I am really hoping that your school has YouTube open and available. If you are thinking YouTube is only for hilarious cat videos and the place to find out how to change a tire (You really can find this and basically a video on how to do ANYTHING), you need to look again. The amount of video available is almost overwhelming and kids are consuming this every day! Why not engage learners while digging through and finding all the amazing educational content at your fingertips. Use each video or clip as a teaching tool, a hook to start a lesson, a way to start a discussion, view things that you can’t bring to a classroom, open your students up to the world, and so much more. Here are some tips to get you started:
If you have a Google account, you have a YouTube channel. If you don’t have a Google account, why are we friends? Just kidding, but you should really get one. Then you should check out my video (Did you know it is brought to you from YouTube) that shows you some quick tips to get started. I outline them more below as well!
Train YouTube: So it’s not exactly like a dog because it’s free (and it doesn’t snuggle), but you can help YouTube get to know you better. Each time you go in, just tell YouTube a couple suggested videos that you are not interested in, or check out suggestions that are right on. Often times, this can lead to great channels for you to subscribe to as wel!
Need it? Search for it!: Again, the amount of videos available and continuing to be added blows my mind. I don’t like to think about it because it makes me uncomfortable. Search for what you want and I can almost guarantee it will be there. Each time you choose a video, YouTube suggests more (which is bad when you should really just go to bed and there is one more cute puppy you HAVE to see). So one search, can lead to LOTS of videos. When you find videos you REALLY love for your class, check out the channel and subscribe, so you can quickly find great videos later! Here’s my gift to you: If you love learning about technology in the classroom subscribe to the Teach Tech Play channel. I have learned so much from these videos and a new one comes out every month! Talk about collaborating around the world (The teachers who originated and host it teach in Australia, but they have global participation.).
Playlists are your friend: Best friend to be more accurate. When you are caught in an endles loop of perfect YouTube suggestions, you need to keep them all neat and organized for later. I love to use playlists when I have 5 minutes during the day. I open a playlist on our current unit and choose a video. I have already checked them for appropriateness and know they are valuable. It also promotes that culture of collaboration! You can share these playlists with others on your team or other teachers around the globe. For example: School starts next week, so I have been compiling videos about rules and social skills! Here is one I just started adding to with short videos and songs to get our conversation moving! I love finding playlists that other teachers have compiled!
Don’t Be Afraid: Even when my (awesomely tech supportive) school started going more tech crazy, YouTube was blocked. There are lots of settings to make YouTube work in your classroom without the wrath of administration or worse…PARENTS! Try the restricted mode even on your own computer in case students get on. Show those videos in full screen or better yet, embed them on your class blog or web site to reduce the distraction. I will put that on my list of future posts! If you are smart about screening the FULL video first, and you have some common sense, you should be fine (I am not in charge though, so run it by whoever you need to and don’t blame me.). Also- don’t forget to pre-load the videos if you don’t have any ad blocking extensions or products. You can skip by the ads easily this way!
Side note: I did take YouTube off my classroom iPads because I couldn’t be there watching all the time. They have a YouTube Kids app that I added this summer to help a little. HOWEVER- Nothing trumps TEACHING kids about safe content, what to do if they see something inappropriate, and how to behave using technology. That will be done before students are allowed free access to even this app.
Upload away: Your YouTube channel can be a great place to store videos that you have created. You can share these with your class, parents, other teachers, or the WORLD! Remember that “unlisted” only allows those who have the link to view videos. Be aware that if others share that link, it makes the video more public. Having conversations with parents and/or students about this can be important if there are concerns. Many apps now offer sharing of finished products and YouTube is a great place to share those creations. Again, I will place this on my list for a future post.
I can’t wait to hear about your experiences and any other tips for new to YouTube educators out there. YouTube and social media are a part of the world and kids will not be able to avoid it (or it will be very hard). Check out the video below for some interesting data and facts. I LOVE these kids of videos for some reason, just blows my mind…