YouTube Workarounds

Here are some ideas when YouTube playback is blocked by your school’s Internet firewall.

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Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus blocks most/all of the ads when you view web pages and YouTube videos. This is especially good in a class setting where there are already plenty of distractions. Blocking ads has the additional benefit of blocking a major path for viruses, malware and other web nasties. Adblock will allow some vetted non-intrusive ads…  learn more


As noted in the PC Magazine post, software apps can be "updated" and end up so full of extras they get flagged as malware by antivirus tools. Helper websites can go from benign to spammy overnight. It's always a good idea to have up-to-date anti-virus software installed on your computer. And if it flags your favorite download tool as not safe, accept its judgment and use a different program. The PC Magazine post is updated on a regular basis to reflect the latest safe choices. It's a good resource to stay…  learn more

Fair Use, Licenses and YouTube

Copyright law includes a concept called Fair Use. One of the four factors in Fair Use is the purpose and character of your use. Another is the effect of the use upon work's value. Playing a YouTube video in the classroom directly off the Internet is not a violation of Copyright or YouTube's terms of service. Downloading the video so you can play it in the classroom with blocked Internet access is probably Fair Use and should not affect the work's value. To ensure this, make sure you play the video…  learn more

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How do I share a YouTube video in Zoom?

The advent of on-line distance learning has made sharing of videos from YouTube and other sources even more challenging. This post shows the steps needed to share a YouTube video with your class on Zoom using your PC or smart phone. You can also use these steps for guidance when using other conferencing software and…  learn more

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How to Download YouTube Videos

This post from PC Magazine is a great place to start and stay current with the various YouTube video download options. They update this post frequently as the tools involved change regularly - sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. After reviewing why downloading videos is not the best way to support your YouTube…  learn more

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How to download YouTube videos for free

This post from TechRadar is another good source of information on downloading YouTube Videos. It includes step-by-step instructions for: 4K Video Downloader on PCs, TubeMate on Android phones (which does not do you much good for classroom use), options for Mac's and iPhones, and a good overview of the different video formats (hint, just use…  learn more

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TunnelBear VPN

Another workaround when dealing with firewalls is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like TunnelBear. A VPN takes your Internet traffic, encrypts it and sends it past the firewall to a server computer somewhere else where it is unpacked and sent on via the Internet. Data coming back to your computer goes first to the VPN…  learn more

Why would you want to do this?

We were surprised when teachers started coming up to us at conferences saying that while they liked the fact that we had indexed all these "free to use" video resources, it did them no good. YouTube was blocked by their school's Internet firewall. Schools will block sites like YouTube to prevent viewing of "questionable" content or, more likely, to prevent YouTube viewing from overloading the school's Internet connection. Another issue is while the videos themselves may be OK for students, the ads YouTube includes are sometimes not "appropriate". Finally, with instruction…  learn more

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YouTube Premium

One of the easiest options for avoiding ads – and gaining the ability to "save" videos for playback later – is a subscription to YouTube Premium. While not cheap, it does eliminate the annoying ads. Something to consider if you spend a fair amount of time on YouTube. YouTube Premium does allow you to download…  learn more