Thursday, October 25, 2007

YouTube Videos in the Classroom

To those teachers who want to show videos from YouTube in their classrooms, I say, “Put a sock in it…TubeSock that is!”

If your district is like mine, YouTube is blocked through the school filter to avoid violating school board policy, which simply states the school will not give students access to inappropriate material via the Internet. I am paraphrasing here, but you get the idea. YouTube is a website with a simple purpose…to share videos. It is a social site that lets users mark videos as favorites and to comment on a video. The issue for education is there is no filter at the YouTube site. You can find videos ranging from a virtual tour of our solar system to extremely explicit videos with R-rated (I say XXX-rated) standings.

When our Technology Director is asked about the blocking of YouTube, her reply is, “I realize that many of the videos on those sites do not fall under that category[R], but we cannot filter selectively and in my experience even the most benign videos on YouTube can have vulgar comments posted beneath them.”

Teachers in our district have found some pretty amazing and useful videos via YouTube, but they are frustrated that they can’t show these videos in their classrooms. Our Technology Director put me in charge of finding alternative websites to use or some other solution. That is when I told her, “Put a sock in it… TubeSock that is!”

TubeSock is a shareware program ($15) that works on both the Mac and PC and that allows you to extract videos from YouTube. Obviously, you can’t extract them from school…you are blocked by the filter so you might have to do some prep work. Using TubeSock is painless, I promise.

Using TubeSock
Step 1: Download TubeSock. You can get it from or the company, StinkBot.
Step 2: Visit YouTube and find the video you want to extract.
Step 3: Copy the URL for the site.
Step 4: Paste the URL into TubeSock:
Step 5: Save your video. You are done.

The cool part of TubeSock is that you can save your video into several different file formats (H.264, .mp4, .flv or .mp3) and you can set the resulting video file to go directly to your Movies or Music directory, or choose the final destination yourself. When the video has been saved, you can use any basic player to view your movie, such as QuickTime, Flash, Media Player…whatever you like.

This inexpensive and easy to use program is a solution for those educators that find videos on YouTube. Now, typically those same videos can be found on appropriate sites, so I have to ask…what are you really watching on YouTube?

Oh! Put a sock in it!