Tips for using YouTube

According to YouTube’s statistics page, “More than 13 million hours of video were uploaded during 2010 and 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day.” That’s an amazing amount of video that everyone, students and adults alike, has access to. While some of these videos are of cats riding skateboards, there are also as many instructional and educational videos available for use in the classroom as well as in your own life. Not long ago, my daughter, Molly, was trying to figure out how to get past a certain level in the video game Poptropica. She had worked through previous levels and was stuck. Rather than asking for help, she went to YouTube and did a search for a solution to that level. At 7 years old, she knew that she’d find her answer in an online video and in about 2 minutes, she found it, got through the level and went on her merry way. By watching her dad use the internet and find resources, she had learned that YouTube was someplace where she could find answers.

With all that video, sometimes it’s hard to manage and navigate the YouTube environment. Here are some thing you may know that you could do with YouTube.

  1. Create your own playlists– Just like with music services and software, you can create a playlist of YouTube videos that you want to save to watch later. To do that, you need to create an account with Google. (Watch this video for instructions.) If you’re logged into YouTube, under each video you’ll see an “+ Add to” button that will allow you to add it to a playlist.
    This playlist can then be accessed clicking on your username in the upper right hand corner and then selecting “Videos” in the dropdown. On that page you’ll see any videos that you’ve uploaded, tagged to watch later or added to a playlist.

  2. Share a video– Sharing videos on YouTube may not be new to you, but there are a couple of options that you may not know about. When you click the “Share” button below a video, you’ll see a link to a video where you can email that link to someone or you can click “Embed” and get a code to post that on your website. Those are common features that are readily used but in that same window, you’ll see a “show options” link. One of the features that I like best here is that you can check the “Start at” box and select the point in the video where you want it to start. Then when you share that link with someone, the video starts exactly where you wanted it to without the recipient having to watch the irrelevant parts.
  3. Subscribing to video channels– There have been many times where I have found a set of videos that were uploaded by someone that I really liked and wanted to know when they uploaded more. At one point, I would have to continually go back to that person or organization’s channel to see if they have something new. Now I just subscribe to their channel and receive an email every time they upload a new video. To subscribe to a video channel, click on the “Subscribe” button on the top of the video and you’ve just subscribed yourself. On the popup find the checkbox beside “Also email me for each new upload” and you’ll start getting emails whenever new content is available.
  4. Show videos without the comments or recommendations – YouTube has lots of busyness on every page with a video. There are comments and suggested videos that may or may not be appropriate as well as ads on the site. Sometimes that can be very distracting. Using a site like Quietube can allow you to focus only on the video by removing all the extras. Go to the Quietube website for directions on how to use it. (See an example here and watch a tutorial here.)

Online video is a part of our lives and it’s not going away anytime soon. Students like my daughter are becoming very adept at using and working with online video but it’s not “just for kids” and it’s not “just for entertainment”. More and more it can be used as a tool for education and for learning. Hopefully these tips can help you navigate the world of YouTube a little more smoothly. If you’d like to talk more about the role online video can play in your classroom, contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

Cross posted at Mr. Bass Online.

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