Monday, December 26, 2011

Most Popular Posts of the Year - #25, Useful YouTube Accessories for Teachers

Like a lot of other people are, I'm taking this week to relax a bit and do some things that I haven't had time for lately. Therefore, all this week I'm rewinding the year by republishing the 25 most-read posts of the year. I hope that those of you who are also on vacation this week, enjoy every moment of it. See you (virtually) in the New Year.

If you can access it in your school, YouTube has a ton of useful educational content. Here are ten tools that can make using YouTube in your classroom a better experience for everyone.

Removing Related Content and Banner Advertisements.
A Cleaner YouTube is a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Once installed A Cleaner YouTube allows you to display YouTube videos without any of the "related videos," comments, or display advertising. There are other tools that do the same thing, but what makes A Cleaner YouTube different is that not only can you display videos without the related materials, but you can also search YouTube without viewing any of the "related videos," comments, suggested videos, or advertisements.

View Pure is a simple little tool that strips way all of the distractions of related videos, comments, and promoted videos. To use View Pure just copy the link of a video into the "purifier," click purify, and your video will be displayed on a blank white background. You can also install the View Pure bookmarklet to accomplish the same goal. makes it possible to view YouTube videos without displaying the related videos and associated comments. To use simply copy the url of a YouTube video and paste it into SafeShare also offers browser bookmarklet that eliminates the need to copy and paste links.

Quietube is a handy little browser extension that removes all the clutter from YouTube allowing you to view only your selected video. Quietube removes all advertising, sidebar content, comments, and ratings. Installing Quietube requires nothing more than dragging the Quietube button to your toolbard. Then anytime that you're on YouTube click the Quietube button to remove all of the clutter and just watch your selected video. Quietube works for Viddler and Vimeo videos too.

Tools for Cutting and Remixing YouTube Videos
Disclaimer: Some of these tools might be interpreted as a violation of YouTube's terms of service. I'm not a lawyer so I'll let you interpret the T.O.S. for yourself and determine if you should use these tools in your school.

TubeChop gives you the ability to clip a section from any YouTube video and share it. This could be useful if there is a section of long YouTube video that you want to share with your students. One such instance could be if you want to show students studying public speaking a section of commencement address as a model.

Splicd is a service that lets users select and share a segment of a YouTube video. Splicd is a simple and easy service to use. To use Splicd all you have to do is select a video from YouTube, copy the video's url into Splicd, then enter the start and end times of the video segment you wish to watch. This service will be particularly useful for those times that you want to share only a part of a long video. Click here to see Splicd in action.

If you made mix tapes in the 80's, the concept of Drag On Tape will be familiar to you. Drag On Tape makes it easy to string together a series of YouTube videos and or sections of YouTube videos. Create your mix tape of videos just launch the Drag On Tape editor, enter a search term for videos, then drag videos on to the Drag On Tape timeline. You enter searches and drag videos as many times as you like. To trim video timings and string videos together just match them up on the timeline editor. Drag On Tape allows you to collaborate with others on a mix. is a new service that allows you to easily clip a section from a YouTube video and share that section with others. To use  just grab the link to a YouTube video, paste it into, and then enter the start and end times for the section of video you want to share. After you've completed those steps will generate a link and an embed code that will play just the section of video you selected.

If you've ever shown a YouTube video in your classroom and wanted to show just a portion of it for students to discuss, you know the inconvenience of trying to skip to the right starting point. Embed Plus addresses that problem and others. Embed Plus allows you to start a video at any point you specify. You can also use Embed Plus to skip scenes in a video, play it in slow motion, zoom into an area of a video, and annotate a video. The annotation feature of Embed Plus is a nice complement to the real-time reactions feature offered by Embed Plus. Real-time reactions pulls in Twitter and YouTube comments about your chosen video. The annotation feature lets you comment on specific parts of a video. Your annotations can include links that you insert.

Watch2gether is a neat site through which you can watch YouTube videos and host text chats about them at the same time. It is really quite easy to use Watch2gether. To get started enter a nickname for yourself (it could be your real first name) then search for a video or enter the url of a video that you have previously bookmarked. When you have found the video you want a chat column will be present on the right side of your browser. You can invite others to chat with you by sending them the url assigned to your chat. Together you can watch a video and discuss it.

