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YouTube and its impact on Education

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

April 21st, 2021

Nikolas Zetouni


Lo and Behold! Coded Minds is also on YouTube now! Check our channel here. Just like on our Podcast and Blog, the goal of the YouTube channel is to bring educational content with a big perk – videos! Not only you will be able to see this pretty face of mine (lol) and others like Andrés and Lucy, but also all sorts of content! For example, Coded Talks episode #4 (on YouTube and Podcast) has a lot of Minecraft action.

Besides Coded Talks, I also prepared a series called Coded Shorts. As the name implies, I’ll be recording short videos (around 5 minutes) defining and explaining all sorts of education practices and terms. Check the playlist here.

With the self-ad out of the way, as usual, I’m bringing some extra info on YouTube and Education. I want to write about how YouTube videos can impact education in 2 tiers – learning while watching YouTube videos and YouTubers styles and what we, educators can learn from them.

What can we learn watching YouTube videos

What I really want to focus here are channels that can bring educational content in a fun and engaging way but are not part of the curriculum. Take Bright Side for example, a channel that creates content about life curiosities like planets, the world's most expensive things and even content about riddles and puzzles. Wanna go a bit more to the high end? The NASA YouTube channel is filled with educational pieces that go beyond what is learned on the curriculum. Finally, one of my favorites is TED channel that brings a lot of useful information for life in an engaging way for adults and children alike.

Again, I know that the content from these channels have nothing to do with the curriculum. Nevertheless, they can bring a lot of value to the classroom. Let’s say you are teaching one of these subjects that no student likes or engages. The content is dry, dull and hard to bring life to. Through your regular YouTubing, you find a video that actually brings some color to the subject by using examples, animations, stories, etc. that are around the boring subject and you have a brilliant idea to connect the videos to what you are teaching.

My classic example of this is cellular division (mitosis and meiosis). This subject was always hard for me to teach because it heavily relies on memorization. Back in 2009, I found 2 animate videos that pictured both processes in a fun, colored and engaging way, much much better than pictures from books and the internet. I decided to give it a shot, and guess what? Students were interested, engaged, asking questions and enjoying the lecture.

To close this part, if you are looking to use YouTube videos in your lectures, try to use them in at least 1 out of 3 ways:

  • As a curiosity spark: Show a video that is related to the subject that is super cool and exciting. The goal is literally to capture students' attention with a big blast!

  • As a second way of explaining during the lecture: Explain everything you need to explain and then play a YouTube video about the same explanation but through someone else’s delivery style. This reinforces students' take on the subject and also fills some gaps that you might’ve missed.

  • As a take home message: A sum up video with the highlights of the subject so students can leave the lecture knowing what is really important about it.

What Educators can learn from YouTubers

Being a YouTuber has nothing to do with a hobby anymore, it is a full fledged career, and educators can learn a lot from them. YouTubers make money by impressions, which means several ways their videos interact with users. Oversimplifying, in order for a YouTuber to make money and to continue to make money, it needs to please its audience and continuously increase the number of followers. A YouTuber without an audience makes no money. Furthermore, YouTubers need to understand their audience, prepare content the way the audience wants and likes. That is why YouTube is also a community, so the audience and content creator can interact, get feedback and grow together.

Teachers can learn a lot from YouTubers in that regard. A teacher needs to understand its audience (students). What they like, what they dislike, what is fun, how to engage them, and much much more! Like YouTubers, teachers should approach their students to understand what is working or not, how can the teacher improve and even get a few tips on what to do in order to please the students better.

My example: as a student I always favored teachers who were more interactive and connective with students. Funny enough, I was not the only one. These teachers made us part of something, part of a group, of the class and the content. They were not just pleasing us for the sake of pleasing. They had mastery over the content, so they tried to “control” what they didn’t have mastery over it – us! So when I became a teacher, I did the same. I tried to understand my students, use their language, their jokes and favorite shows, movies and what not. Guess who was the best teacher the students had at that time? You got it, it was me!

In summary, if you want to engage with your students, ask them: Who is your favorite YouTuber? Watch some of his/her videos and understand why he/she is so popular. Grab that magical formula and use that in your favor. You don’t need to become someone else, but you can use that to improve, to serve your students better. After all, a teacher without students is no teacher at all.

Take home message

Don’t use YouTube as a tool to search food or kitten videos only. Use it for entertainment, of course, but try to learn from all the different videos that you and your students watch.

Since we are talking about YouTube, did you know that Coded Minds can teach your kids how to become a YouTuber? Sign your kids for one of our iSTEAM learning session and ask for our YouTube lessons and get your children producing videos!

Nik Zetouni

Did you know Coded Minds is a pioneer in iSTEAM and one of the first companies to integrate it into their learning objectives and educational programs? To enrol your child in iSTEAM learning or learn how to integrate iSTEAM into your educational program or curriculum, CLICK HERE.

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