I’ll give everyone a moment to find a way to get around their school’s filters now that my site has probably been blocked for posting such a headline….
On a more serious note, far too many school district’, including my own, take a hardline stance against allowing access to websites like YouTube and other video sharing sites (can’t get to Google Video at school either). I understand why such websites are blocked for students, and for the most part I agree with blocking some of the more distracting elements (dude, check out the video of this car catching fire!), it’s unfortunate that our staff doesn’t have the ability to access some of the great teaching materials and examples that can be found on YouTube. For instance, our high school Tech Literacy teacher began teaching a new class this year about digital movie making. Having never taught such a course before, she started looking for examples of other student work on the internet and found dozens of perfect student projects on YouTube.
Of course, thanks to our filters, she couldn’t show those valuable resources to her students at school, and there’s the rub. We as teachers know valuable AND appropriate resources when we see them, but too often non-educators block us from using them at school. No more!
Zamzar.com boasts as a completely free (one of my favorite words!) online file and URL conversion tool. Meaning all of those wonderful YouTube videos that are blocked can be converted into any use-able file (up to 100MB) and then sent to your e-mail in order to be downloaded. A HUGE range of files are supported, including image, document, music, video, and more. Which means when you go home and find those perfect YouTube videos (or other videos from sites that are blocked), you can convert them to Windows Media Files, Movie files, or whatever your computers at school support, and then send them via e-mail to school where they’ll be waiting for you to use. Special thanks to Jim Wenzloff, a technology-guru from the east side of Michigan, for posting this find. Jim even includes a basic step by step process for using Zamzar’s special “Convert It” button in your web browser to convert YouTube videos:
The basic steps are:
- Add the Zamzar Convert It button to your web browser. You only need to do this once. http://www.zamzar.com/tools/
- Go to Youtube.com and find the video you want to use in the classroom.
- Click on the “Convert with Zamzar” button on your toolbar.
- You will be taken to Zamzar’s web site. The url of the YouTube video will be included.
- Follow Step 2 – Choose the format to convert to: (mov or avi are good choices)
- Follow Step 3 – enter you email address. Note: if you don’t want to share your school email address go to Yahoo or Google and set up a new account just for web sites like this.
- Click on the convert button.
- A link to the file will be e-mailed to you. Put it on a flash drive or burn it to a CD and take it to school.
-A New Adventure, by Jim Wenzloff