Editing Tools Within YouTube
YouTube has a couple of handy editing tools built into it. You do have to have an account to use these tools.

You can also use the annotation features in YouTube to create "choose your own adventure" videos. The directions for doing that can be found here.

Awesome Apps to Try on Your New Android Device

If you received a new Android device this holiday season. Here are eleven apps that you should try. All of these apps are free so there is no risk in trying them out. If you have an app that you love and think should be added to this list, please leave a comment.

1. Skitch for Android is currently my favorite app on my tablet and phone. You can use Skitch for Android to create drawings from scratch. You can use the app to take a picture and mark it up. Or you can also use the app to edit and draw on images that you have saved on your tablet, in a Picassa album, or in an Evernote account.

2. Evernote is a fantastic app for bookmarking your finds on the web. Whether you're browsing the web on your Android device or browsing on your computer, Evernote is equally awesome for saving your favorite finds. Evernote gives you the option to bookmark just the url of your new favorite website or you can add notes and tags to your bookmark. Your bookmarks can be viewed from any device that you sync with your Evernote account. Beyond bookmarks you can save images and other files that you need to access from multiple devices. Sharing is caring and Evernote allows you to share the notes in your account with others if you so choose.

3. Using DropBox in conjunction with DropItToMe is one of the ways that I try to avoid inbox overload. The DropBox Android App allows me to access all of my DropBox files from my tablet and phone. I can also use the app to add new content to my DropBox account. The video below is an overview of the DropBox service.

4. I couldn't make everything on this list serious so I've included Google Music. Launched to the general public last month, Google Music is Google's response to iTunes. You can upload music from your personal collection and access through any internet-connected device. You can shop for new music directly through the Google Music Android app. Right now many songs are on sale for just $0.49 and many albums are available at just $4.99.

5. Sync Space is a whiteboard app available for Android devices and iOS devices. You can use Sync Space to create drawings and documents on your tablet. You can create using free-hand drawing tools, using typing tools, or a combination of the two tool sets. Your drawings and documents can be sent to and synced with other users so that they can comment and edit your drawings and documents. If you have installed an app like Evernote or Dropbox you can upload your drawings to either of those accounts too. Learn more about Sync Space in the video below.

Please read the rest of the list here on my new blog Android 4 Schools.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you to everyone that has helped Free Technology for Teachers grow over the years. I hope that the New Year brings all the best to all of you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Week in Review - The Christmas Eve Edition

Good morning from Maine where some of us are waiting for the sound of reindeer dancing on our roofs. It has been a great year for Free Technology for Teachers and that is because of all of you who subscribe to the blog, follow me on Twitter, and share my blog posts with your friends and colleagues. Thank you.

Next week I'm taking a small break from blogging while I make some time to visit family and to work on some small projects(like organizing my home office) that I've been putting off for vacation week. Not to worry though, I have 25 posts scheduled for next week. Next week I'll be republishing the 25 most popular posts of 2011. I used Google Analytics to determine which posts were the most-read posts of the year.

From the shameless promotion department, I've started a second blog titled Android 4 Schools. As you can guess by the title it's all about Android apps and devices for teachers and students.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 11 Places to Find Free eBooks for Yourself and Your Students
2. Animoto Launches a New iPad and iPhone App
3. About Accepting Advertising as an Ed Tech Blogger
4. Rant of the Year
5. The Chronicles of Narnia - Free Downloads Available
6. Videos - Dinosaurs Through History and Walking With Dinosaurs
7. Picozu - A Nice Free Online Image Editing and Creation Tool

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
LearnBoost provides a free online gradebook service for teachers.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
TenMarks offers a free online mathematics program to supplement in-classroom instruction.
Edublogs provides blog hosting for teachers and students. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
Intel offers the AppUp Center of educational PC games and more.

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The People Who Walk With Reindeer

Children all over the world will be waiting for the sound of reindeer feet on their roofs tonight. But if you have children who have out-grown that stage in life or if you're just interested in learning about real Reindeer, National Geographic has three items that you should check out.

The People Who Walk With Reindeer is a story about the Sami people of Norway who herd reindeer. There is a feature article that examines how life has changed for the Sami over the years and the challenges their culture faces moving forward. The photo gallery includes the images that were published in the print article as well as some that didn't make it into print. The video takes viewers behind the scenes of creating the photo gallery and writing the article.