What YouTube is Doing for Education

The video kingdom of YouTube can lead a curious person to a lot of different things: a tutorial on how to make a terrarium, a Miley Cyrus parody music video, a personal video blog from a famous YouTuber. From professional to ametuer, the website is packed with information. So it only makes sense that the education world take advantage of the treasure trove.

So many educational videos began to appear on the site that in 2009 YouTube created YouTube EDU, a place to put all the educational videos. Now with over 700k videos, teachers can find just about any topic they would want to cover.

YouTube is a great source for edutainment, but getting video-happy won’t help a classroom either. Combining YouTube into lessons is one of the many balancing acts teachers must be careful about. Edudemic has a great guide for using YouTube in the classroom, including how to create YouTube quizzes and how playlists can be used.

Many Universities have their own account where they post lectures from star faculty or experiments. Sharing educational content allows instructors to collaborate and become more creative with their lesson plans. These videos also open up the possibility to flip their classroom. Having students watch videos at home to become familiar with the content and work out some of their own questions by being easily able to rewind, rewatch, or pause to take notes or look up questions is a great way to introduce a lesson.

While some teachers use the videos already on the site, another way to utilize YouTube is by creating videos. There are many edtech tools now available to teachers in order to easily create their own content. It’s about getting your content across, not about being the next Martin Scorsese. Teachers can create their own videos using edtech tools like EdPuzzle, Educreations, ZaptionAnimoto, and Creaza. Once teachers create a video, they can continue to use it year after year.

On a larger scale, YouTube is continuing the trend of opening up education to the masses. Along with MOOCs and other free online courses, the amount of shared educational content on the site is a statement to how the site is allowing free forms of education to flourish.

Check out YouTube’s playbook guide to producing educational videos for more information. Happy videoing!

Photo credit: M Anima

Michelle Harven

Michelle Harven

Michelle is a current graduate student at Emerson College and an intern at Boston's public radio station. She enjoys exploring the world of educational technology and writing about the ever-changing sector and its potential.