Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How to Play YouTube Videos Safely in School

YouTube can be a powerful resource for education with over 4 billion videos watched every day. Despite the number of cat videos, there are actually quite a lot of educationally valuable videos. Google even has their education channels at where they have currated videos by grade level and subject area.

However, even if you find the perfect video explaining how to add fractions or the phases of meiosis or how the pyramids were built, you can still run into a problem when having your students watch it. By default in addition to seeing the video they will also see ads, user comments below the video, suggested videos on the page, and then more suggested videos after their clip is done. At best these could be distracting. At worst they could be inappropriate for your students.

So what can you do?

Below we will take a look at three options you can use to let your students watch a YouTube video without all the extra stuff. You can view the video explaining the options, or read the directions below, or both!

Option 1: Show the video through ViewPure

ViewPure is a website that shows YouTube videos without comments, ads, or other distractions. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to the ViewPure site at:
  • Paste in the link to the YouTube video you want to show to your students
  • If you want advance settings, click the gear icon in the link box to set the start and stop time, a custom URL, and more
  • Click the Purify button
  • You will now get a page that just shows the video and nothing else
  • You can simply copy the link in the URL bar at the top of the page and give that link to your students instead of the original YouTube link

Option 2: Insert the video in a Google Slideshow

Another option is to insert the video into a slide in a Google Slideshow. Here’s how it works:

  • Create a Google Slideshow as normal (Click “New” then “Google Slides” when in Drive)
  • On one of your slides click “Insert” then “Video
  • Search for your YouTube video or paste in the YouTube link, then click “Select
  • The video will now be inserted into the slide. You can move and resize it as needed.
  • You can now let your student view the slideshow (I would recommend clicking “File” then “Publish to the web” to get the link)
  • When your students run the slideshow, they can click on the video to watch it right in the slide without any of the ads, comments, or suggested videos found on the normal YouTube page

Option 3: Embed the video in a website, blog, or other tool

Many modern web-based tools let you embed items from other services. YouTube videos can be embedded in Google Sites, Blogger, and many other services. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to the YouTube page for the video you want your students to watch
  • Below the video click the “Share” link and then click “Embed
  • You will now get the embed code for the video
  • If you want more settings click “Show More” to change the video size and other options
  • You can now copy and paste the embed code into other services (following the directions for that service)
  • When your students view the video on your website or blog, they will just see the video

Video is a powerful learning tool for students, whether its for instruction, remediation, enrichment, flipped learning, or more. With the options above you can remove one more obstacle for students to safely benefit from the millions of educational videos freely available through YouTube.

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. Eric - this is incredibly helpful! Thank you for sharing! I am going to start using ViewPure immediately.

  2. Eric, great job. May I also recommend the Chrome Extension YT Full Fill. It works similarly to View Pure, except it generates the new link with the click of a button. It does not crop, but it will show the video and the video only. It was created by a Google for Education Trainer.

    Here's the link:

    1. Fantastic! I just tried that out and it works great. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Eric,

    Great job I will pass this on to my staff.

    Pete Moran

  4. There is even another option, using your video as example:
    I simply change the url

    1. Thanks for the info! It does still show suggested videos at the end though. Do you know if there is something else you can add to the URL to remove suggested videos?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. On the top right of the recommended videos there is an option to toggle called Autoplay..switch that off. I also use an extension called Turn Off the Lights, it blackens everything but the video itself.

    4. Hello from Spain. I use that optiinon and I add "?rel=0" at the end of The link. This is The example:
      That means that you switch off The option of videos suggested.
      Sorry ir I don't write a good english. I hope you can understand me :)

  5. I love the Google Slides idea. I have some more ideas here:

    1. Thanks for sharing! Excellent ideas as always.

  6. Great stuff, as usual! We have pushed out Ad Block Plus to the whole domain, which doesn't get rid of the suggested videos, but removes ads before the video.

  7. I like to use to download as an MP4 so an internet connection is not required. Will be checking out viewpure also, thanks.

  8. When your embed, "If you want more settings click “Show More” to change the video size and other options" should have an option to turn off suggested videos.