Today’s blog post will focus on YouTube – the most popular website for uploading and watching videos (1). Examined will be content with focus on teaching generated from users, educational institutions and organisations.
If a person does not understand a certain principle or theory, they can easily go on to the website and search for it – whatever the question is, there will most probably be a video with an explanation, uploaded by another user – as is the example of the video above where multiplication and division of algebraic fractions is explained.
Educational institutions also upload helpful videos on their YouTube channels. MIT’s Open Courseware’s channel can be found at the following link, where many full lectures have been uploaded in full length. The lectures and the paper content provided on their official website (please see previous post) complement each other, ensuring a complete learning experience.
Khan Academy is a non-profit organisation. They have a large library of educational videos posted on YouTube and also featured on their website. The topics of the videos include maths, sciences, economics, humanities and computing. They also offer test preparation help (i.e., for SAT). The difference between KA and educational technology platforms as Coursera is the fact that Khan Academy doesn’t offer full university courses, but rather focuses on short educational videos on school level – i.e., groups of videos that explain ratio and proportion in maths or stars, black holes and galaxies in astronomy. There are also questions between the videos on the website and users may test their knowledge level. Khan Academy’s primary YouTube channel has over 4000 uploaded videos and more than 1.7 million subscribers. The overall number of views of their videos exceeds 350 million. Everyone who has access to YouTube can watch all of their filmed tutorials – they are suitable for students, adults, professionals who want to deepen their knowledge, but also for anyone who would be interested in some of the subjects.
The very famous TED talks also have a YouTube channel dedicated to education – TED-ed. The channel has almost 750 000 subscribers and the around 800 videos have been viewed over 60 million times. Talented educators often voice over animations on various topics – from science, through humanities and to arts. The combination of speach and moving image and the fact that the videos are relatively short and easy to understand makes them more accessible for all audiences. The mixture of sound and visual artefact can be used to teach difficult theories and principles to kids and they will be able to remember them more easily – as children will also use their sense of sight, they will see how those principles actually work and will be able to effortlessly apply them to other situations (example of a video on “How atoms bond“).
The channel also features talks from inspirational individuals – on educational subjects, i.e., of astronomy – SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and on topics of the current state of the education system and how it can be improved. A powerful example is Bill Gates’ talk, in which he argues that teachers need smart feedback, in order to further develop their skills and become better educators themselves.
YouTube itself also features an official Education channel, where popular and fascinating videos on the topic of learning are collected and presented. The individual themes of the videos are of various types – i.e., there is a video on the maths of Star Trek.
According to Nielsen (cited in YouTube), the website reaches more male adults aged 18-34 in the US than any cable network. More than 1 billion unique users visit the site each month and more than 6 billion hours are watched. Every minute, over 100 hours of footage are uploaded by users. Because of its nature and popularity, YouTube is a very suitable tool for sharing educational videos, making them accessible to a wide public and viewership from various backgrounds.