Ask the Experts: Converting YouTube Videos for School

Q: I’d like to show my classes dance videos I found on YouTube, but my school doesn’t allow us to access YouTube on campus. Is there some way to safely access it or convert the videos into a different format?

A: It’s true that in many schools YouTube is blocked (and rightfully so). But there are millions of videos on YouTube that are perfect for the classroom. Luckily, the folks at YouTube have a solution: YouTube for Schools. Your school can sign up for an account and set its network to only allow material from YouTube EDU, a subsection of YouTube that focuses only on educational content. When you use YouTube EDU, you limit content to educational videos only, no “related videos” are shown and comments are disabled. There are also other portals that offer access to education videos that might not be blocked by your network. TeacherTube is a popular one, as is SchoolTube, which offers videos that are made by students and teachers.

If you’d rather download a video, there are several converters. Zamzar is a good choice, because it allows you to choose the type of file you’d like to convert the video into. For those using SMART Boards, this is helpful, because you specifically need videos to be FLV files in order to embed them in your Notebook presentations. If you’re worried about copyright issues, YouTube does have videos that are creative commons–licensed, meaning that they are safe to download. You can find these videos by clicking on the filter drop-down box after you search and choosing “creative commons.”

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.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

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