Film literacy with YouTube
What is YouTube and how does it work?
YouTube is a website (YouTube.com) open for everyone to post videos on which can be used via an app, as well. The app is very similar to the web page. It has a search engine which is comparable to Google’s one because YouTube was bought by Google.
Some videos are only viewable by creating a link. So if you create a playlist on YouTube and do not want everyone to be able to see the videos on it except they view your playlist, you can lock or unlock these videos. This means that you can decide who can see your video (e.g. only people who are logged in into YouTube with their Google account).
The structure of the website is quite simple: You have channels and on these channels you can either provide videos itselves or playlists that contain several videos.
On YouTube one can find also commercial videos (e.g. a special brand is advertised in a makeup tutorial) or Ads (brands pay YouTube or YouTubers to show their videos). Life streaming is possible, as well.
You can like videos or subscribe channels to get informed when a new video is online. If you find a video but do not have time to watch it you can add it to your timeline. Videos are sorted via category (e.g. funny, music etc.) and the most viewed ones appear at the front page.
Many people became famous by posting entertaining videos on YouTube but one can find educational videos, as well.
When you upload a video on YouTube there is no time limit, it can be as long as you want. For making the video you can use the tool provided by YouTube but there are others, as well, like iMovie (for Mac) or Video Editor Windows 10 (for Windows).
What about legal conditions? 
When using YouTube you have to be aware of several things: There are age restrictions (you have to be over the age of 18 to be allowed to watch certain videos), pornography and nudity is not allowed and the same goes for violent and cruel content.
Furthermore, you are not allowed to violate copyrights (e.g. music or pictures). Otherwise you will have to pay a lot of money. To avoid this YouTube provides free sounds.
Hateful content and spam in comments is not allowed either. Furthermore, the people who can be seen in the video have to give their permission (if they are under aged their parents have to give the permission).
How can I use YouTube in the classroom? 
There are several possibilities to use YouTube in the language classroom. Here are some ideas:
a) to introduce a new topic
You could show a video at the beginning of a session to start a discussion about a new topic. You could ask your students what they saw, what they liked or disliked and why.
b) for studying purposes
You could ask your students to watch the video with a special intention and to do tasks afterwards or discuss a certain aspect. Therefore, it would be helpful to create special worksheets.
c) as a project
You could create your own video(s) with your students. Of course, this is not possible within only one session. This is rather a project for several weeks. Every student can do the job he likes: some can act in the video while others write the storybook, do the filming, the music etc.
d) additional information
You could use YouTube videos to give additional information about a certain topic. Your students can do so either when they do a presentation in front of the class and show a video to illustrate certain things.
e) for critical viewing
You could show a controversial video and ask your students to take a stand.
What about other platforms?
Other platforms you could use for watching and distributing videos are for example vimeo (very good data protection system and therefore very good for school purposes), clipfish and MyVideo (rather old) and Lynda (for universities).
 see Thaler, Engelbert 2008.“Internet Videos: Fremdsprachenlernen für die Youtube-Generation“ In: PRAXIS Fremdsprachenunterricht 1/2008.
a critical evaluation of the use of youtube in the language classroom : educational app evaluation template YouTube
a lesson plan with youtube : youtube lesson