Scouting in the Video Age

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swingbridge

While you and I may still be living in the 20th century, our Scouts all live in the Internet Age. They’re born with cell phones in their hands. They devote untold hours to instant messaging, texting, and social media networks like Facebook. And they often learn better from videos than lectures.

Yet most of us probably don’t take advantage of modern technology. Let’s say you wanted to get your Scouts excited about novel pioneering projects. Would you show them a picture in a book, describe a great project you once saw at a training course, or play a video that shows an actual Scout-built swing in action?

Websites like YouTube are a great source for all sorts of videos (many of which you wouldn’t want to show your Scouts!). In addition to Scouting-specific videos, you can find news clips, sports highlights, and other videos that you could use as lead-ins to Scoutmaster minutes.

So how can you capture those videos to show when you don’t have internet access at your meeting place? Here’s a simple procedure:

  1. Go to http://www.keepvid.com and enter the URL of the YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGvDzGas17A, for example).
  2. Click the Download button. Once the video is converted, you’ll see one or more download links, representing different file formats and resolutions.
  3. Choose the version you want to download, then open it with a media player.

Many media players don’t support the FLV format, which is one of the formats you’ll probably see. My favorite player for these files is the VLC media player, a free, open-source player you can download at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html. The player loads very quickly, and its window is not crowded with ads and lists of other media files like some players are.

Like what you see here? Get more great Scouting tips in The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook!

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