YouTube – How to make a playlist

This is pretty easy and certainly not a new topic but YouTube does change a bit over time so I thought I would put together this hand dandy little guide (with beautiful pics) to help you out.

Keep in mind you must be logged into YouTube in order to create your own playlists to share with your students or to to keep for your own teaching (or personal enjoyment) needs.

Why make a playlist

If you’re big into lesson/unit planning this is a great way to organize these resources and have them on hand year after year. It’ll save you a bunch of time so you won’t be scrambling around for the last minute. I’ve perused YouTube plenty of times, stumbled across a great video that would assist my class and just dropped it into a playlist and keep on perusing.

Continue reading “YouTube – How to make a playlist”

Google Drive vs YouTube – Which to use in distance learning

A number of teachers have been making their own tutorial videos for distance learning. A common question I get is whether or not to store it in Google Drive or to put it on YouTube?

I say YouTube.

The reason why I suggest YouTube over Google Drive is simply the processing times. On YouTube, it will process videos very quickly. With Google Drive can also process videos quickly . . . when it wants to. Sometimes it can take hours to process the same video Google Drive. While it seems like they are both doing the same thing, the YouTube service has way more resources dedicated to this singular process and so it typically goes faster. Continue reading “Google Drive vs YouTube – Which to use in distance learning”

viewpure and YouTube

Let me lay out a scenario and see if you can relate to it. You have found a great YouTube video (like the one below :)). You want to show it to your class. It has a great explanation, it simplifies it and since it is on YouTube you can reference it over and over again so you can link to it in your LMS of choice or share it out another way.

The big day comes and man you are stoked. You bring up the link and … OMG! There are rude and inappropriate comments in the link below.

Note – these comments are not rude in anyway. I am just making a point.

Your students are snickering. You’re freaking out because you are afraid that these students will go home and tell their parents. Then you’re afraid those parents will tell your principal and before you know it you’ll be unemployed.

Well there is a solution out there friendly visitor. There is viewpure. This very simple website (no sign up needed or even AVAILABLE) will take the YouTube video you want and “Purify” it.

Just copy the URL (or web address) of the YouTube video.

Then paste it into viewpure’s box for the YouTube video like shown below.

Finally click the Purify button and whamo! The video with no salty or inappropriate comments.

Now that the video has been Purified you can actually take that link and share it out and that is the version of the video that students or parents will see.

There’s more!

Now this is pretty useful but there is much more you can do. If you click on the little gear at the bottom of the video you will see a number of other options.

You can give it a custom URL add a password to it and even trim it down. Let’s say you find an interview that is an hour long and you only need 5 minutes. viewpure will can do this as well! Very handy.

There is still one more trick that viewpure has to offer. You can actually search for other videos that have been Purified. Instead of putting in a YouTube URL just type the topic in the box instead and hit the Purify button.

You will get a bunch of results but please watch them before showing them to your class.

That’s viewpure.

viewpure –

If This, Then That: Link Apps Together to Double Your Productivity!

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 5.11.00 PM

I recently discovered the amazing website: If this, then that 

What does it do?

  • link apps together to automatically work together
  • saves you time!

How does it work?

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 5.11.16 PM

Create a recipe, or choose from combinations that have already been created for you.

You can create connections between apps/products that you love to make them work more efficiently for you – if this… then that happens (aka you are making conditional statements)

Their about page explains this in more detail ( – I love that the URL is wtf instead of about 🙂

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 5.16.06 PM

Pre-made recipes are categorized for you and include all kinds of cool websites, news channels, media, etc…

Clicking on existing recipes allows you to quickly connect them:

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 5.16.39 PM

They continue adding more apps all the time. Most are useful, some are interesting…

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 5.54.37 PM


Kendra Perkins

YouTube Safety Mode with Google Apps for Education

Yep, this is a thing. If your school is Google Apps for Education and you guys leverage the huge power of YouTube in your teaching then maybe you have fallen victim to the YouTube Safety Mode automatically being turned on. Basically what happens is that this feature seems to suddenly be turned on and certain YouTube videos are blocked (even though they are educational in nature). It’s frustrating because teachers don’t have the ability to toggle it off or on – it’s just on and a nuisance.

OK – here’s the trick – when my school ran into this I reached out to Google for assistance – here was their reply.

So basically what this very polite email says is that YouTube is not a core feature and therefore not covered in their support. The images this rep refers to are directions on how an individual can turn it on or off on their personal account. With our people, it was not an option and kept pointing them back to the Google Apps administrator – me.

After an exhaustive search through the Google forums I came across a plausible answer to this problem. For our school we had Safe Search (through the Chrome app settings) turned on for all users. What I did was switch it off and this fixed it. I was also able to verify this on a support page from Google – check it out below.

A bit of a risk I agree but well worth it since a lot of our teachers use YouTube, but why Google bundles Google search and YouTube search together is a bit of a mystery – especially since this was not always the case.

So check out the video above which shows how easy it is to change this setting. Remember though, only your Google Apps administrator can do this so please talk to her/him to make the change.

