Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thing 21

Maya Angelou - The Power of Words

Maya Angelou - And Still I Rise

Using online video in the classroom is a great way to engage students who are audio/visual learners. I have been using video clips for awhile now in my classroom as a way to capture my students’ interest on any given subject. The use of online video should, of course, only be used as a way to enhance lessons taught. I have also found that if video is “overused” some students may “turn off” listening. So, keeping this in mind, I have learned to implement online videos as a way to introduce or reinforce what we are studying in class. Some of my favorites are the “School House Rock” videos that can be found on YouTube, TeacherTube, and even Google Videos.

Conjunction Junction - School House Rock

Sometimes after talking about a subject, let’s say for example, how people live in different cultures and different parts of the world, showing students through audio/visual allows them to “experience” that culture and bring a deeper understanding to the topic.

This year while team teaching a unit of study on the Holocaust, I plan on using video of survivors and their accounts of what it was like to live through the tragedy of that time. Just talking about what it was like for these people does not do enough justice to their experience. It is hoped that after viewing these accounts, my students will be hit with the reality of what it was really like and that it will lead them to an understanding of empathy for others. A blog will be created for students to then discuss issues of helping, speaking out for, and making a difference for others who are in need.

Clara Kramer: Holocaust survivor and author of CLARA'S WAR

A risk of using online video is that students could easily come across inappropriate content, uncensored user comments, and ads. Teacher computers have access YouTube, but it is blocked on the student computers at our school. I have YouTube videos embedded on my classroom wiki, and I notice there is a YouTube ad link that leads to the YouTube website which could be accessed from a student’s home. I know that there are video download helpers and converters like Zamzar, Vixy, and KeepVid that can help eliminate this problem and will maybe look into using them, but I just came across a new free service that will be available for K-12 teachers in April of this year called VuSafe. It is an app that will allow teachers to download videos from sites like YouTube to build a video library that can be categorized by subject and age and then viewed without the links to comments, ads, and inappropriate content. Looks like it might be a great way to safely stream video into the classroom!


  1. I, too, was excited about VuSafe until I learned that your school must already be a subscriber to their internet filtering service!

    Video can be so powerful as compared to reading a 1st hand account in a book. A few years ago I visited the WWII museum in New Orleans. There were videotaped stories from American and Japanese veterans that moved me to tears!

    And the School House Rocks videos were way ahead of their time! We now know how music can be a very important way for students to remember and recall information.

    I also think unitedstreaming is a great resource (although it isn't free) because you can show short video clips instead of subjecting students to 30 or minutes of uninterrupted video. But unfortunately, many teachers use videos to "babysit" their students while they grade papers.

  2. Yeah, I too saw the SafeShare.TV, but thought I stumbled upon something when I found VuSafe, but according to Jim, the school has to be a subscriber...I guess that's why Jim is the expert! The TeacherTube videos are really good, I have some of them posted on my wiki for research paper writing. With TeacherTube, you don't have to worry about some of the issues that we might come across with YouTube.

  3. Check out It allows you to display a Youtube video against a plain white (or black) background. No distracting sidebars or comments.