Making the most out of Youtube in education

youtube in education

To get how great of a tool is Youtube in education let’s consider this…

If we lived in a world with no internet and someone asked us how we could deliver a lesson to kids that can’t attend school the answer would come almost instantly: record the lesson and give the kids the tape.

Well, since internet is pretty much everywhere and we there’s no need to bring a recording to these kids, we can just upload it on Youtube and send the link via email.

This is what makes this platform great, loads and loads of video content, zero space to store on a local devices.

What is Youtube

To some it may seem obvious but it’s worth reminding that Youtube is a video-sharing platform that doesn’t own any of the content being posted by its users.

Anyone with an account can create his or her own channel and then upload clips or full length videos about anything that interests them or makes them passionate.

Then other users can view, rate, share, add to playlists, report or comment on that video, and eventually even subscribe to the channel.

Advantages to using Youtube in education

Right after its launch in 2005, some major educational institutions like MIT or TED started using Youtube for distributing their content.

Now there are several channels doing the same thing, offering asynchronous tutoring on pretty much any subject you can think of, from science to English, maths, history or even medicine.

The first advantage of the platform is that it is extremely direct and easy to use, offering creators the possibility to change the privacy of the videos so that they can freely choose who to share them with.

Another factor is the sheer amount of videos posted, which is 400 hours every minute!

Moreover, using videos in the classroom, or assigning them as projects, makes the lesson a lot more interesting and dynamic.

It allows kids to study anywhere they can bring their smartphone and teaches them how to use technology in a more educational way.

Some popular Youtube educational channels

Here is a list of popular educational channels mentioned by Wikipedia:

ChannelDescriptionChannel link
Smarter Every DayCreates in depth videos on niche topics ranging through every area of science.
3Blue1BrownDiscusses Advanced Math Topics (Calculus, Differential Equations, Geometry, Applied Mathematical Physics).
CrashCourseAll Topics (different subjects arranged into playlists).
VsauceProduces videos from all aspects of science.
Kurzgesagt – In a NutshellCreates animated videos for a variety of science topics such as physics, biology, and astronomy.
Khan AcademyProvides narrated videos of science and humanities topics for both test preparation and entertainment.
Everyday AstronautMostly focuses on aerospace engineering and space news.
TED TalksKeynotes and discussions by experts in all topics both scientific and humanities.
The King of RandomCreates videos on experimenting and learning through hands on experience.
AsapSCIENCECreates short science videos exploring an aspect of life usually involving physics, biology, psychology, and more.
Michel van BeizenMakes in-depth videos on Physics, Chemistry, Math, Astronomy, and Engineering.
PrimerExamines biological topics through math and statistics, specifically natural selection.
Physics Girlphysical sciences with experiments, demonstrations, and cool new discoveries.

Practical considerations before using Youtube in education

Although it is an incredibly useful tool for any teacher, there are some things to keep in mind before pressing play on an educational video in front of your students.

  • First of all, watch the video beforehand to make sure there isn’t any inappropriate language. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to hear swearwords even in educational contexts like TED conferences.
  • Secondly, teach your students how to safely use Youtube, which mostly means staying away from content that violates the community guidelines or shows violent or adult content.
  • Thirdly, use the Youtube safety mode or, alternatively, safe viewing websites like Video Link or View Pure. These methods allow you to watch a video without displaying distractions like comments, ads or suggested video thumbnails.
  • Finally, in case of minors, get the parental consent for using the internet. Kids are only a few clicks away from reaching potentially endangering content and it is always good to make sure the parents know what their kids are doing.

Disadvantages to using Youtube in education

These practical considerations make it clear that using Youtube in education is not so straight forward.

The major risk is that students will end up following a trail of video recommendations that leads them to watching dangerous or even illegal activities.

Another downside is the lack of interaction, as it is possible that some students will passively watch the screen without actually understanding the lesson.

To solve this site like Edpuzzle allow teachers to add notes and questions to the video to make sure the students are paying attention.


How to safely use Youtube in your classroom

How to use Youtube in the classroom safely

Youtube in Education

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