We all use YouTube in the classroom at some time: here are a few little tips that might help with this.
First, there’s YouTube XL, a supersized version of the video site that gets rid of a lot of the clutter. It’s really designed for tv and formats like Nintendo DS, but it looks good on a whiteboard. As it runs in Flash, the workaround to get a direct link to a single video is to share it with yourself so you get the URL sent to your inbox (thanks to Jose Picardo for this tip!).
Next, here’s a handy trick using the normal YouTube site. Copy the URL in the usual way from the little box, then, when you paste it in, insert _popup after the word watch in the link. Clicking on the revised link will bring up the video in all its individual glory in a new full-sized window. Sometimes I have found you get the ‘cannot display the webpage’ message, but clicking on Refresh sorts this. Click on the image below and see what happens!
An alternative to this is to use the Safe Share site. This will allow you to create a new URL for your chosen YouTube video. Even better, it lets you edit a portion of the video and create a link to just that portion. Brilliant.
Sometimes you might want to embed a video into a blog or a PowerPoint show. The former is fairly straightforward using the embed code from YouTube, but watch out for some quirks, eg with WordPress, where you have to disable the visual editor in your personal settings! Getting a video to run in PowerPoint is actually quite easy but is best demonstrated visually. There are a number of people who can show you how: see, for example, this clip.
An alternative to all of this is to download your chosen video. Real Player is very straightforward for this, but gives you an .flv file, which is not much use if you want to play it in PowerPoint, for example. For a choice of download formats, there are a zillion sites that will do a download and conversion for you, so take your pick. After trying out a few, I find I like Zamzar, which has proved quick and reliable. If you can bear the popup adverts, that is.
So there you have it. There’s a lot more that could be said, but the few points above will allow most of us to get the best out of the vast resource that is YouTube. Daily Motion, anyone?