I’ve been using YouTube all wrong. Usually, I just upload my own video and search by typing a query in the box to see what comes up. I have recently learnt some new ways to get more out of the tool and turn you into a YouTube rock star. Here they are:


A quick search for “evaporation” yielded tons of video. But under the search bar is a small grey box called “filters”. Click this and you can search for videos of a certain duration, creative commons license, HD, relevance, view count or ratings. This has minimized the amount I’ve taken to preview videos ahead of time by finding lengths, and quality that is better for my students. Sometimes we’re just looking for a three minute video!

Remix with Video Editor:

Click “upload” and instead of uploading a video, go to video editor. It brings you the page to the left which allows you drag and drop your own videos or creative commons videos into the timeline, add some music, splice it together as you want and create new media. With the amount of media on youtube, this allows you to tailor a video to your liking by taking the best elements of multiple videos and combining them into one. Here’s one I made in 5 minutes on the digestive system. 

Adding Captions:

On this video of our families recent trip to the Philippines, we took a little footage of my daughter snorkeling. I popped them into a template on “iMovie” and uploaded them onto You Tube. After visiting the video editor, I dropped this into the timeline and added a text caption by clicking the “a” icon on the video editor and added some captions. In this case, note the video below at 12 seconds pops up a caption for my daughter. Although this was for personal use, I think this has real applications for teachers, namely:

  • Posing probing questions to their students during significant video events
  • Flipped classroom uses

Subscribe to Content:

Do a search on “youtube _________ channels to subscribe to” and you’ll get plenty of options. Here are some new channels that I learned about at the Vietnam Tech Conference:

TED Ed-Awesome animations on a variety of great topics.
Edutopia-The popular blog has a channel with videos on a variety of educational topics.
The Intellegent Channel-The best thinkers of our world share their thoughts.
Autograph Math-Simon Woodheads tutorials on mathematics. A must for math teachers.
Crash Course-Videos that will blow your mind.
The Kids Should See This-Ok, not a channel, but videos selected by kids that will make you smile.

Create Annotations:

This basically turns videos into a “choose your own adventure” sort of activity where users “interact” with the video by making choices that will send them to one video or another. I haven’t gotten a chance to use this yet, but it’s available in your video editor setting. James Sanders uses it as a review here on the catholic church. I saw a great example of digital citizenship on a girl who’s boyfriend asks her to send an inappropriate picture. Should she do it? You choose.


What ways are you using YouTube with your students? Have any more tips to help become an EdTech YouTube Rockstar? Let us know in the comments below.


Feature image adapted from image courtesy of Flickr, didy b.

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