Saturday, March 8, 2008

Geek Factor 10: Zamzar’s YouTube Converter

Probably one of the most frequent complaints I hear is that YouTube is blocked by our district web filter. According to a recent discussion on the CDE TechNet listserv, YouTube is blocked by virtually every district in the state. Most other districts, however, have access for teachers. Why we don't have a workaround for teachers is beyond me, but what we do have is a home workaround.

Zamzar is a free converter service that anyone can use from home (and it's EASY to use). While they also offer "paid" memberships, the free version does most of what we need. Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to Zamzar's website (http://www.zamzar.com). Click on the "Download Videos" tab. You'll see a place to paste in the web address.

  2. Find the YouTube video you want and copy the web address from your address bar in the browser.

  3. Decide what format you want your file to be in. For most of us @ SHHS, choosing .mov is the best option because it converts it into a QuickTime movie.

  4. Enter your email address.

  5. Click the "convert" button.
You'll receive an email with a link inside to download the file onto your computer. That converted file will be available for you for 24 hours. So, if you found something on YouTube that you wanted to show your students, you could use Zamzar @ home and get the email at school so you could download the video.

This is not a bad thing to share with students, either. I've had many kids come to our office & ask for help getting something from YouTube for a class presentation. This is a great way to give kids a workaround without having to mess with our district filter.

Caveat: the free version of Zamzar does limit the amount of video you can convert at a time. Keep an eye on your limits as that can be frustrating.