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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How to Use YouTube in the Classroom

Educational consultant and former Edutopia.org blogger Chris O'Neal demonstrates educational uses for the video-sharing Web site. More to this story. See more educator tech-tool lessons.

Hi, I'm Chris O'Neal, and we're going to do a brief tour of YouTube. I think of YouTube as, like, a giant video flea market. So lots of cool finds mixed in with a lot of crazy junk. From a teacher's standpoint, it's a treasure trove of videos, so let's take a quick tour. We're going to start off by going to YouTube.com, and on the main page, what you'll find is just a variety of most popular clips of the day, the most talked about clip of the week.

Just like you wouldn't set your students free on a field trip, though, without giving them some guidance ahead of time, you probably shouldn't sit students down in front of YouTube, and have them search aimlessly, either. Whatever your thoughts on YouTube may be, it makes the most sense to give age appropriate guidance to your kids. There's certainly a lot to learn from watching YouTube videos. Some of the content is just not appropriate for all ages.

I'm going to start off by doing the most common thing on YouTube, which is just a basic search. I'm going to click here, and type, life cycle, since that's something a lot of teachers look for. What you'll find are thousands of video returns. It tells me right here, 9,400 videos have been uploaded to YouTube, that use the words, life cycle. I got lucky, in that the first clip I click on right here, will start playing automatically. I'm going to pause it, is actually about the life cycle of the lunar moth, so that's perfect for what I'm looking for. You'll find that searching ahead of time is the key to making efficient use of YouTube in the classroom.

So now that I've found a great video I'd like to use, I can either show it right away-- I'm just going to click play, to show the video, or I can embed it to show it in my own website, blog or wiki. If you look to the right of the video, you'll see a brief description of the video, which is provided by the person who uploaded this video. Directly beneath the description is the URL for this video, so I can e-mail this URL to someone else, and let them watch the video. Directly beneath that is an embed section. If I click in that white horizontal bar, I get embed code, which means I can copy that text, and paste it into a wiki or a blog, or website, and actually embed the video directly into my own website.

Beneath this embed code section are a few options you'll want to pay attention to. The first box that says, include related videos, I always uncheck that box. If you don't uncheck that box, and you embed your video, you'll find, to the side, some extra videos that YouTube suggests, which may, or may not be appropriate for what you want to share with your children. So I uncheck this box. I choose a size that I like, and then I click back up in the embed code section, right click, and copy. Now I simply go to my wiki or blog, and paste in that text.

You can create your own account on YouTube which allows you to save favorites. I'm logged in right now. I can look at my videos, my favorites, I can even make playlists. I can subscribe to specific sections of YouTube, specific users or even tag or keywords. I can also be alerted when users I like upload new videos. The newest section to YouTube that I think teachers like, is YouTube.com/edu. That's an education section of YouTube, built specifically for educators. The videos uploaded in the section are from universities and school systems. Each of these videos is provided with the notion that they can be of some help to teachers. So the users who create these videos agree that all videos uploaded to this specific section, have education in mind.

Last, but most certainly not least, you can upload your own videos to YouTube. Whether you've shot vacation video footage, or you've even staged a video, because you know it will be helpful to other teachers, it's a great place to share video. Not only do you get to catalogue your own video for your specific classrooms, but other people around the world get to make use of your video as well.

Be sure to visit www.edutopia.org, for more educational resources.

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Produced by Chris O'Neal for Edutopia.org

More resources for educators about using online video with your students at "How to Use Online Video in Your Classroom".

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