So I was talking to my friend today and she started talking about how she was learning about how water is sucked up through the roots of plants to their leaves in her biology class. She was going through all sorts of complicated terms that must have taken a lecture to learn. The whole time I was able to keep up with her and add little bits of information that she didnt even mention. We were basically talking about how awesome plants are (yes, I know, we’re cool).

The point I’m getting at, is that I didn’t take her bio class, and I didn’t have any idea what she was talking about only up to about a couple of weeks ago. This is because I was YouTube surfing and clicked on a video that was liked by a vlogger I was subscribed to.

The video I clicked on was Its all about how a tree is able to bring water up to its highest leaves and why. It is also taught in a way that is most likely way more entertaining than how it would be in class room or lecture hall.

This got me thinking. I was able to learn almost as much as she learned in class as i did watching a video that was less than 8 minutes.. on YouTube! Could this replace classrooms in the future? I’m already subscribed to several entertaining and education vloggers and channels on YouTube including The VlogBrothers with their show Scihow ( and Vsauce with Michael Stevens ( Both of these teach  really interesting facts and knowledge in very entertaining and informative ways. I dont even have to roll out of bed like i have to with lectures and class. This is a much more convenient and entertaining way to learn all sorts of new things.

This may not take over the classroom, but I can definitely see it working along side teachers in the very near future.

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8 Responses to

  1. esf17 says:

    For the first few years of its existence, YouTube has had the reputation of being a site for entertainment purposes created by insane home videos. As the site has become more popular, it’s purpose has changed with the various interests from viewers. Any typical college student absolutely hates waking-up early to go to lectures, but if a student were able to learn the material in less than eight minutes as opposed to an hour-long class, wouldn’t they be smart to seek that opportunity? They certainly would be, and I would seek to take classes on YouTube if they were accepted for credit. Here is a link for some background information on YouTube education ( I think with the ever-changing world of technology that universities across the globe have to take this approach in order to maximize students’ fullest potential in today’s world.

    As you mentioned about online lectures taking over the classroom, I do not see that happening but within our academic careers I do see professors using the web more often for educational videos than in years past. As there is something to be said about having a physical instructor there with you during classes because it allows you to stop and ask direct questions about a subject matter. The internet has allowed us as Pitt students to pay for our tuition, do homework, and gather notes without having the hassle of dealing with paperwork. Will the online lectures give has no incentive to get out of bed? That is an issue only time will tell, and I believe will happen within the next decade.

  2. ceb102 says:

    I think the power of Youtube is amazing and deserves every bit of credit it receives. I never realized it, but Youtube can be beneficial in so many ways other than simple entertainment. Whenever I don’t know how to do a math or chem problem, my initial instinct is to look up a tutorial on Youtube. Since I am a visual learner, Youtube has proven to be extremely helpful. People go through things step by step and visually demonstrate the methods for you.
    However it also got me thinking, we pay ridiculous amounts of money every semester for tuition and books, when realistically we could probably learn the majority of things for free from Youtube and the internet. So what’s the point of college?
    The post above me makes a good point in saying the physical presence of an instructor allows us to stop and ask questions. But when you’re in a 400 person lecture hall, is it really just as purposeful? At that point, you might as well just stay in bed and take the class online via Youtube.
    The internet has obviously changed our lifestyles in so many ways. It has allowed for the creation of a new learning dynamic where virtually any question can be answered with the click of a button. Our traditional methods of learning are no longer adequate. With today’s technology, we have been able to raise the bar and hold ourselves to higher standards of learning and knowledge.

  3. GABRIELLE says:

    Youtube is fabulous. I’m a bigger fan of Ted Talks, they are basically speakers who are invited to California to talk in front a multitude of people. The speech is recorded and posted. Only informational and factual information is ever posted.

    In my own high school, teachers utilized Ted Talks as a source in teaching. My English teacher had us write reflections on creative speakers while my Psychology teacher used them to help us understand more about how memory and learning works. These tools are fantastic and can help tremendously.

    I must say that there is something about watching these videos that makes it easier to learn material. I think the reason behind this has a lot to do with the person talking. In all of high school I can name three teachers who I truly considered to be good. They were good not because they knew the material, all teachers do, they were good because they knew how to share the material. Students are tricky creatures who thrive on stimulation to learn.

    In eleventh grade I took statistics. I had an extremely knowledgeable teacher who was not a very exciting teacher. One day, he had an emergency and had to leave so another fellow teacher used his free period to teach us. Throughout the year, statistics was thought to be boring and dry. The second that other teacher began teaching there seemed to be a change in the response the students were giving. They wanted to learn, and they liked it. In my opinion this happened for two reasons. As I mentioned above, the teacher fit the criteria of knowing how to teach. He commanded the room, his passion was contagious, but he also had one characteristic that I deem important: respect. He was known as a great teacher and a great coach and people loved him.

    When you watch a YouTube or Ted Talk video, the presence is what is stimulating you, and also the respect of the person speaking. Often times it is someone who has a plethora of master’s degrees or is the creator of something amazing. At the end of the day, the material you’ve learned from the video is the same boring material from your text book or the monotone voice of your biology professor. Put it in a different context and you’ve got something much more.

  4. Miss Jackson says:

    I think that YouTube videos that teach concepts are great teaching tools. They are very useful when you need a quick brush up on a concept that you already learned or clarification on something that you learned in class or lecture.

    But I do not think that they can replace the dynamic of the classroom or lectures. I like being taught in person and being able to go to that person when I have a question about what is being taught. I feel like all of these things are lost when you only have YouTube videos teaching you ideas and concepts.

