Education is no longer taking place only in the classroom, as education-related videos on YouTube are viewed twice as often as Animal videos of the same channel. Video-based education YouTube channels like CrashCourse by John Green and his brother Hank, Vsauce by Michael Stevens, Kevin Lieber and Jake Roper, and Derek Muller’s Veritasium are offering education as entertainment to the masses revolutionizing learning.
Khan Academy, a leader in short education-related videos, has about 2.2 million YouTube subscribers. Independent video education providers such as CrashCourse count 3.1 million subscribers while Veritasium by Muller 2.4 million. Vsauce’s three channels combine for a staggering 15 million subscribers.
The channels’ popularity rests in the way these individuals choose to explain complex concepts and even seemingly-boring ideas. They use humor and are permeated by a distinct, upbeat personality which makes them more appealing to modern-day learners who may have shorter attention spans.
“Entertainment is the top priority to keep (viewers’) minds from wandering,” says Derek Muller. “If you’re not getting people engaged, you’re not going to reach a big audience.”
Muller says that although face-to-face learning cannot be entirely replaced, YouTube provides a different advantage, as it offers education to millions of people easily and efficiently. A lecture has a limited audience capacity, but not a YouTube video — which can get millions of views and be watched at any time.
Hank Green of CrashCourse says that their objective is to offer educational resources that can be used in the classroom and bring in valuable interaction, writes Forbes. His brother John Green believes YouTube is already a sound education tool:
“Every school day I get dozens …messages from students and teachers telling me how our work is being used in schools across America and the whole world. This world of infinite information is empowering . .. The tools to learn and thrive in this world are still adapting, but I’m so thrilled that YouTube has become such a powerful tool for education,” Hank Green said in a Metro.us article.
For Muller the educational revolution will take place by leveraging the Internet and social media. This is an ecosystem where students are “curious and ask questions” he says.
“They can search something on Google and get responses immediately; they are not as powerless. They may not have friends who are expert linguists, but there surely are people on Google who are.”
Despite the popularity of YouTube videos among millennials and other learners comfortable with an online format, teachers have been slow to use or even allow YouTube in the classroom, mostly due to security and student control concerns.
The issues technology in the classroom breeds were discussed recently at AL.com’s Huntsville hub where students and teachers visited WHNT News Channel 19 to examine the role of technology in business and education. The discussion unveiled the concerns and challenges when integrating tech in the classroom.
Policing Internet use, financial resources, plagiarism and a withdrawal from social interaction were among the issues raised.