies, make comments about others’ movies, and share out our favorites.  Our consumption of visual media is interactive, collaborative, and social.


The History of YouTube



YouTube in the Classroom:

Of course, as an educator you know how important it is to preview any video  before showing it.  There are ways to make whole-class viewing cleaner and advertisement free.  Try Quietube, Quick Keys, and YouTube Leanback.



Quietube is a fun little add-on or button that you can add to your browser.  It works best with Firefox.  Quietube plays your video on a clean web page that is free from all the sidebars, comments, and distracting advertisements that surround any YouTube video.  To use Quietube, visit the Quietube homepage and drag the “quietube” button up to your toolbar.  Then, navigate to the YouTube video selection.  After, click the Quietube button in your toolbar.  A new tab or window will open up with an ad-free page.  This really helps students who get easily distracted, and it cuts down on the advertisements and comments that may or may not be appropriate for the classroom.


Quick Keys

If you know that there is a short clip of a video you want to play in the classroom, you can create a link that jumps to an exact moment in the video.  Trim the video (and trim off advertisements) by first playing the video.  While it is playing, right-click (control + click for MAC users) at the point you would like your video to start and SELECT “copy video URL at current time.”  Save the link in a word document or in the body of an email message to yourself.  Open the link when you are ready to play the clip in your class.


 YouTube Leanback

By visiting the “leanback” interface of youtube, a large black screen appears that blocks out advertising and distracting sidebars.  This interface is perfect for viewing a video in the classroom.  Go to YouTube Leanback and start typing on your keyboard the name of the video.  You will be able to select and view the video on a large screen, framed in black.



Zamzar allows you to capture a video from YouTube and save it for use later.  If you experience buffering or a weak internet connection, this is a wonderful way to ensure that your video will play smoothly in the classroom.  Please keep in mind copyright laws.  You may capture the video and share it in the classroom, but then you are responsible for deleting the video after class.  Visit Zamzar, follow the steps on the screen, select the URL link, paste in the URL from the YouTube video, select the movie format you would like to view (I usually select MOV, which plays as a Quicktime file), enter an email address, and wait.  Zamzar will send you an email with a download link.  Download the captured video and use it in class.  Zamzar is free for smaller video file sizes.  Also, you should know that it does not work with links from Vimeo, another video sharing site.


Embedding a YouTube Video

You can embed a YouTube video as a widget (a little gizmo that plays media) on your wiki, blog, or PJA Web site.  All you need to do is copy the “embed code,” which is some scary looking computer code that no normal person needs to understand:)  Just copy it!

Navigate to the video.  1.  Click the SHARE button.  2.  Click the EMBED button.  3.  Copy the “embed code.”  4.  Paste this code in your widget tool (on a wiki);  as SOURCE code (PJA FinalSite tool), or as HTML Code (blog users).  The video will appear and play right on your Web page. (Note:  Double-click on the images to see larger versions of them.)











Create Your Own Youtube Account

You can sign in to YouTube with your Google account.  (Google has owned YouTube since 2006.).  By having an account, you can create your own playlists or a list of videos to “watch later.”  These lists are quick and easy to access.  It is like bookmarking videos inside the YouTube interface, so that you can quickly locate your video clips when you need them.  This also allows you to store video links for use in the future, so that you are reminded of which clips support a particular unit of study.  And if you like posting videos, then you can create your own “channel” and password protect the videos.












In my next post, I will talk about TeacherTube.  In the meantime, please post some comments about how you use YouTube in the classroom!


For more resources related to technology integration, visit our teacher wiki, K8JTechLearn.



2 thoughts on “Getting the Most Out of Youtube

  1. Thanks for the info on YouTube. I especially like the ideas for showing YouTube clips in class without the advertisements or comments. Here is one problem that I have, that I doubt there is a solution to, but that I will ask anyway.

    I often show a very short YouTube clip, usually in the middle of an actual video. (The trick you taught to jump right to this spot is handy). Then we have a discussion or do an assignment related to it. As optional work, I often invite the students to watch more of the clip at home. The problem is that the comments associated with many of the clips I show are inappropriate, vulgar, offensive, even when the actual video is excellent. (Example: The BBC has an excellent 3 hour video on Cells. Content includes topics like cell reproduction, sex cells, etc. Scientific, appropriate, educational. But these very topics send the comment writers wild with garbage-talk. Lot of excellent science videos also have comment fights about evolution/creation or science/religion which are not just nonsense, but are highly offensive.)

    My question: I now know how to block these when I show the clips in class. But is there anything I can do to avoid having the students exposed to these comments when they do the optional work at home.

    Joe “The Prince of Dorkness” Minato

    P.S. Sarah, I would quit worrying about being a dork. Embrace the dorkness.

  2. Well, I think the best trick is to embed the video on your web page, wiki, or blog. The video will play right on your screen without the comments. Of course, the students will be able to visit the web page from the youtube embed box if they choose to do so. TeacherTube is cleaner, but you will not find as many sources there, I bet. Get back to me on that one–does TeacherTube have the same wonderful science videos? And finally, some schools subscribe to Dicovery Education video services. I wonder how spendy that might be for our school? Check it out at: .