The Electric Educator: Cleaning Up YouTube for your Classroom

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cleaning Up YouTube for your Classroom

Video is a powerful teaching tool. As the largest online video repository, YouTube is a popular destination for video clips however YouTube is blocked at many schools and teachers are often hesitant to use YouTube because of easy access to inappropriate content and the unpredictability of when inappropriate content can appear. The good news, is that there are ways to safely and effectively use YouTube in your classroom! Here are some tips and suggestions.

Option 1: Don't use YouTube.comInstead of directing students to YouTube where they could potentially get into trouble, embed videos into your class blog or website. Embedding video avoids inappropriate comments and related videos which regularly appear on It will require some additional work on the part of the teacher to find and embed the videos on a class website, but if the videos are good, it's worth the effort! 

Tip: Utilize Playlists
Playlists help you curate content as you find it. Playlists can be easily shared with students or embedded in your blog or web page, like the example below.

Tip: Instructions: How to embed a playlist.

Tip: Disable Related Videos
Google provides users with the option to exclude problematic "related videos" from displaying after a video finishes. Simply check the "do not show related videos" box when sharing a video.

Option 2: Use YouTube for Schools
YouTube for Schools is a special version of YouTube that only allows students to view selected videos. YouTube for schools must be enabled by a school network administrator.

Setting up YouTube for Schools
30 min. overview of YouTube for Schools

Become a Video Curator - Create Your Own YouTube Chanel
Creating your own YouTube channel allows you to upload your own video content, favorite videos and create playlists. These features are helpful and important if you plan on showing video clips in your classroom or embedding clips into your class blog or wiki. 

Examples of Teacher YouTube Channels
Create a Class Chanel
A Class YouTube Chanel can be used to highlight student work. You will need an email address that is NOT currently associated with a YouTube channel in order to setup a class channel. Students LOVE seeing their work online and can easily share their work with others. Creating a class channel avoids the problems that can arise if you ask students to create their own YouTube channel.

Examples of Class YouTube Channels:
Additional Resources: 
  • YouTube for Teachers - A site designed to help teachers learn how to incorporate video effectively into the classroom. 
  • YouTube EDU - Educational content from a variety of content providers such as Khan Academy, Universities, TED, and Discovery Education. Note: the content of Youtube EDU is what students with access to YouTube for Schools will see. 
  • Harnessing the Power of YouTube - A 30 min. presentation by classroom teacher James Sanders on how he has incorporated YouTube into his classroom.


  1. This is useful information. However, I note (as an inveterate proofreader) that educators should know the difference between "channel" (a vehicle for communication) and "chanel" (a perfume company.) Can you please clean this up? It occurs a number of times in your article above. Thanks in advance!

  2. I must say this post was much insightful as well as easy to read and understand. I had absolutely no idea that any of these settings on YouTube were available and I certainly did not know about all the ways to incorporate a safe, fun, and easy YouTube to a classroom environment. What teacher wouldn't want to use this information? Besides this post being insightful, it is 100% relevant and needed!

    With today's technologically advances, teachers need to take advantage of this new technology, manipulate it, and diversify it to fit their classroom needs. YouTube has been brushed aside by the education world because of it's easy access to videos that elementary students have no business watching. What was great about some of the topics discussed in this post is that teachers can customize their YouTube to their unique individual classroom! The video also was very insightful! I am very excited about the new things I learned and I am DEFINITELY going to use the information to my advantage...Thank you!!

  3. My name is Emma Boren, I am in EDM 310 at South Alabama. As a future teacher, I found this post to be very helpful. YouTube has a ton of great videos, but as you stated, it is risky because there are also so many inappropriate videos as well. Embedding videos, or playlists, into a class blog or on a class website is a great way to share these videos with the kids, but to also ensure that they are only seeing what needs to be seen!
    Thank you for sharing this with us! It will be very helpful to many people I am sure!

  4. Hi. My name is Martavious Stewart. I am a student at the University of South Alabama. This post was very resourceful and helpful for me as a future educator. I have noticed that in many educational settings, YouTube is definitely blocked, especially at the secondary educational levels and lower. I like the idea of embedding videos, as well as the idea of creating a channel, that makes it easier to access one's own videos for the classroom. YouTube for the schools, is also very resourceful for us as future educators because utilizing technology to better help students understand the material, will only make our job a little easier because the method of information delivery is not just set on one way. This creates the ability for students who learn visually or through song or whatever else, to learn.


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