YouTube EDU

YouTube EDU

YouTube EDU is news to me. I'm still wondering how I missed it—it’s pretty much like TV channels and classrooms right on the funny-videos site! So I took a good look, and here are the channels I liked best.

  • Many of the big universities are on YouTube. The most prolific ones I can see right now are UC Berkeley and MIT. Berkeley’s Economics series is particularly impressive. Open courseware has gone worldwide; the NPTEL channel (by the Indian Institute of Science and the IITs) has full classroom lectures, too.
  • Edutopia’s videos look at education-related issues, learning environments, effective teaching and learning, and how learning is going online.
  • The world’s largest news agency, the Associated Press, has a really watchable channel—with a blend of serious news, fun stuff, and the really top news stories worldwide. Reuters’ YouTube channel, in contrast, is just the news.
  • The History Channel and National Geographic need no introduction, but they’re on YouTube—which is great!
  • I’m a little disappointed at Wired’s channel. It’s lacklustre compared to Gizmodo’s—tech stuff plus lots of real things you can learn. BoingBoing on YouTube is just like the site—more weird and somehow more smart. (Warning: This one can distract you endlessly.)
  • The Science Channel is all things science: Videos for kids and adults, for everyday science and exotic science, careers and news. But I’m partial to NewScientist. Just like the site, their channel is the most informative and interesting I’ve seen on YouTube, ever.

What’s special about

You might wonder what difference a channel makes. You can find any of MIT’s video lectures by searching for a term, right? What difference does it make whether or not you subscribe to NewScientist’s channel? Over the years, I’ve seen that feeds and subscriptions do make a difference—if you’re serious about learning online, that is. (Or, if you’re serious about being productive.) If you look at any of the big educational channels on YouTube, you’ll find that there is some structure.

Plus, it’s distraction-free! I did a search on “calculus made easy” in YouTube. The first result seemed “legit,” and I clicked. Pleasant music… a kid running on a track… nice enough, so I watched. He’s jumping with joy… something about a social issue… and I kept watching. Weird video effects… and <ahem> anyway, the comments: “LOL this is funny” “This is just the philosphy behine calculus” May have been a nice video, but it’s not about mathematics. YouTube EDU is really a good thing!

YouTube apart...

I should mention Howcast and Howstuffworks here. Their non-academic "How" videos—guides, explanations, general interest—are really worth a look. The library grows every day! Check out Howstuffworks' videos and Howcast's videos and guides. I'm sure students will like the career and education videos at Howcast.