Creating Closed Captioning for Your YouTube Videos

For the last two years, I have been invited to Ms. McElwain’s American Sign Language classes to help them with a video project that they do with fairy tales. Why I particularly enjoy this project is due to what Ms. McElwain asks her students to do that is not done in any other class at Bedford High School. You might be thinking, well that is obvious…she is asking students to sign. Yes, but she also requires her students to learn how to add closed captioning in their videos. Not everyone knows American Sign Language, so by including this with their videos, others can learn a bit of the language. Me personally, I would have liked to have had the opportunity to learn this language. Thanks to Ms. McElwain, I know how to sign tech teacher.

Steps for Creating Closed Captioning

  • Students first figure out what they are going to sign before they even film
  • Students then record themselves signing on their Chromebook using Screencastify (click HERE for previous blog post on how to use this tool)
  • Students send their video to their School YouTube channel to work on closed captioning (click HERE for instructions on how to use closed captioning or see below)
  • Depending on your school environment, students should check their ‘sharing permission’ of their YouTube video. (either have them select Unlisted or Public)
  • Students share their video with their teacher through Google Classroom

Watching Any YouTube Video
Whenever you watch a YouTube video, you can activate Closed Captioning on the Video by selecting the CC box at the bottom right of the YouTube video. Closed Captioning will then appear.

*NOTE: For the video in the image below, I did not actually work on the Closed Captioning even though it was a video that I screencasted. YouTube is making its best guess on what is being stated. Thus, there might be some errors in what is being stated verbally versus being shown through text.

If you would like to learn more on how you can implement this feature with your curriculum and students, you know where to find me.

And that is my spiel…

Embedding a YouTube Playlist in Google Sites

A colleague of mine, Ms. Mac, shared a fun fact that I was unaware of. Rather than linking a YouTube playlist to a Google Site, she shared with me how you can actually have the YouTube playlist be embedded on a page in a Google Site.

The Process
The video below will walk you through step by step on how you can embed a YouTube playlist on a page in Google Sites.

Why I prefer this approach?
Now I know the end result is the same no matter which approach you use, whether you embed a YouTube Playlist or provide a link to the Playlist. However, when it comes to YouTube Playlist, I like…

  • how the user stays on your website to view the important content
  • the ability of viewing the other videos by clicking on the icon on the top left corner
  • that the website is not full of individual embedded videos
  • that the user can find the videos easily (instead of searching for a link somewhere on the page to click on)
If you would like help on how to make a YouTube playlist, let me know and I can assist.

Sharing Specific Starting Time of a YouTube Video

At times, you may have found yourself wanting to share a video to others but did not want to waste their time getting to the ‘good’ part. In YouTube, you have the ability to share a specific starting time.

Under any YouTube video, choose Share this Video. Then, indicate the time you want the video to start when shared with others. There is a trick to the URL. If you change the starting time, ?t=_m_s is added to the end of the URL. Therefore, for this particular example, ?t=1m5s was added to the original URL since I wanted it to play 1 minute 5 seconds in.

Proper Way of Recording on a Device

Did you know that there is really only one way you should record video? I know we have all been victims of a video that we are watching that does not span the entire screen. You know what I am talking about. A tall vertical, skinny picture with black regions on either side of the video.

For some reason it does not seem intuitive. Not sure if it is because when we are recording a person, they are normally standing up which is why we tend to record vertically, instead of horizontally. Regardless of the reason, you should ALWAYS record video when your device is horizontal.

There is a very easy trick to help you remember this. Think of a TV…a TV is more horizontal then vertical. Therefore, you device should ALWAYS be horizontal.

In fact, if you have ever used the app called Capture (made by YouTube) on your mobile device, you have noticed that the app will not allow you to capture any video unless you actually rotate the device so that it is horizontal. Below is a picture of what it looks like when the device is not horizontal.

Happy Videoing!