In a world where you can simply “Google” anything you want to find out something that used to take days, weeks or a lifetime to learn, finding the right information is often a daunting one.

Using YouTube to re-enforce or introduce topics can be an indispensable way to teach for many in today’s educational world.  Let’s look at a few tips that will help make sure that the videos you use do what they are supposed to.

Tip 1: Keep It To the Point

If the video you are sending them is 45 minutes long, but you only want the students to watch one part of it, one solution is to give them the time frame that they are to watch.  For example, tell the students to watch from 7 minutes and 10 seconds to 11 minutes and 23 seconds.  This eliminates the wasted time without the need for editing or other options.

Tip 2: Watch It

This is a simple but important tip.  Not watching a video fully can mean that the information the students get is not what you intended.  An example is in a video that was found to show a summary of WWII.  The video had a good description, good production value and looked fine for the first few minutes.  The issue was that after a few minutes in, it became clear that this was produced by people trying to give an alternate view of history in a way that was completely opposite of the intention.  In other words, watching just a few minutes may not show you all that the video is about and watching the entire video is important.

Tip 3: A Rose by Any Other Name

Videos are often re-posted by YouTubers and the names are often different than the original video.  Searching by topic or author can often help you find a video better than by the original name, since that is often changed.

Tip 4: Closed Captioning

It is always a good idea to choose a video that has captioning available for those students who may need it.  If one video you find doesn’t have captions, a quick search may find a similar video that does.

Tip 5: Keeping Your Options Open

The clip shown above always made me smile, but they are very wise words.  Keeping your options open will often help you to find things that you may really want but didn’t know were even there.  In this case, when looking for a topic in YouTube, try different words to search, for example, to find the above clip I could have used the following options:

  • Hunt for Red October Options
  • Keeping Options Open Red October
  • Red October Options

Each search found different clips, some longer or shorter and some with better or worse audio or video qualities.  It all is in how the person who uploaded the video chose to name and tag the video.  Being open in your search and trying different wordings will often result in more options for your use.

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