The Internet is full of great videos, some of which can be quite educational. A while back, we rounded up a few choice websites with informative videos to expand your mind. There have been plenty of other great options since then, not to mention talented video-makers on YouTube.
So here’s a second round of fun and educational videos from the best corners of the web. Specifically, these aren’t sites for a university-level education or places that collect lectures, like Academic Earth. No, the focus here is a video that is informative, but won’t put you to sleep like a lecture. Without further ado, check out five great aggregation websites and five great original video makers on YouTube.
If there is a finer collector of infotainment videos than Curiosity, please show yourself. There is a simple motivation to any content you find here: a thirst for knowledge. If someone has made a video that explains a concept, phenomenon, fact, or any other information — and does so without being boring — then Curiosity will feature it. And honestly, what more could you want?
The breadth of topics goes all the way from a biography of Walt Disney to finding out the purpose of armpits. It’s this refusal to shy away from topics that seem silly and benign that makes Curiosity a must-visit. Often, it’s the seemingly innocuous things, the things we don’t give a thought to and take for granted, that are the most interesting. You might want to go through the “Popular” videos, but in the spirit of exploration—the basis of a thirst for knowledge — you’re better off clicking the “Surprise Me” button.
A mother, worried about the trash on the web, decides to take it upon herself to round up videos that are both educational and fun. The Kid Should See This might have been born out of a desire to serve kids, but there is no doubt that the subject matter is infotainment at its best even for adults. As the mom puts it, these are videos “not made for kids, but perfect for them.”
This portal had made our list of the best hand-curated websites for engaging content, and it still holds up. Most of the videos aggregated here serve as beginner guides to topics. For example, you might not know much microbes (having slept through that lecture in school) but a quick animated video can give you just enough information to feel knowledgeable.
In a nutshell, Brain Pump is the StumbleUpon of fun and educational videos. The bare-bones website has a single video ready for you to watch. If you’ve already seen it, check out the next one. It’s simple, it’s elegant, and it will be responsible for ruining your productivity. The video selection at Brain Pump is top-notch. Topics include everything from casual science and engineering to how things are made and economics—and yes, you can browse by these categories.
Even after using the site for over a month, you will be amazed by how almost every video teaches you something new; even if you already knew the subject, it will probably have a few nuggets of information that are novel or help you better explain the concept to others.
What Science Hack lacks in design and easy usability, it more than makes up for with the collection of science-related videos. Now, before you proceed, you should know that you require a basic understanding of scientific concepts to use this site. The videos are all verified for their accuracy and quality, and the result is that while someone on YouTube might have made a more entertaining video about how milk is made, what you find on Science Hack will be far more comprehensive and reliable.
To browse the site, you need to find a topic that interests you (for example, robotics, chemistry, psychology, green energy, etc.) and then browse to a one-line video description. It’s not the best way to check out videos, but the quality is worth it.
All right, we’re cheating a bit with EduTube. Not all of the videos you find here will be educational. Think of this more as “nerd porn.” The topics are things that appeal to geeks, which while not always worth knowing, is still cool knowledge to have. While EduTube definitely falls more on the “fun” side, that’s not to say you won’t pick up some useful information along the way. The “Top 100” is a good place to start, especially since we found that the highest-rated videos weren’t always the best quality available on the site.
Dianna Cowern, better known to the Internet as Physics Girl, is arguably the most entertaining science teacher in the world right now. Cowern has a quirky sense of humour, doesn’t shy away from crazy situations, and has a knack for demonstrating scientific concepts in relatable real-world settings. In fact, she actually won a national competition to explain “What is colour?” in an easy way to 5th-graders. The Physics Girl channel is updated about twice a month, so if you haven’t already subscribed to it, you should do that right now.
It’s baffling to think about Crash Course’s output. As the name suggests, it’s all about a crash course in any subject. But each video is painstakingly researched, wonderfully animated and narrated, and lasts well over 10 minutes. This is high quality production, but somehow the makers are able to come out with two videos every week! Plus, the topics covered range from eating and body disorders to the Mughal empire and historical reputation — so it’s not like there’s a person with inherent knowledge about all this. There is nothing not to love about Crash Course.
Nerdwriter pens a better description of what he’s all about than we ever could: “The Nerdwriter is a video series that aims to cultivate worldview. Worldview is a particular philosophy of life. It suggest a commitment to the well-rounded individual, to the intellectual life. At The Nerdwriter, we follow the advice of Voltaire and ‘cultivate our gardens’.”
While there are a few explanatory videos, the bulk of the content here is a discussion and exploration of a topic. If there was one fault we find, it’s that Nerdwriter is opinionated and aggressively so when it comes to certain subjects. This isn’t the place for balanced, journalistic research — but it scores high on the infotainment meter.
Doesn’t the name of this YouTube channel make you want to love them more, especially in this age where intellectual pursuits are often ridiculed. IOTBS is more along the lines of “cool facts and trivia you didn’t know” than deep research into a subject. But who ever said that facts and trivia aren’t great? In fact, if anything, it actually makes these videos all the more watchable. Most videos are around the five-minute mark, so you won’t be spending a lot of time here, and the weekly update is just enough to satiate you for another seven days.
If you aren’t already subscribed to these four stalwarts of the YouTube infotainment space, then do that right now. Instead of writing separately about them, we decided to club them together. Most readers are probably already familiar with them, especially since we wrote about some in our list of YouTube channels that will make you laugh and learn. But if you are a newbie, then all you need to know is this: go watch every video they’ve ever done.
- Go to Vsauce’s Videos
- Go to MinutePhysics’ Videos
- Go to AsapSCIENCE’s Videos
- Go to CGP Grey’s Videos
Got your own favourite places for educational and fun videos on the web? Share with us in the comments below. And just in case you’re still hungry for more knowledge, we also have some great places to find articles worth reading.
Image Credits: Human brain Via Shutterstock