We all know the power technology can have in learning. Youtube is no exception; kids are constantly learning things on YouTube. From how to get past a certain level on a video game to where Johnny Manziel spent his weekend, it’s all on YouTube. But as teachers we don’t seem to share well. We often keep our resources to ourselves. We don’t not share because we are secretive or selfish but because others often don’t ask, which seems contrary to what we tell our students. This post is just a collection of YouTube channels I have used, or watched, and the classrooms they best serve. I know there are many more and I will update this list from time to time. Because there are so many I won’t go into detail about all of them and the details I do go into will just be a short description. I will provide a list of other channels at the end of the subject areas that I have found to be useful and engaging.
Crash Course: These channels get their own heading because they cover so many different subject areas and are all very well done and engaging.
Crash Course- If you comb the internet for videos about History it is hard to believe you haven’t come across Author John Green and his collection of AMAZING History videos. Crash Course World History and US History, and currently being added are World History 2 videos, don’t necessarily follow the traditional social studies curriculum. There is much more emphasis on critical thinking questions and looking at things through multiple perspectives, not just the winners. This is why these videos are so great. The purpose of history is to help students think and better understand the world they live in. John Green covers the purpose of learning history amazingly in the introduction to the first world history video. If you ever have students who ask you, “when am I ever going to need to know this,” play them this intro and talk with them about it.
Crash course also covers psychology with Hank Green, John’s brother, and is a great introduction to psychology for both high school and beginning college students.
Crash Course Science also covers a wide variety of topics; Chemistry, Biology, and Ecology. I was never really a science nut in high school but always understood its importance. These videos, also starring Hank Green, give students an engaging look into the world of science. If these would have been around while I was in school I would have been a much better science student.
Finally we get to Crash Couse Literature 1 and 2. Author John Green dives into a topic that often confuses students into hating reading classes. John’s look into how and why we read in the introduction of this series again helps answer the question of “why do we need to do this stuff in school.” This course breaks down some of the most widely covered books in schools and gives students other perspectives on how to look at these books. Like all the Green brothers series, these are great for middle school through beginning college students.
VlogBrothers– Again, the minds of John and Hank Green are here to help us look at some complex social issues. The series is basically just the two brothers thinking out loud to each other but the topics covered can be used in a variety of different classrooms, especially social studies classrooms. Great for sociology and psychology classrooms, as well as history, government, economics, and basically any social studies classroom you are in or running.
Khan Academy– Great for a variety of topics; Economics, US History, and World History being the most applicable to most social studies classrooms. The economics videos I think are probably the most useful. Economics is often seen as a dry subject by most students but Sal Khan uses a great variety of real life applications making the material connect to the real world. He also breaks econ down into Micro an Macro, giving students in introductory classes a more specific look at the different types of economics they are covering.
CGP Grey- In these videos you explore some very important topics in great detail. CGP Grey uses some great illustrations and graphics to keep students engaged and the topics covered apply to a variety of social studies classes. Most CGP Grey videos are around the 5-7 minute range, long enough to deliver great content but short enough to keep students listening. Topics are often approached from a different angle than students are used to hearing giving them a different perspective on these topics.
WonderWhy- I stumbled across this channel just a few days ago and it does a great job covering topics in great detail while looking at big picture topics. While there isn’t a large collection of videos on this channel there seems to be more and more being added. WonderWhy Covers topics from all social studies courses, this is a resource I wish I knew about while I was both a student and a teacher.
YouTube has a ton of great science channels. I have listed some of my favorites below. SciShow is hosted by Hank Green and goes into a lot of detail about a wide variety of things. You really get to see some of the interesting things scientists look at and how science can be used in a variety of settings. Hank covers different influential scientists and their contributions along with very engaging videos about why the cinnamon challenge can kill you. The other science channels listed below are short videos that are informative and engaging. They look at science in the world around us and cover some very interesting topics that can be used in a variety of different classrooms, not just science.
SciShow, ASAPScience, MinutePhysics, MinuteEarth, Khan Academy
Math is a subject that generally allows for multiple ways to get to the same answer and one style doesn’t always suit every student. YouTube has thousands of videos covering seemingly every math topic but the following are a few channels students can search to find solutions to most types of math problems they will see at all levels of math. I have included a few that try to bring a little more “character,” for lack of a better term, to math instruction.
Khan Academy – Includes the videos from the website covering topics from basic addition through calculus
Channels that cover a variety of subject areas
Along with course specific channels there are a great variety of other channels out there that cover a wide variety of topics that would fit many different classroom subjects. The channels listed below are some that I have used in the past and really enjoyed, my students did as well.
TestTube, DNews, TED-Ed, TED Talks AND TEDx Talks, Khan Academy
As with any video you watch in class you should always preview each video prior to showing it to students. Some topics are more suitable for higher grade levels while other content you may not feel is class appropriate. You always need to be checking these things to make sure you are not getting into material not suitable for your grade levels and or students. As mentioned above I will continue to add to these and work on including better descriptions but every channel on here I have successfully used in my classroom or have worked with someone who has used the channel successfully in class. I will work on adding specific videos from channels that I feel are great for classrooms and give a brief description of how/why they should be included.
This is a link to another article briefly covering a lot more youtube channels that would benefit both teachers and students.