    However, when YouTube videos are used along with lectures they are very effective. I remember one time in my Bio lecture, my professor was teaching about the different organelles in the cell and their functions. When she first presented the information, I didn’t really understand it. But once she showed a YouTube video that actually showed the organelles in the cell performing their different task and identified the different structures in the video while it was playing, I was able to understand the concept. However, I know that if I would have just watched the video on my own without any explanation to cell structures and cell processes from my professor I would have been completely lost. So the point is that YouTube videos should be used as a teaching tool, but they cannot replace lectures and classes.

  5. C_R_C says:

    Although YouTube can be an extremely effective teaching tool, I think that the quality of the educational content posted on YouTube has not reached a level of “assurance” that makes it a reputable source. The first issue with using the site as an educational tool is that anyone can upload videos. There’s no filter on the content of those videos, other than that they aren’t pornographic, unethical, or violate copyright. It’s a similar concept to what is said of Wikipedia today; when information can be edited at the drop of a hat, when can it ever be truly accurate? That being said, this can be combated by the educational YouTube-er by examining the uploader of the videos and evaluating their integrity, as well as cross-referencing their information.

    One reason that these videos contain a seemingly higher quality of lesson is that the uploader makes these videos for direct personal gain. If the channel is a “YouTube partner”, the uploader directly receives payment for the amount of likes, subscriptions, and views that they get. There’s pressure to release the most accurate, well-thought-out, and concise video that is better than competitors. It’s this drive for instant monetary gratification that I believe leads to the high quality of some of these YouTube lectures, especially those from uploaders that have become very popular. Thankfully, the fruits of the uploader’s efforts can be accessed for free by anyone with an Internet connection, and can effectively supplement conventional teaching processes.

  6. McFly says:

    I remember in tenth grade World Cultures, we were instructed to watch a video about North Korea. While the video was informative and engaging, it does not compare to the whole classroom experience. While I think that Youtube is a great invention and has changed how we share information, stories, and hundreds of other things, it is used mainly as a medium in which we can interact with each other, not on the levels of Facebook or Twitter, but it allows us to watch a video then leave our thoughts in the comments. It leaves out that classroom experience though that is vital to how we learn.

    I think that Youtube is actually a great way to engage the students in class and is an outstanding teaching tool. Sometimes students are better visual learners than they are auditory learners and Youtube has seemingly endless videos on any topic so in some cases Youtube can seem better than a teacher, but what if the video raises questions? Who would answer them? Are the answers correct that you looked up? With the classroom environment, you can address such issues in a timely manner and it can be beneficial to the class as a whole.

  7. kt_e says:

    This is such an important topic of our generation! It is apparent that technology has made void some objects of the past, but I think that for the protection of jobs, integrity and simply a classic way of doing things, we are holding back our potential.

    Hypothetically speaking, let’s imagine a University of Youtube (but for my sources and experience, imagine a high school with that cool of a name). We pick our courses by subscribing to what we find interesting and better yet, easiest to understand because I think there are too many styles of teaching and learning to randomly pair the two. Studies and any student you can ask will say that the more interesting the class, the better they learn the content. If students were to learn by the awesome videos like the examples you provided, concepts and lessons wouldn’t need the painfully redundant re-teaching that I know all too well from my poorly organized high school classes!

    Think of teaching in this way: take this video about imagining the 10th dimension ( Imagine a teacher teaching this to you.

    I look at these informational videos and think about how they are delivering this information differently than how they would/do in a classroom. First, the illustration, sound effects and delivery are huge. They pair information with memorable cues that will surely fix better in your brain than notes and a lecture. Second, going back to that 10th dimension video, I had to pause and go back a few times to fully grasp the concept, but after understanding each complicated piece, it all made sense. If students could learn this way, at their own pace, education would be eons past where it is now.

    But this is all hypothetical. Unfortunately, we have obligations to mankind and could never take away teaching positions. Instead, teachers should incorporate more of these videos into their class. Like I said before, there are so many styles of learning, so if teachers took this into account and better shaped their curriculum to adhere to these differences, education could at least improve.

  8. tchumphrey says:

    In high school, some of my teachers did in fact use Youtube to help us learn! Most of the time it was my AP Psychology class, in which the videos ranged from educational videos about drugs and brain interactions to videos that were just uploaded by random individuals so we could see how they acted with a certain disorder.

    Even though the first example of videos I gave above seemed more reliable because they were educationally made, that isn’t the case. Most of the time, the educational videos were monotonous and dull and I would always need to re-learn the information from those videos. With the videos that were shown after our teacher taught the information that weren’t educational channels, I always could remember this information. This is because our teacher would go through and teach us, and then give us a visual aid example. So in my opinion, I think any Youtube video can help with education-not only the educational channels.

    I also used and was encouraged to use videos from Youtube for my Calculus class. This ALWAYS helped me majorly. If I wasn’t encouraged to do so, then I probably would have never learned how to do maximization or integrals. My teacher never really gave us a specific channel to learn them from, she just said that there were several good examples. This also backs up my belief that Youtube can help learn even if they aren’t educational channels.

    Of course there are incorrect videos, as they can be put out by just about anyone, but those videos are normally easy to sift out. I think that Youtube is a fantastic aid in education, whether to initially learn information yourself (like you did with the plants) or just to help by adding an example to the information learned from the teacher. If I hadn’t been using Youtube, I honestly may have not even gotten into the Pitt because I wouldn’t have learned as much as I did in my Psych, Calc, and other classes in high school!

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