Ask the Experts: YouTube in the Classroom


Q: There are some great YouTube videos I'd like to show my students, but I'm worried about introducing such a potentially problematic video platform into my classroom. Any recommendations?

A: I've talked about safe places to find your videos—SchoolTube, TeacherTube and YouTube EDU—but sometimes the video you need is only available on YouTube or Vimeo. That means you'll have distractions on the screen, like suggested videos, or you'll be stuck with parts of a video you don't want to show. One of my favorite tools is quietube, which places only the video you want on a screen with a white background. All you have to do is go to and drag the quietube button to your browser's toolbar. Then, when you're on your video's webpage, click the quietube toolbar button to convert to the white background. It works with YouTube and Vimeo.

If you only need to use part of a video on YouTube but don't want to download it, try TubeChop. It allows you to quickly edit videos without downloading them. Just enter the video address on the TubeChop website, and choose the section you want to show. You then have a new TubeChop webpage, with only that section of the video (and no distractions).

If you want to download the video, one of the easiest ways is Kwizzu's FastestTube. Install the extension as part of your browser; then, when viewing a YouTube video, click on the download button under the video. FastestTube allows you to choose the download's format and quality. But remember: To avoid any copyright issues, make sure the video is creative commons–licensed.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

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Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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