Thing 14 (Week 11): A Tale of Two Tubes - Video Sharing in the Classroom

What's on the Tube - Image by Piero on Flickr
What's on the Tube - Image by Piero on Flickr

What's on the Tube - Image by Piero on Flickr

Teachers have been using video to supplement classroom instruction for decades. Online video sharing is big business, and it makes classroom video use cheaper, more convenient, and more customized, as long as you can find quality content amidst the junk. Like other Web 2.0 tools, video sharing sites enable users (for better or worse) to easily publish content to the web. YouTube, the most popular video sharing site on the web, currently garners about 200 million visitors a day.

As you explore YouTube and its "education-oriented" companion, TeacherTube, you will encounter many familiar Web 2.0 features, such as RSS feeds, user comments/ratings, groups, and, of course, tags. Like many resource-rich websites, much of the content on YouTube is not school appropriate. The comments are unfiltered, so even a perfectly benign and educational video can have reams of inane text posted below it. But there is a wealth of "good" stuff on YouTube, so it's definitely worth a look. (Plus, now that you know how to EMBED, you can present JUST the video content you choose to students, without visiting the YouTube site directly! See my HELP Video!)

And, yes, copyright questions abound.

For those who may be interested, here's a four minute video detailing the History of YouTube...
(You may need to watch from home if YouTube is blocked at your school).

Discovery Exercise

PART 1: YouTube Scavenger Hunt
Bringing YouTube Content To your Classroom Safely (but perhaps not completely legally)
As YouTube is currently blocked in our school system, you will need to do any YouTube activities at home.
  • Zamzar: To bring YouTube content to your classroom in a blocked setting, you can use the free Zamzar service to download and convert a video for offline use.Zamzar Quick Reference)
  • Another option is to sign up for a free account with Once you have a free account, you can "give" them the link to any YouTube video and they will copy it over to their platform, which is NOT blocked in our school district. For information on how to do that, check out this link.
  • KickYouTube: Since this site actually infringes on YouTube's name, who knows how long this service may be out there. Until it's forced down, it's a great site for downloading videos, not to mention easy to use. For information on how to use KickYouTube, check out this link.

Have a little look around YouTube. You may want to set a timer, or you'll be posting angry blogs about losing hours of your life. Try tagging your video discoveries to your Diigo account for easy reference!

Your challenge is to find four videos:
  • Find two videos that relate to your teaching content and/or professional learning interests.
  • Find one video that teaches you "how to" do something -- ride a bike, knit a sweater, bake a pie -- whatever you like. (Will Richardson recently told us that you can find out how to do most anything technological by searching YouTube!)
  • Find one video that's just fun, nostalgic or interesting to you.

YouTube Search tips:

  • Enter one or more keywords into the YouTube search tool to find videos having those terms in their titles, tags and descriptions.
  • Check out your results and preview some videos. Also check out related videos.
  • Click "more" next to a video description to view its tags. Click a tag to see more videos tagged as such.
  • Try the advanced search tool to narrow your search results.
  • Set "safe" search to filter out "adult" content (not foolproof, but it helps):

Image courtesy of Shelley Paul

PART 2: Explore TeacherTube (YouTube "alternative" for Education)

TeacherTube, launched in March 2007, aims to provide a "more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners" to share instructional videos and student media projects. TeacherTube currently offers free unlimited uploading of educational video. TeacherTube relies on its user community to keep the site student-safe by flagging inappropriate content.

(Personal disclaimer: While I love the idea of TeacherTube, its frequent site slowness and barrage of advertising bug me.)

Please check out TeacherTube with an eye for PRODUCING content. Possibly the most powerful potential for video sharing to support teaching and learning is to contribute original content -- make your students into teachers! What types of projects might you or your students contribute to TeacherTube?

Additional Resources


Write a blog post sharing your YouTube and TeacherTube findings. Tell about the videos you discovered and share ideas you have for using video to support instruction and/or producing video to support classroom or professional learning. Embed one of your discovered YouTube or TeacherTube videos into your blog post. (Feel free to embed a video into your wiki sandbox page as well if you want to experiment/practice). Remember to include "Thing 14" in your post title.

HELP Video:
Safer YouTube Use: Embed a YouTube Video into a Wikispaces Page
HELP VIdeo: Safer YouTube Use::Embed a YouTube Video into a Blogger Post (No sounds on this one. Just follow the mouse)
See the image below for where to find the TeacherTube Embed code

Stretch Task (Everyone will benefit from this one!!)

Check out Quietube -- a nifty, no registration, easy-click tool which makes showing YouTube videos in the classroom MUCH safer.
Go to Follow the instructions to drag the bookmarklet to your Firefox bookmarks toolbar (if using IE, you have to go through the several-clicks process of saving as a Favorite into your "Personal Toolbar Folder."). Afer you have added the bookmarklet, go to YouTube, locate a video, then click the Quietube button on your browser toolbar.. It "magically" removes all the "junk" from the video page, leaving you with just the video. Copy the URL and try pasting in an email, blog post or on any webpage -- it's permanent!

‡ HELP Video: Embed a YouTube Video into Wikispaces or Edublogs
‡ HELP Tip: Embed a TeacherTube video into Wikispaces or Edublogs (see below).