Found A Great Video, But Your School Has A Terrible Internet

My school has both the slowest T-1 connection ever known and a cranky IT director who refuses to unblock useful sites because they don’t want any streaming video to slow down our already slow servers.

So that means if I want to use a video clip from the internet at school, I have to download it at home, save it on a disk and bring it to school. This is perfectly within our rights as educators under fair use to show video, especially short clips as part of the educational process. Plus many podcast creators made their show so that people could use it to learn – and they don’t expect to get anything back for it. Just be careful – don’t download commercial products from bitTorrent sites.

OK, but I can’t get this thing to play on my computer. There are a bunch of file formats on the net, the most common are .wmv .mov .flv .dv

Most of these can be played by downloading free players like Windows Media Player and Quicktime. Both are available on Mac and Windows. But FLV files are a little bit different. They are only playable with a FLV player or a converter. And they are harder to download, since you can’t just right click on the file and save it.

So, how can you download the pesky FLV files. Use the Firefox web browser, if you are still using Explorer or Safari – give it up and move into the 21st Century. Firefox is free at Now install the free Video Downloader Plugin (

This will give you a little icon at the bottom right of your window. Click it to download an open video. Rename the video and give it a .flv ending.

Now you need an FLV player. The Wimpy FLV player works great. Download for Windows or Mac.

Don’t forget to install it on your school computer too. And make sure you have the latest versions of flash, java, etc. go to

Mr. C