Unlocking Videos in the 21st Century Classroom

By Brent Vasicek on March 5, 2012
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

With the invention of the Internet, the sheer number of videos available for a teacher to utilize has grown exponentially. Showing short clips to illustrate a point or hook students into the lesson can be highly effective.  But how do you access these videos at school?  Some schools don’t have Internet access, and those that do often have such high security restrictions that videos are blocked by filters. Below you will find my favorite quality video sources and tips on how to show those "must have" videos.



Cleaning Up YouTube

So you find videos on YouTube that would spark a great discussion in your class or really drive the objective of a lesson home. What can you do to clean up the video for classroom eyes? Or, more importantly, how can you get the video into a classroom without Internet access?

  • TeacherTube: This YouTube for teachers contains videos of teachers delivering lessons and of student projects. You will also find clips to other videos like those vintage Saturday morning Schoolhouse Rock songs. This free Web site has some real gems, but, like YouTube, it also has plenty of junk.
  • Zamzar: If you can’t find what you want on TeacherTube, then you can still use the YouTube clips. Convert short YouTube videos using the Zamzar Web site. This site converts YouTube video files (up to 100 MB) to video files that are compatible with your computer (.mov, MP3, etc.). You will have 24 hours to download the converted video.  You can save them on a flash drive or DVD at home and then play them at school. You may also purchase the ability to convert files larger than 100 MB.
  • ViewPure: If you are able to access YouTube at school, you may have discovered that some videos have negative or inappropriate comments below them. To view the video without all the inappropriate comments, use ViewPure. This quickly installed application allows you to strip the inappropriateness away and just watch the video.
  • QuietTube: Sometimes you want to show a YouTube video without the advertisements and comments.  This application allows you to do just that!

Quality Video Sites at a Cost

BrainPOP: I love this Web site. The dynamic duo Tim and Moby cover hundreds of topics appropriate for elementary to middle school students (and even occasionally high school). These videos accurately hit all the key points of a lesson in under five minutes. The message is delivered in a fun, cartoonish manner.  Multiple choice quizzes are available with each topic. I like to use these videos to introduce concepts, summarize them, and review them. The site offers free trials. A subscription for three teachers is less than $200, and worth it.

Discovery Education (formerly known as United Streaming):  If non-cartoonish videos are your style, then try Discovery Education. They offer many high quality videos, ranging from old-style documentaries to the fresh look of Bill Nye. The site contains an easily searchable database of videos that are aligned to standards. Lesson plans are often included. I am not certain on the price of this service as our county subscribes to it.

SAFARI Montage: SAFARI Montage provides some great competition for Discovery Education. Again, I am uncertain of the cost as our district subscribes. Like Discovery, SAFARI allows you to show portions of videos. I do not think I have ever shown an entire movie to my students. I pick the important parts that cement the objectives in my lesson and show only those clips. 


Professional Development

Scholastic also has a set of videos for you, the teacher. Videos range from talks with writing guru Ruth Culham to discussions with Barry Lane on incorporating humor in the classroom.  Online videos can be a source of professional development accessible in the comfort of your own home.

Again, use videos to supplement the education you are providing and not as a form of babysitting. Students receive enough face time with a monitor or television at home. Educational minutes are too precious to waste.


What technology tricks do you have for high functioning teachers? Please share below.


Happy converting,


2i2 is a trademark of Mr. Vasicek’s classroom.  www.mrvasicek.com


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Isn't YouTube for individual use only, and not 'technically' permitted to be shown in class?

You can use safeshare.tv and copy the link from youtube. This allows you to watch most videos without all the advertisments.

How do you "pwn" you tube?

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Pwn you tube to download. I use a wireless hotspot from my phone to change the connection and then I'm able to access it.


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