Regardless of your age and level of education, YouTube’s educational section has something to stimulate your grey matter. Bringing together some of the best channels, greatest teachers and most interesting videos on the service under one heading, YouTube Education has broad appeal to those interested in casual learning, long-term courses and the belief that you’re never too old to learn something new.
The range of subjects is vast and ever-expanding, from complex scientific topics to learning a new language. Some of the world’s most prestigious universities are featured alongside self-made YouTubers who simply take pleasure in their areas of expertise. There’s no point at which the quest for knowledge should end, and what better way to do it than visually via free videos?
As you’d expect from university courses, there are a range of areas to study and these can be used in addition to your existing courses or simply for those who enjoy immersing themselves in higher education. Many areas are broken down into easier to manage chunks rather than the whole module, like the Understanding Lasers and Fibreoptics course from MIT embedded below which totals 4 hours.
Of course it’s worth noting that these courses don’t award a degree or qualification upon completion, and should be treated as pure learning tools rather than decorations for your CV. Despite this many of these video collections are capable of providing you with detailed knowledge from which you can take hobbies or interests to the next level. Another example would be the Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, also from MIT, embedded below at a total of 32 hours across 38 videos.
If you’re considering studying a particular area then these courses might give you some idea of what to expect from university education. They may also help existing students who have missed lectures or simply enjoy a different approach from different experts. Students of post 1500 AD European history might appreciate the 32 hours of lectures provided by University of California Berkley which you’ll find below.
Less orthodox areas of study such as law, where the rules are constantly evolving are also catered to, with standard “courses” but also standalone videos tackling hot topics. One such example is human rights and the right to die, which are tackled from a legal standpoint in the video below from LSE in London.
Students of the arts – or those interested in music, architecture, performance and creative expression are also catered for, as are those studying languages including English. A good example of this would be the Seven Ways of Looking at Grammar lecture from The New School in New York, embedded below.
This is only the tip of the advanced learning iceberg, so don’t forget to take a look at the full University section.
Primary and Secondary Education
Primarily tackling topics and problems faced by younger, primary and secondary students, this section of YouTube for Education is perfect for assisting with homework, gaining a better understanding of a certain area or simply providing younger students with resources that are geared specifically toward their skill level. Students are never too young to benefit, with channels like SesameStreet and Space Lab which tackles astronomy for youngsters as you can see below.
Much of the time when it comes to learning, getting students interested and involved is as important as teaching the techniques. Thankfully many YouTubers have used their creativity to make learning fun and accessible, like the Numberphile channel below which explains why 1 is not a prime number while diving into some mathematical theory without losing the viewer.
I think it’s safe to say most children sitting in a science class prefer practical and visual lessons rather than theory and reading from textbooks, and YouTube captures much of the essence of the fun of a practical science lesson. Physics, chemistry and biology are all represented with some very immersive videos like the video below from 1Veritasium all about trees. If this doesn’t get students interested in biology, little else will.
Something I wish my secondary school would have taught was proper web design, programming and computer science skills, and now you can get your little ones started early with YouTube’s Computer Science for schools section. From very basic tutorials on the Windows desktop to tips for creating effective spreadsheets, computer skills are absolutely necessary for the world we now live in. The Khan Academy has a broad introductory course for youngsters which you can see below.
See the full Primary and Secondary Education section for a complete run-down of what’s on offer.
For a broader, more casual approach for learning head over to the Life-long Learning section for crash courses in everything from now debunked Mayan doomsday theories to religious practices far removed from your own. I’m an avid believer that the thirst for knowledge can never be quenched, and I’m delighted to see YouTube catering to this philosophy. While the section isn’t populous enough to be categorised at present, many important topics are tackled such as the obesity epidemic as you can see in the video below from Scishow.
In addition to helpful videos like that one above there are some more interesting videos that can help you understand a bit more about how your mind works. One such topic is dreaming – why do we dream, and what is its purpose? This is tackled in the video below, again from Scishow.
Tough scientific theory can be hard to put into plain English, but Michio Kaku – a physicist at the City University of New York – does a fantastic job of summing up unified field theory in the below video from Big Think titled The Universe in a Nutshell. Not only does Michio present some very complicated physics problems in layman’s terms, he also aids understanding through attributing many daily devices and dependencies to physics and the world of science.
Again, this section is growing but still full of excellent information. Check out the Life-long Learning section for more excellent videos.
Visit: YouTube for Education
Have you used YouTube for Education? Any particularly fascinating, helpful or valuable videos? Let us know what you think in the comments, below.