Last week I talked about using Discovery Education as a great online resource to incorporate media into your lessons to engage your students. This week, let's talk about YouTube.
Most of us automatically think about funny or moving videos when we hear the name "YouTube". (Younger generations might think about Justin Bieber . . . you know! Because he was discovered through YouTube!) Have you ever thought about using YouTube in your classroom? Up until last year I never really considered it because we weren't able to access it due to the county's firewall. Last year, however, they actually gave us access to YouTube (but not for the purpose of sharing one of the incredible performances of one of the contestants from last night's episode of The Voice). When I started looking into how I might use YouTube in the classroom I found that the range of videos you could find on YouTube was incredible! I was able to pull up tons of resources for openers for lessons!
Now here is the part where I admit to you one of my weaknesses - I am a TERRIBLE singer! This is to the detriment of my poor students who learn so well through song. Every once in a while I would teach them a song like the Water Cycle Song or the "There is no 'a' in 'they'", but for the most part I shy away from singing in public. Know what I found on YouTube that was perfect for my students? The Electric Company! I think I must have used an Electric Company video for almost every one of my word study or phonics lessons. My students LOVED these videos and songs that helped them to remember rules to the English language! Really though, while the Electric Company is absolutely wonderful for the classroom, I found much, much more on YouTube that I could use in my lessons for all subjects.
If you do decide to use YouTube please, Please, PLEASE screen the contents of the entire video before showing your class. You will probably even want to cue up the video and pause it before sharing it with your students to avoid showing them things that are unsuitable for their young eyes and ears. Oftentimes there are advertisements prior to videos that only allow you to skip after the ad has been playing for a while that may contain things you wouldn't want them to see or hear.
There are ways of making YouTube safer for young audiences including "Safe Mode". (Go to this link to see how to turn it on/off.)
I've even seen that there is a way you can type in the web address that engages safety features, although I don't remember how to do this. (Sorry!) Either way, you should still preview the full content just to be super-duper safe.
Another option you have is another website called TeacherTube. This site is safe from unsuitable content, but the resources are not as vast. This site also features videos that other teachers and classes have made and uploaded. Who knows . . . maybe you and your students want to make your own video to share here as well!
If you have suggestions of other similar sites, please mention them in the comments. Share the wealth (of knowledge)! =)