YouTube & t1m3c0d=s

Update: YouTube now has this functionality built-in.  Some of the below information is now rather moot, although the information on embedding in WordPress may still be useful.

Case in point:

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 6.21.55 PM

Any student or teacher who plans to link to youtube videos in powerpoints, blog posts, wikis, emails, or other forms of new media, will probably encounter the need to link to only a specific portion of a video.

For example, let’s say I want to link to Cookie Monster singing about his love for the first letter of the word “cookie” but the youtube video I find actually starts a few seconds before the song.  Or let’s say for dramatic effect, I want the video to start right when he starts singing the good part.  Well, I can do that just by adding an extra string at the end of the YouTube link.

Here’s my original Cookie Monster link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BovQyphS8kA

I want the video to start playing at around 17 seconds, so I’ll add &t=17s to the end of the link. Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BovQyphS8kA&t=17s

Apparently, instead of an ampersand [&] you can also use a hash [#] to separate the time string from the original link.

So now when I want to link to the scene in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Q-Less” in which Commander Sisko punches Q in the face, I can skip the first 2 minutes of dialogue set-up and just get to the part I like.

The only problem with this is when I want to embed this video in a blog post here on WordPress. Apparently, adding the &t= language to embed code doesn’t work on WordPress. For it to work here, you need to use the start function. The syntax here is different because you must calculate your timecode in total seconds, so to link to 2m16 into the video, I need to add this to the end of my link:

&start=136

And that gets me this:

And for the lazy, just use youtubetime.com which will set the link for you without having to remember all the fuzzy URL stuff.

For a lot more tricks, check out this useful page at techairlines.

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State Department EFL Resource

Thanks to a link by Roberto, I found this 14-part teacher training course for teaching English around the world.  It is commissioned by the US State Department and is titled “Shaping the Way We Teach English: Successful Practices from Around the World.”  Each part consists of a video that takes a different look at how to effectively teach American English abroad.

It reminds me of a resource that I encountered as an undergrad, the Annenberg Learner series of videos for foreign language teachers.  The video library “Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices” is especially useful because it contains interviews with real teachers and shows clear video of real classroom practices which can be a model for other teachers.

Visualizing a Semester of Learning

During the fall semester of 2012 as student pursuing a masters degree in applied linguistics, I made the wise choice to keep learning journals, thanks to the advice of Professor Kate Kiss.  It helped me manage my weekly workload and maintain a trail of retraceable thought processes that I could later go back and revisit.  I’m a visual person, so I decided to throw those learning journals at Wordle.net, which creates beautiful frequency-weighted word clouds from text input.

Applied Linguistics 601: Linguistics:

601cloud

Applied Linguistics 605: Theories and Principles of Language Teaching:605cloud

My History With Blogs

I’m starting up this weblog as a project for a class I am taking, and this week I have spent a lot of time reading and reflecting on the potential advantages and shortfalls of blogs and how we choose to approach them.  I recall when I was a high school student, around 1999-2000, I kept a “blog” of sorts although back then no one called it that.  It was a file I maintained on my free 25MB Angelfire.com webspace, a webspace that, terribly, still exists in a zombie-like state.  It doesn’t deserve to go on living, but that’s the way the internet works.  My 14-year old self was not thinking 15 years into the future when he published those pages, but there they still are in all their cringeworthy glory.

Luckily, my “blog” was something I was smart enough to take down after a while, as it very naively contained some of my most private thoughts and angst-ridden teenage experiences.  I still have the .txt file, and it’s nice to go back and take a peek inside the mind of half-life Sean.

In 2006, a friend emailed me about that old page, and interestingly, his memory sieved it as a “blog”:

Remember that blog that you had your senior year of high school? I read that thing religiously and laughed my ass off.  Then, writing about 60 or 70 pages worth of final papers and such, I realized that that website had a huge impact on the way that I write.  I think that’s a compliment.  I think it had something to do with the way that you so easily conveyed your thoughts onto a typed file; thoughts that would be incredibly difficult to vocalize.

So, I guess I was onto something.  Here is my response:

I appreciate what you said about my THOUGHTS page on that old, now essentially-abandoned website.  It’s funny that you called it a blog, because in the days that I wrote that, I don’t believe the word “blog” existed yet.  In fact, I still hate that word, and personally find the idea of a blog to be generally useless, unless it fulfills some personal or communicative role that is genuinely necessary.  I guess people seem to be really eager to create BLOGS because BLOGS are easy to create and every cool person on the planet has a sweet-ass BLOG that is referenced and trackbacked and featured in the BLOGOSPERE and causes CNN and the New York Times to write about how amazing and world-changing the BLOGGING WORLD is, yet most people don’t have much of anything interesting to say, and so, outside of the legitimate purpose of communicating with family and friends about genuinely interesting parts of one’s life, BLOGS tend to be pretty ***king frivolous, unnecessary, and in my opinion, stupid.  If I ever create something similar, I’m going to call it a GLOB because that’s a really hilarious anagram of BLOG and is therefore an appropriately incisive parody for me to employ in my own critical approach to life.

Of course, writing that in 2006, I guess I had conveniently forgotten about the travel blog I kept during my round-the-world trip in 2004.  And a year after I wrote this reply, I created a fairly meticulous blog that I have maintained through to today.

And here I am again, starting up a new blog, because one part of me has fooled another part of me into thinking that the things I have to say might somehow matter to someone out there on the series of tubes that Ted Stevens called the internet.  So, obviously there is something to this.  Let’s see if this one strikes a balance.