No Youtube… No Problem

In mainland China Youtube is blocked. Some people and schools pay for VPNs to have a slow and throttled Youtube experience. I suppose if core curriculum content is coming from a third-party source that is being hosted on Youtube,  there are not many options – VPN is the only solution.

That being said, since I have been here I have found many content creators like Khan Academy have legal methods for schools to download and serve their content on private servers. It takes time to confirm that it is legal to download and re-distribute, but those developing for education usually do not mind.

The other reason people need Youtube, or think they need Youtube, to host their own videos is because they found some shortcuts in their software that resulted in subtle brainwashing. Here is an example of this clever menu design in the Quicktime image below.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.04.35 AM

I firmly believe when users see built-in options like this, they shutdown, stop thinking, and simply start clicking. Since the rise of services like Youtube people have lost the skills to maintain their own media. And for those out there who are sick of Ads and other annoyances with services like Youtube, it is time to consider doing something that people have been able to do since the 1990’s- serve your own media.

Not only can you do it, but you can do it better and faster than you can with most of the popular services.

That voice forming in your head that would like to argue with me is saying, “Wait! What about storage, we can’t afford to store all our videos.” Really? Are you sure? How much video do you have..have you really added it up? Did you inventory your video the correct way?

Before I was in education, I was in video production. The real stuff. TV, documentaries, etc. I was putting video online when most people reading this were learning how to spell I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T.  I know a thing or two about managing a large digital library that has to be used to create original content. Think about it, videos indexed by scenes, so you can find a 10 second segment you need for a large piece to be used in a political smear campaign. It seems time consuming because it is. It is hard work, and forces organization.

Schools need to separate their content into three types:

  1. Instructional content and entertainment you own and have created.
  2. Instructional content and entertainment content you have purchased from a third-party.
  3. Student created content, public and private.

The next step is to make a decision as to how long you will keep media from categories 1-3. I would say every year the student content needs to be purged, except for some very excellent exemplars. Students can keep their own copies. Instructional materials owned by the school should be kept for 2-3 years, but then, it needs to be updated and even deleted.

Keeping those parameters in mind, how much storage will you need? Remember you will be serving either FLV files or some form of MP4. Not only can you create these easily on Mac and Windows, you can BATCH convert them with programs like Mpeg Streamclip. You can take the files created in programs like iMovie, and make them 60% smaller without hurting the quality.

Add-up the total amount of data you are using on Youtube, reduce the size by 30% to be conservative, and now ask yourself can you afford to host your own videos. Most hosting plans have huge amounts of storage, but might limit you on your monthly bandwidth. Most allow you to add additional bandwidth if you need it. Having 2-3 accounts on the same hosting service, is an easy way to off-set bandwidth limitations for very little money.

Five gigabytes of monthly bandwidth is about 15 hours of standard definition movies. If you figure the average instructional video is 5-10 minutes long, that means 90 instructional videos @ 10 minutes at standard definition Netflix style playback. Most of the videos you can easily compress will be significantly less than that.

If one hosting account was 100 USD a year, you would be able to serve over 900 videos based-on the limitations above, even though the number would probably be closer to 1200-1500. Add two additional accounts, for a total of 300 USD a year, and you can serve 2700 videos a year or 270 videos per month. (I am not counting the summer/holidays in the estimate).  I am using a cheap account for this math as well, there are others designed for media hosting that are cheaper for larger amounts of monthly bandwidth.

Many schools have their own internal hosting, and probably have what it takes to serve Youtube quality video without any additional cost. Schools paying for a VPN to host their own content on Youtube are losing money, because VPNs are expensive and the performance is horrible. Most schools pay for some kind of hosting anyway, so the expenses listed above are most likely already in the operational budget.

Schools that can use Youtube for free are losing valuable time and control over the user experience.  The reason schools lose time, is because uploading you own videos using FTP is significantly faster than doing uploading using the built in services in software, or the web-based uploaders.

Ask yourself, how many times have you sat and let your computer work to convert and upload a video? It can take 30 minutes or it can take hours. The failure rate for uploading without FTP is also significantly higher.  Time is a currency in education, and wasting it, should be avoided.

Even students can get videos off iPads and laptops onto a private server faster than using the student Wifi to sync 30 videos within a class period. Time wasted on uploading, is time wasted on learning.

Finally, when free services are used, control of intellectual property is lost. Rules for usage and ads can be changed with little or no notice. Exposure to content can only be assured on paper, not really guaranteed. Privately hosted content can be fully controlled, and delivered in many creative ways.

That other type of media content I mentioned, Instructional content and entertainment content you have purchased from a third-party, that can be managed in some very interesting ways as well. It is amazing what one can do with a complete understanding of protocols that make podcasting work. However, that is more of a private conversation.

Do the math, and have the conversations. Learning to really manage media is a great educational process for teachers, IT administrators, and students. In the end, the learning happens within the process, so it worth beta testing and exploring.

Tony DePrato – It could have been worse


A few teachers want to do a video quiz show and were looking at ways to try and figure out an easy way to put it together and manage. My colleague had about which takes YouTube videos and lets you organize and kind of edit them and then add some questions. It did not seem like a bad idea and since this quiz was all in good fun and not a serious assessment we decided to look into it.

