This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

GenZers and Millenials use YouTube recreationally, but many are now using it to learn. They find it easier to understand something when they can watch a demonstration of the skill. They also like the fact that they can rewind and watch the demonstration as many times as necessary without having the feeling that they are inconveniencing anyone.  Think of the trend of video-game walkthroughs where video game players film themselves playing a game and comment as they progress through the game. The new gamers learn all the tricks by watching more experienced gamers play.

Here are some inspiring (I hope) and effective teaching practices using YouTube to reach out to students by using the same learning techniques they resort to.

The era of crowd-funded learning

More and more experts and professionals on YouTube are uploading educational content and creative commons videos that teachers can use without paying any royalties.

  • Bring the real world into your classroom: Use the resource to enhance students’ understanding and memory of the content. A short video can link the classroom activity to real-life experiences and make an abstract content more concrete.

    Photo by from Pexels

  • Foster independent learning: Being able to manage learning without having it directed by others is a skill necessary for lifelong learning and a skill, students are expected to develop in college. Teachers can direct students to YouTube to find information that is relevant to a project they are working on or a passion they want to explore.
  • Supplemental information: A wealth of resources from experts in the students’ field of studies is available. Even though class content continues to expand class time does not and so teachers can provide new information by sharing interesting links or having students share interesting links with each other.
  • Inside out classroom (a.k.a. flipped classroom): Let YouTube deliver your lecture before the students get to class so that in class all they have to do is practice and all you have to do is give targeted feedback.

Mining YouTube for diamonds

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

What teachers should look for

  • Videos of under 10 minutes in length.
  • A variety of formats: archival footage, lectures, or demonstrations. Do not replace your talking head with another.
  • Only good videos. You can spot a bad video almost immediately. Don’t need to settle for it, find another.
  • A good ending. Watch a promising video to the end before you choose it.

To get you started

Here are a few educational YouTube channels that teachers turn to year after year because their educational value does not go out-of-date:

Sound advice for using videos in the classroom

Videos can be very useful in teaching. However, if you truly want to leverage the power of YouTube in your classroom you must have students reflect on or use what they are learning.

YouTube teacher’s advice about using videos  Source: Common Sense Education, 2016

If you are watching the video in class with the students, you can have them submit their observations and answers to your prompts in real time:

  • Give a question or ask students to take notes, prior to starting the video clip, and then have them post their responses during the video on a website such as Socrative or Poll Everywhere. Student can use any digital device to participate.
  • There are platforms that allow teachers to engage students in other types of activities to promote active listening. Consult 3 Platforms to Create Video-Based Tasks that Actively Engage Students.
  • This method of garnering feedback on the video in a timely manner has several advantages:
    • Keeps students involved in an active listening activity
    • Serves as a formative assessment of student understanding

Are we watching a movie today?

There are literally millions of quality educational videos on YouTube. Why not tap into that potential to spark a lively discussion, allow students to dig deeper, get struggling students up to speed or review for an exam. If there are millions of videos, there are also millions of ways to engage students by using YouTube!

We would like to hear how you use YouTube. Please post a comment below.

About the author

Susan MacNeil

She has had a busy career in education. With a M.Ed she taught all levels from kindergarten to university. However, most of her career was spent at the college level teaching ESL. She gave Performa courses, lead workshops at SPEAQ, RASCALS and l’AQPC. She served at the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur where she contributed to the evaluation of the general education components. She received grants from L’Entente Canada-Québec for various
research projects. Susan is also the recipient of the AQPC Mention d’honneur Award. Having retired from teaching she became a contributor to Real Life Stories of education technology integration at Eductive. Chinese ink painting helps her relax and travel keeps her energized.

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