Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SafeShare for YouTube

Our district allowed YouTube access to our employees last spring -- hooray!

But with this new freedom comes great responsibility. We know that YouTube has all kinds of advertisements floating around their site. We also know that there is a list of "related videos" on the sidebar that may or may not be appropriate for the kids to see. 

The good news is, there is a website that allows you to block all the other junk on YouTube and just show the video you want to share. It's called SafeShare.

  • Free. No need to sign up for an account.
  • Insert the link to any YouTube video into the box above the "generate safe link" button. Click the green button to view the video with a black box around it -- which blocks all the extra {and sometimes inappropriate} stuff that YouTube normally has next to and around the video. 
  • Crop the video to whichever starting and stopping points you prefer. 
  • Share the cropped/safe video via e-mail or on social media. 
  • The link to your safe video never expires, so you can put it on assignments and class websites without worry.

Take this video, for instance: 

When we watch it on my blog, we get rid of all the weird links that are featured on the side. Here's how the video's page looks when you watch it on YouTube:

Er... video suggestions #5 and 6 don't look like anything I'd like to share with my students. So let's put the link into the SafeShare.tv website and see what happens.

First, I put the link into the box, and then I click the big, green button. 

The bottom half of the picture above appears underneath the green button after you click it. 

Clicking on "customize video" gives you these options:
You can change the name of the video by editing the words in the top text box.

To change the "theme" of the video -- the background color of the box around your video, basically -- click on the black box. You see these options:

Not a lot of theme options, but the black works just fine for my class, so I always just leave it there. 

If you need to crop the video, click the word "full" and see a pop-up screen similar to this:

To set a starting point, play the video, and click "beginning" whenever you're at the part of the video you want to show first. 

To set an end time, just play the video and click "end" whenever you want. If you click "OK," these settings will be saved, and the video will be cropped appropriately in the SafeShare.tv link. 

Once you're satisfied, click "take me to the safe view."

I did crop this picture a little bit so you could see the smaller words on the bottom more easily, but rest assured that the rest of the screen is that dark grey/light black color -- no inappropriately suggested videos on the side anymore! 

By utilizing the links right underneath the video, you can download the video to your computer (with the appropriate crops still applied), save the video by bookmarking it on your computer, or share it in a plethora or ways:

You can even scroll down on that page to view more share options; I haven't even heard of some of those websites! 

The good news, though, is that if you choose to save the link anywhere -- in your e-mail, on your Symbaloo account, bookmarked in your browser, whatever -- you can always go back to that exact video, as long as the original poster on YouTube doesn't remove their content. 

SafeShare even has an app available in the iTunes store. On the app's description page, it shows these two pictures to give you a glimpse of how SafeShare works:

This could come in handy if you use an iPad or two for stations; you could rest assured that students are seeing only the content you want them to see. 

Anyway. That's how I can confidently show YouTube videos in my classroom. It's so much easier than downloading a video at home and transferring it through my Dropbox account to school every time I want to show something! 

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