Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Embedding video and sound in Google Sites

Fffilters... a spelling I coined to express my irritation at the 'lock and block' approach to child protection online. As a teacher of creative media one of my biggest frustrations has been the inability of students to use online video hosting to embed and share videos. My hopes rose when the version of Google Apps we used in my last school came with 10gb of private video hosting via Google Video. But this never actually operated for students since our service provider was unable (or unwilling) to find a way round the fact that the words Google Video appeared in the URL - and Google Video was on their blacklist. Since Google closed down GVideo in August last year, unsurprisingly the hosting of video there is no longer offered...
All hosting companies require users to be 13 or over so most Year 7 and 8 students can't open an account for use in school. Result? AAARGH!
But now I've found a solution which turns out to have been staring me in the face all along. Whilst searching for the best way of creating a simple sound player - for use with the Record MP3 app that I mentioned in my last post - I came upon this Tech for Teachers post. There are two steps to embedding media online: online hosting of the file and the code needed to display it. The Tech for Teachers post reminded me that Sites allows the adding of files to pages i.e. hosts the file. I knew this already because students have been attaching their media files to Sites to share them . The eureka moment came when I realised that all I needed was a code snippet to display the video... and I knew exactly where to find one - Free Video Coding  .
N.B.  : What follows is bad advice! For a much simpler way Click here
Although this excellent site is easy to use I soon realised that it offered many more options than I needed. Embedding videos is a more advanced skill than I wish to teach most of my students at the moment. The majority will need to embed the wmv. files that Movie Maker and Photo Story 3 produce. Furthermore the FVC code produces additional links and a rather small display with no fullscreen option. So I have lifted the code and doubled the size of the embedded player. I have added a code snippet to our private HowTube video site but I'm glad to be able add that snippet here with the kind permission of Nerissa Oden .
The screenr tutorial below shows students how to use the snippet to embed their video.
I've also edited the Production badge Stargets to allow for the new skill involved. And if you haven't a clue what that means click here