7 Things All Online Students Should Know About YouTube – A Powerful Tool

The days of YouTube being nothing more than cat videos or clips of teens trying to lip-sync to their favorite pop songs are long gone. Today YouTube is filled with all manner of videos and is one of the most powerful, effective tools for entertainment or education on the planet. It surprises some people to learn that YouTube can indeed help your education efforts, but it’s true. There are numerous things that you may not know about YouTube, and learning a little more about them will help you see why it’s such an important part of today’s education world. If you’re an online student, YouTube could be your best friend.

Here are seven of the key things online students should keep in mind concerning YouTube.

  1. Research – Any time that you have a major project and need more info, don’t hesitate to use YouTube for research. It may sound odd, but the fact of the matter is that you can find a wealth of research information on YouTube if you just look. There are videos for nearly every subject imaginable.
  2. Study Aid – Some students simply have trouble grasping certain concepts without visual aids. If you’re in that group you’ll be glad to know that there are numerous study aid type videos available on YouTube. These will help you get the best results from your education since they’ll actually involve visual aids.
  3. Lectures – That’s right, there are actually lectures from college professors available online. You can find most of these on YouTube and take your time watching lectures on the subject that you’re currently studying. If your online education doesn’t include video streams, this is a good way to get more information and the experience of being in a classroom without having to leave your home. Not only that, but there are often full videos from conferences around the world like the TED conference that can open your mind to some truly amazing developments.
  4. Khan University – One of the leading online education resources is Khan University. This free education institution utilizes YouTube to host all of their videos, which are some of the best on the net. You’ll find lessons on virtually everything imaginable and be able to get explanations for even the most difficult of subjects through easy to follow, easy to understand videos.
  5. Follow Channels – Instead of just logging on each time you want to use YouTube and searching for whatever type of video you’re hoping to see, consider following various channels that actually provide education related videos. This way you can visit those channels and view their entire list of videos as well as get notified when new clips are being added to their feed. It helps make it easier to watch the videos.
  6. Avoid Comments – Not only does commenting on a video lead you to feel compelled to check back in and see if someone has replied or given your comment a ‘thumbs up’, but just reading through the comment section can distract you from what you’re there for. The simple fact is that YouTube comment sections are notorious for being filled with derogatory comments or irrelevant ones, so don’t waste your time getting drawn into them.
  7. Stay Focused – Similarly, don’t start clicking on those suggested video links that really don’t have anything to do with your project. Before you know it you’ll be watching videos of panda bears sneezing or practical jokes being played. Those are fun, for sure, but you need to use discipline when you’re in the middle of your studies and focus solely on what is relevant. Channels help with this, but you’ll still need to use restraint on your own.

References:

  • http://differentiatedinstruction.co/2011/03/22/using-youtube-for-education-online-resources/
  • http://blog.thinkwell.com/2009/04/youtube-education-online.html
  • http://www.edutopia.org/youtube-teaching-video