OK signing up is super simple. You can sign in using your Twitter or Facebook or just make an account linked to your email. Just like any other service it is easy and quick which is what you’re looking for.

Next creating the quizzes seems pretty simple enough. Click the big create button on the homepage and this screen will welcome you and ask for a quiz name.


Simple, clean and man I’m getting revved up now. I mean who doesn’t love YouTube and here I get to make an “educational” game out of some awesome videos.

Now a new screen will pop up asking you to start searching for your videos.


Yep, I’m digging this simplicity and straight forwardness (is that a word) of this website.

OK, now you get to the meat and potatoes of making the quiz which is what everyone’s been waiting for. You get this nice overly explaining the four major components of the workspace.


The far left side you will find your YouTube search results (it only searches YouTube, not Vimeo or anything else). The far right side is the question. You can only do multiple choice questions with four possible answers. The first one you put in is always the correct one. Don’t worry though mi amigos will randomize the choices so it won’t be so obviously easy for your test takers.

The middle of the workspace is where the video is and below that is the trimming part. The video that you put in the quiz must be trimmed to be between three and twenty seconds long. Any longer or shorter and it will not let you move onto the next question.

So how did my quiz turn out? Check it out below. (I cannot embed video in – click the link to play the quiz)

I don’t want to be too critical of this site because it is certainly not trying to pass itself off as a savior of the educational system. In fact, I wouldn’t expect many teachers to use it for any major assessments in their classes nor would I expect the good people at to try and market it as such. Maybe a PE class but I’m trying to be creative here. This would be assessments at its most basic and uninspired.

As for a fun way to pass some time – yeah you could do far worse than this thing. Would I use it? Hell no . . . at least not right now. It is very buggy. I am running Chrome and making my massive four question quiz took me a good thirty minutes. Why? Was I trying to get the perfect section cropped down? No, it kept crashing on me. If I tried to type my question before the vide loaded – crash. If I tried to edit my question before the video loaded – crash. If the video was taking too long to load – crash. Switching between questions – sometimes crash. I think you get the idea. It is in beta and will probably be there for a while. I am sure that it will only get better, but for now that group of teachers actually passed on this service (with no intervention on my part I might add) and decided on another route.

What do you think?

Summing it all up, would

First off this thing crashes all the time. I am using Chrome and while creating the quiz (4 brain twisting questions by the way) it crashed plenty.

Zamzar and YouTube – no more :(


Many educators (myself included) have enjoyed using to download and convert YouTube videos for our classes. It was easy, reliable and it didn’t matter what browser or platform you were using. In other words, it was a great way for teachers to get a hold of YouTube videos for offline viewing. Well kiss that service good-bye. YouTube has officially asked Zamzar to stop allowing people to download YouTube videos as it violates YouTube’s terms of service and so on. This is by no means killing Zamzar. They still offer the ability to upload and convert files online for free, so it will be around for that use. You can read more about this decision on their blog here. Your service will be missed.

In the meantime I suggest teachers to download Firefox and install the Video DownloadHelper add-on. This will allow you to do what Zamzar was offering. It is pretty easy and allows some choices as far as quality and format conversion. It was just a lot easier with Zamzar. If you know of some quality services, programs, or add-ons/extensions be sure to leave them in the comments.

iPhone Apps for March

Well another month is coming to a close and we got some great apps to sum up for you. So, while you’re watching the Final Four (go Bucks) and need a little something to do during halftime or commercials, reach for that iPhone and give these educational apps a try.

This free app is all about graphs. It won’t make graphs for you, but it will teach you more about graphs than your probably ever needed to know. It will talk about why you would use this graph, how to interpret it and how to build one. It is very informative and the language they use is very concise. They also have a tests to see if you are a graph expert or not. Granted this is not the best app for more advanced math students/teachers, but for 6th grade or lower, this app is quite good and if you’ve been struggling to try and get your students to see the difference between some graphs, this is definitely and app worth checking out. It’s free and you can get it right here.

If you are familiar with Mad Libs then using the app should be of no surprise to you. If you’ve never used Mad Libs they ask you for words based on their part of speech (noun, verb, adverb, etc.) then it takes those words and drops them into a story. the results are usually pretty funny. The app itself is free and the includes four Mad Libs to complete. To get more you can purchase them within the app. The free ones were able to make me chuckle (yeah, I’m 36 years old). Get it here.

This is a cloud storage site that allows you to easily upload and share files. Their iPhone app is nearly as good as the website too. You can easily select files from your camera roll and videos to upload, but hold on a minute folks. The minus app can do much more than that! You can also view a number of different files right from your iPhone too (Word documents, pictures, videos, PowerPoints, Excel, etc). It’s a pretty great app and service for free. To get it for your iPhone click here.

This app will let you search through YouTube, find the video you want and download it. It leaves your computer free and it easily adds the video to your iTunes, save to your camera roll, extract the audio (which I find most helpful at times) and more. To unlock those last features it will cost you $1.99 but that’s not a bad price to pay to download those videos on the go and have them when you need them regardless of the Internet. It’s currently free in the iTunes App Store.