Downloading YouTube: The Definitive Guide for Teachers

Upload / Download

Upload / Download (Photo credit: johntrainor)

Picture this:
You stayed up all last night preparing an amazing lecture, complete with the perfect YouTube video to illustrate the concept for your students. Class begins, all the students arrive and listen in rapt attention to your opening remarks.  As you open your browser to play the video…


Your internet connection is out, your lecture is now a “fiddle with the computer” show, and all learning has slammed to a screeching halt.


The reason so many teachers want to know how to download YouTube (despite the fact that it’s against the terms of service) is because of the scenario above. While YouTube does not want you downloading their videos for offline use, they also don’t have a good answer for what you’re supposed to do in that situation. I have chosen to take the small risk of violating the terms of service on certain occasions so I can make sure my class meetings go as planned. If you’re willing to take that risk too, this post is for you.

(Anti-Douchebag Clause: Don’t forget that the videos you download don’t belong to you, you’re not free to share them, and basically don’t engage in any dumb douchebaggery that would get you in trouble, OK?)

Miro icon

Miro icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So What Can I Do?

If you search Google for “Download YouTube Videos” you will see about 2.8 Billion hits on the topic, and many of those methods are veiled ways to deliver you ads, malware, or they just plain don’t work.

I’ve been using Miro ever since it was called Democracy Player, and for years it’s consistently been a free, powerful, malware-free, adware-free way of downloading and playing video from almost any source online.

Miro lets you search YouTube (or Vimeo, or many other sources of online video) from within the tool, and once you find the video you’re looking for, there’s a simple “download” button that will download the video to your hard drive. It will then add that video to your Video Library playlist in Miro so you can use the built in player to display your video.

[Find out how to download a video from YouTube here]

But What About…?

You might have your own tool (or bookmarklet, or site, or whatever…) to download YouTube videos. If that works for you, great. I’ve tried many other methods, and Miro is the only one that is completely open source, malware-free, ad-free, and just works all the time.

I also feel good about supporting the nonprofit Participatory Culture Foundation that created Miro because of their many projects to bring about “a more open and collaborative world”. We use Universal Subtitles at the university to crowdsource the creation of video subtitles for our visually challenged students using free, wiki-style tools.

In addition to all this goodness, Miro has several other advanced features that make it more of an open-source iTunes competitor and all-around handy tool. It can organize your music and videos, sync your Android smartphone, and even download apps from the Google and Amazon app stores onto your device. It can also convert any video or audio format into web-friendly formats that you can easily add to your online work.





Check it out. Get Miro!

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Written by

Ted Curran is a Learning Experience Designer/Developer for Autodesk. He is committed to empowering educators and learners to create transformational change through effective pedagogy and technology integration. You can follow Ted on Mastodon, LinkedIn or learn more at my 'About" page. These thoughts are my own.

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