YouTube Pioneering into the Realm of Educational Media


Editor in Chief


Traditional education paradigms are changing; after all, it is the twenty-first century. As Ken Robinson once said, “We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people.” Our current educational system was developed during the Age of Industrialism, but we are now in the Age of Technology. One of the major educational breakthroughs of our time is online video.

Aside from an entire YouTube section devoted to educational video, there are extensive resources on the popular website. Some of these videos have been made by “vloggers” (video bloggers), and others via voiceover animated presentations.

The Khan Academy, created by Salman Khan, is one of the most widely-known resources for educational video.

In a traditional classroom, [students take an] exam, and whether you get a 70 percent, an 80 percent, a 90 percent or a 95 percent, the class moves on to the next topic. And even that 95 percent student, what was the five percent they didn’t know?” asked Khan in his TED Talk. “Maybe they didn’t know what happens when you raise something to the zero power. And then you go build on that in the next concept. That’s analogous to learning to ride a bicycle, and maybe I give you a lecture ahead of time, and I give you that bicycle for two weeks. And then I come back after two weeks, and I say, ‘Well, let’s see. You’re having trouble taking left turns. You can’t quite stop. You’re an 80 percent bicyclist.’ So I put a big C stamp on your forehead and then I say, ‘Here’s a unicycle.’ But as ridiculous as that sounds, that’s exactly what’s happening in our classrooms right now.”

Khan has taken such a situation by the horns. As a non-profit, more than 3,500 videos spanning subjects from world history to current economic policy are available for free. A supplement to the mathematics videos helps students practice what they learned just moments previously. Put on the map through a presentation made by Bill Gates, the Academy touts 10 million students at last count.

The Khan Academy isn’t even close to having some sort of monopoly. John and Hank Green, thirty-something brothers known as their YouTube channel name “Vlogbrothers,” got their start in online video in 2007 with a project they called “Brotherhood 2.0.” The Green brothers alternated every day for a year making a four-minute-or-less video in order to stay in touch with each other. Once the year was up, they continued to alternate making videos on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Their newest endeavor has been two educational YouTube channels: SciShow and Crash Course.

SciShow is a weekly science update program hosted by Hank Green. Aside from interviews with top NASA officials and in-depth coverage of the Higgs-Boson particle’s discovery, the episodes strive to inform and educate an array of personalities, rather than the cramming-for-a-final university student. Crash Course consists of two courses taught over a six-month span. Last year, John taught World History and Hank taught Intro to Biology. The next classes will be Ecology, taught by Hank, and Literature, taught by John.

San Marcos teachers have also been posting lectures online. Last year, Mr. Jeremy Vaa began posting videos filmed on an iPad. 2005 California Teacher of the Year Mr. Eric Burrows has been posting United States history videos to YouTube for the first time this fall.

“The kids like how short, compact, and succinct the lectures are,” said Mr. Burrows. “They can view the content online in order to open up the classroom for true synthesis of material by the students.”

Below is a playlist full of educational video samples.


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