<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/eduyoutubethumb1.png”>We all know that improving our education is good for us, but we also know that doing so is often expensive and a bit time consuming. Books are not cheap and courses at institutions of higher learning are certainly not cheap. Libraries are as great a resource as ever, but let’s face it – sometimes its easier to watch or listen to someone than to read, particularly if you spend most of your working day viewing text on a computer.
Fortunately there is an incredible array of YouTube educational videos available online. A wide variety of information, including real lectures from top universities and presentations from experts, are readily available.
You’d be hard pressed to find this out on your own, however. Material from YouTube’s education channels rarely seem to make the front page.
Self-described as a “leading online destination for intelligent video programs on the people, issues, and ideas changing the world,” FORA.tv contains video clips about important issues surrounding politics and economics.
The coverage on FORA.tv is American in focus, and so many of the issues that are frequently discussed – such as gay marriage, tax cuts and defense spending – are discussed through American lenses. With that said, however, there is some focus on subjects of international interest, such as genetically modified food.
The clips on FORA.tv are generally around five minutes in length or less, so it is quite easy to view a few FORA.tv videos while enjoying your lunch break.
Do you fancy yourself an amateur engineer? Or are you already educated in the field, but you’d like a refresher? If so, you’ll absolutely fall in love with the MIT YouTube channel. You’ll find a wide variety of lectures from actual MIT professors posted.
These lectures are not just made available in isolation, either – MIT generally provides numerous lectures from a single course. This means you can jump into the very first lecture and follow the concepts being taught from the beginning.
Although most of the available lectures are about engineering or math, there are some lectures that focus on other fields of study such as music theory and education (as in, how to teach others).
Provided by the University of California, UCtelevision does not focus on lectures given by professors in a classroom setting. Instead it focuses on presentations and panels, some of which are given by UC professors and some of which are given by guest speakers. The speakers at these presentations can, frankly, vary in quality, but the information provided is often thought-provoking.
An easy-going channel that is targeted towards people who are entirely new to the field, Bad Astronomy is all about explaining complex ideas about the universe that are often misunderstood by the public. This includes such topics as the gravity produced by black holes (is it stronger or weaker than that of the star it was born from?) and how Lagrange points work. The videos are generally short and to the point, making this another great channel to check out if you have a few minutes to kill.
If you’re interested in the latest developments in the scientific world – including hard science, social science and medical science – you should absolutely check out Research Channel. This channel focuses on presentations given by leading scientists and researchers about a wide variety of topics including psychology, medical procedures and math. There are also a few interviews with popular figures mixed in – an interview with Bill Gates is one of the channel’s more popular videos.
There are many other educational channels on YouTube. It’s amazing how many universities offer a sampling of their lectures online. The five YouTube educational channels here are a good place to start, but anyone hungry for knowledge should check out everything the educational channels have to offer.
Do you have any favourite educational channels that you would like to recommend?