Friday, January 26, 2007

Free Online Videos for Education

I believe my students have the right to be exposed to the same curriculum as others their age, maybe not at the same level of complexity but the same topics. Therefore, I frequently teach using video clips. Video gives my students access to complex ideas and concepts. My year long history curriculum is "a decade a month", so I have shown clips of silent films from the twenties, 1930s cartoons, the Hindenberg Disaster, Apollo landing on the moon and peace protests in the seventies. I usually bring my 17" laptop right up to my horseshoe table to do this.

Last week, however, I discovered my primary source for video clips, You Tube, was blocked by the school firewall (as "tasteless"). Google Video is still working, but it is probably only a matter of time until that is blocked as well.

Therefore, to prepare myself and help out my fellow teachers I thought I'd better line up our video options.

The first option is to download the video clips, then you can play them when ever, where ever. You can put them on a flash drive and pop them in any computer. This can be done easily on Google Video by choosing "download" for mac/windows or even for iPod (and then show it in iTunes). For You Tube on Firefox you can install the VideoDownloader extension, on Opera you can install the VideoDownloader widget. If you use Internet Explorer, or something else, or if You Tube has changed their preferences recently you will need to use the VideoDownloader Website.

If you don't want to download videos or if you just want some new places to explore for educational videos, then here are some sites to try:

Enjoy your video teaching!

P.S. A free video player you may want to explore (an alternative to Real Player, Windows Media Player, etc.), which plays all types of videos and is high definition is the Democracy Player.

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