Sunday, 29 April 2012

Use YouTube with Confidence

So, there's a video on YouTube you want to show your class. But, you're worried about the comments below it, or the users' other videos that show up alongside or the videos that show up at the end. Or, may be you can't rely on your internet connection. And, if you put the video into your planning will it still be there in future years

Here are two pieces of software we use to help with all of the above:

Firstly, is an excellent way of de-cluttering YouTube. It removes everything except the video, thus solving some of the above issues. They say: 
"That's it. We remove clutter."
Also find them online @cleanerinternet and

Image credit:

Secondly, we use RealPlayer Downloader. It's available from and works on both Windows and Mac. What Real Player Downloader does is it allows you to download any video from YouTube (and many other websites) as a .flv file. If you are a SMART Notebook user this .flv file can be dropped into a Notebook page. From the Real website you'll also get RealPlayer Converter which will allow you to convert the file to a .m4v to place in a Keynote or on an iOS device, or convert to .wmv to place in PowerPoint. In addition to now being able to place the video directly into a presentation you'll also be avoiding all those comments and adverts, but best of all you now have a copy of the video (hopefully it has CC sharing rights) for future use.

We hope you'll be able to make use of these.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


We've realised we have hundreds of brilliant websites stored on our computers as bookmarks or favourites. They're great on our computer for us to use, but no one else can see them!

So, we've decided to use #edubookmarks hashtag on Twitter to start sharing them. We hope some other educators might start posting to it too.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Personalise Your URLs

This post is a quick follow up to "QR Codes and TinyURL in Education".

When directing children to a web address (URL) it can be useful to provide them with a TinyURL or QR Code as outlined in the previous post.

When using TinyURL an address like this is created Thus sending the user here without having to type in the whole URL.

We have recently realised that on there is a 'custom alias' option to create personal (possibly more memorable) TinyURLs.
Image credit:

URLs like these can be used:

Or, you can set up a system for your URLs: - [School initials | Year Group | Subject | Half term number]

So, srink those URLs and make them a little more personal!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Fed up with Spelling Tests?

We need to learn how to spell. It's essential if we're to communicate using written text. 

To find out if someone can spell a word a spelling test can be used. However, this does not need to be always done through the means of 'adult reads word, child writes word and then a score out of ten is produced'.

Yes, still use the 'traditional' spelling test sometimes, but how's about trying some of these too:

Anagrams: Provide the children anagrams of the words for them to then unscramble.

Crosswords: Give the children clues to a word's meaning or sentences with gaps.

Sentences: Write out some sentences. Some using the word correctly, others where the word's used incorrectly. Good for homophones and apostrophes.

Text: Provide a text with the words spelled incorrectly within in. Children correct the words.

Wordsearches: Put the words into a wordsearch for the children to find.

These often provide support, interest and engagement in the learning of spelling rules, patterns or key words for a particular topic. Using these also provides the opportunity to assess the children's understanding of a word's meaning.