Videos are an important part of my daily lessons. Thanks to the abundance of technology in my classroom, videos are easy to show and the Internet offers more videos for viewing than ever before. However, while technology can often make our lives easier, it can also create new, unforeseen problems. Such was the case whenever I wanted to use videos from YouTube.
Unfortunately, teachers aren’t the only users of YouTube. Have you seen some of those ads that play before a video begins? Not always kid-friendly. 🙁 Honestly, sometimes I’m a bit nervous when I click on a link to a YouTube video. I mean, who knows what’s going to pop up on screen? I know Forrest Gump says that life is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you’re going to get, but sometimes with YouTube it’s not a chocolate you end up seeing!! (I remember searching on the Internet for “parts of a friendly letter.” Well, I found some friendly parts alright, but they sure weren’t writing a letter!!) Aside from the ads, there are the comments. I’ve passed up great videos to use with my students because the language in some comments is just not appropriate. As a result of these issues some districts have blocked YouTube on their networks, and I can understand why. (And yes, I know about Teacher Tube. Honestly…it’s just not as good as YouTube. I’ve never found anything there that I wanted to use in a lesson.)
I guess I wasn’t the only one having conflicted feelings about YouTube videos because I’ve recently discovered two websites that solve these pesky issues. The first is SafeShare.tv, and in my opinion is the easiest to use. Go to YouTube and find a video you want to show to your students. Right-click on the URL and copy it. Go to the SafeShare.tv website and paste in the URL to the video you want to show. Click on the big green button that says “Generate Safe Link.” Boom! Now you have an ad-free, comment-free video!
Another option is to use the SaveTube website. This is technically a little more challenging to use, but has the added benefit of allowing you to save a video in something like a flash drive, hard drive or in Dropbox for future use. This is what I’ve started using in my own classroom. Once you get the hang of it, I think you’ll like it too. You will need to make sure your Java software is updated before you begin. Then, just like with SafeShare, you copy and paste the URL of the video into the box at the top of the website. It will generate a variety of links to choose from depending on how you want to save the file. I chose MP4 for the high-quality and wait a few seconds for it to download to my computer. Once that’s done, I can save it anywhere I like.
Doesn’t this just make you want to find more videos on YouTube to save and show? It’s easy to do. I had never seen either of these two websites before and I was able to figure it out in 15 minutes. (And that includes updating Java on my computer!) Fortunately, there are some ways to offer our students great, curriculum-focused videos without any of the annoying ads or obscene comments. Teachers everywhere can click “Like” for these two websites!