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In the Greenfield Public Schools, virtually all computers are locked down. Users save to a network Home Directory on the server. Only tech department personnel have permission to install software. Anti-virus software patches are applied each night; Windows security patches are implemented as they are released. Additionally, to safeguard our network and comply with CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act), signed into law on December 21, 2000, we block access to social networking, YouTube and Instant Messaging sites (U.S. Code Online, Section 254

Instructional Content on YouTube!
There is a lot of good educational material available on YouTube. For classes in Social Studies and American Government, there’s Barack Obama’s Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect ( For media literacy and truth in advertising, there’s the Dove Commercial ( and its sequel Through Her Eyes For social studies there’s: Where the Heck is Matt? ( When combined with Google Earth, teachers can provide students with an engagingly powerful exploration of world culture and geography. For teaching the Scientific Method (charts and all) there’s Pop Bottle Mentos Fizz Volcano ( Finally, for early math skills teaching counting from 1 to 12, there’s Sesame Street – The Ladybugs’ Picnic (

With Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick emphasizing the teaching of 21st Century skills and the importance of moving Massachusetts toward world class education (, Greenfield’s teachers have increasingly expressed interest in bringing YouTube videos to their students. In deference to their instructional needs and knowing that Greenfield’s anti-virus and anti-malware software solutions are set to scan both internal and externally-connected devices, I have taken to recommending that they download YouTube videos to a flash drive or CD and bring these media to class. In this way, they can show the videos to their students without compromising the network, jeopardizing sensitive data, violating CIPA, or dragging down network bandwidth when accessing streaming video.

YouTube videos are flash movies (FLV). Once downloaded from YouTube, you can view them using the free Adobe Media Player (an applet which in turn is built on Adobe AIR Flash technology). You must first install Adobe AIR (, then install Adobe Media Player (

When you’re ready to open the downloaded video for viewing, drag and drop the movie file icon onto the icon of Adobe Media Player. Or, right-click the downloaded movie file, select Open With, then slide over to Adobe Media Player and click to select it. The movie should then open in Adobe Media Player.


If you choose not to view the FLV video with Adobe Media Player, you can use VLC Player, a free cross-platform Windows or Macintosh application that you can download from If you want to use these applications and find they are not installed on your GPS computer, please contact the technology department at 413.772.1328 or send email to

What follows is a list of tools with directions for their use so that you can download and save YouTube FLV videos to your home computer for in-class viewing via Adobe Media Player or VLC Player.

A Word About Copyright
Before you download ANY YouTube videos, however, keep in mind that content posted on YouTube is subject to the laws of copyright. YouTube Terms of Service ( clearly state:

Section 4. General Use of the Website—Permissions and Restrictions
C. You agree not to access User Submissions (defined below) or YouTube Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Website itself, the YouTube Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate.


Section 5: Your Use of Content on the Site
B. You may access User Submissions for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the YouTube Website. You shall not copy or download any User Submission unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the YouTube Website for that User Submission.

E. You agree to not engage in the use, copying, or distribution of any of the Content other than expressly permitted herein, including any use, copying, or distribution of User Submissions of third parties obtained through the Website for any commercial purposes.

F. You agree not to circumvent, disable or otherwise interfere with security-related features of the YouTube Website or features that prevent or restrict use or copying of any Content or enforce limitations on use of the YouTube Website or the Content therein.

If you want to use the videos for instructional purposes in your classrooms, please contact the original copyright holder for permission to use the video, as the YouTube Help Center points out (

General Copyright Inquiries: Permission to use videos?
The rights to any screen shots or footage of third party content on our site are not ours to grant. You would need to follow up with the individual content owners regarding the rights to this footage. You may want to try emailing the user through your YouTube account.

Regardless of how you use the video, it is still copyright material and you are required to obtain the copyright owner’s permission to use the materials. Again as YouTube folk explain (

  • If you give credit to the owner/author/songwriter-it is still copyrighted.
  • If you are not selling the video for money-it is still copyrighted.
  • If similar videos appear on our site-it is still copyrighted.
  • If the video contains a copyright notice-it is still copyrighted.
  • If you created a video made of short clips of copyrighted content-even though you edited it together, the content is still copyrighted.

For more information on how to apply the laws of copyright and fair use to your classroom content, consult the Center For Social Media’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education (

Tools for Flash Video Capture:

YouTube Downloader
This popular application is available for Windows ( and Macintosh ( The Windows version (v.2.1.7) lets you convert a downloaded FLV file to other video formats [See YouTubeDownloaderPC.jpg] and if you have a YouTube video address copied to the Windows Clipboard, YouTube Downloader automatically pastes that URL into the Enter Video URL field when you click the YouTube Downloader dialog box. The Macintosh version of this applet pales in comparison, requiring users to type in or manually paste the video URL.

Once you have the URL of the FLV movie site, press OK and the applet saves the video to a location that you’ve designated. The default Save location in the Windows version is your Windows Desktop. When saving the file, remember to retain the .flv file name extension to ensure that YouTube Downloader can convert the downloaded file (Windows only). The Macintosh version lacks a “convert to other format” option.

To convert the .flv file to another format (Windows only), click the “Convert video [previously downloaded] from file” radio button after downloading completes. This loads the FLV video into the converter. Next, choose a format from the Convert to drop down menu. File formats supported include iPhone, iPod, PSP, cell phone, AVI, MP3, WMV, and Xvid MPEG-4. When I selected the iPod video format (Apple QuickTime MOV), YouTube Downloader also let me choose a quality level and gave me the option of deleting sound [See YouTubeDownloaderPC2.jpg].

If YouTube Downloader doesn’t work for you, try these FLV capture alternatives:

1-Click YouTube Downloader, v2.2
Available for download from Version Tracker (, 1-Click YouTube Downloader lets you paste a YouTube URL in the Search box, for downloading [See 1-ClickYouTubeDownloader.jpg]. The video saves as an .flv file. You can then use Adobe Media Player or VLC Player to watch it.

On a Macintosh I use VideoBox ( to download and convert an FLV movie to QuickTime. Once saved as a .mov, I can transfer it to my iPod via iTunes or embed it in a PowerPoint or Keynote slide show. VideoBox costs $15, but it’s well worth the price. If Videobox fails to download the FLV, try the free Macintosh version of YouTube Downloader. It will open and convert previously downloaded .flv files. Windows users who want to convert YouTube videos (.flv) to QuickTime movie format (.mov) should use the Windows version of YouTube Downloader reviewed above.

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