I have always been considered a focused worker, but as task-oriented as I tend to be, whenever I watch a YouTube video for a completely job-related purpose, I can’t help but be steered toward the additional clutter and comments that are also on the page. It’s a visual trap that manages to snag us, so we know it snags our students. Also, I have shown videos in class and had less-than-appropriate video suggestions appear on the side, creating those memorable teaching moments we all cherish.
Relatedly, some great web content comes from bloggers who sell ads to pay for an otherwise time-consuming hobby. Some that I have seen are so full of ads that it’s hard to tell what is the blogger’s content and what is trying to sell me something.
If you’ve encountered these problems, then fear no longer; help is here in the form of two Internet browser extensions (optional add-on tools), that will erase the distracting junk and let you and your students focus on the content.
A Cleaner Internet is a tool that you can add on to Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, or install as an iPad app. It quietly waits in the background for you to visit YouTube, where it springs into action, wiping out adds, video suggestions, and viewer comments, leaving you and your students to view the video without distraction.
Evernote Clearly works very similarly. Only available for the Chrome browser, it is activated by clicking a toolbar icon when you visit your favorite cluttered blog, and it reformats the page to only display the story, still complete with the author’s pictures and videos, but without the advertisements hogging the screen. Additional features for users who have signed into an Evernote account… You can clip content and save it as notes, you can highlight text for further review later, and you can change the contrast and font of the page to make it more readable.