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Mr B's guide to the wonderful world of YouTube

As you are probably aware, I'm a little bit of a geek, and as a part of this I spend quite a lot of time on YouTube. In fact, it is one of my favourite forms of procrastination. Now you may well think YouTube is just for music videos, monkeys, ducks and cats, but I hope to change all that...


YouTube as a place for learning

Being a teacher I'm pretty much obliged to suggest this, but seeing you may find YouTube a more entertaining learning environment than the classroom I hope you'll bear with me. There are many many people uploading entertaining and informative videos to YouTube, covering all topics imaginable in a whole range of styles. Here are a few channels I follow that you can use as a starting point.

  • SciShow
    Naturally I am going to start with some science channels. Hank Green of Vlogbrothers fame introduces interesting and unusual science concepts and ideas and keeps us up to date with the latest research news.
  • Minute Physics
    This one is just what it says on the tin: interesting Physics topics explained in roughly a minute. With really cool animated drawings. I think the guy explains things really clearly and succinctly. See also Minute Earth
  • Veritasium
    Derek asks members of the public about common physics misconceptions, and then explains the correct science. He also does some really exciting physics experiments, and poses questions to the audience.
  • Brady Harran creates a large number of educational videos on several channels, including:
    Sixty Symbols - Physics

    Periodic Videos - Chemistry

    Numberphile - Maths

    Computerphile - Computer Science
  • Smarter Every Day
    Join Destin as he explores and explains interesting every day science phenomena. Recent videos include the use of his top range high speed camera.
  • Naked Scientists
    Fear not, these guys are not actually naked, but instead help us undress science. I am particularly fond of the Naked Science Scrapbook which answers really intersting questions.
  • Vihart
    Moving onto mathematics, Vi who is a mathemusician and doodler, makes reveals just how fun and beautiful maths can be. Dont believe me? Check out her doodling in math class videos.
  • CGP Grey
    This guy explains many things including how elections work in the UK and USA, and the history of coffee.
  • Crash Course
    John Green takes us on a whistlestop tour of World History, highlighting some oft negelected perspectives on past events. He then goes on to cover English Literature and US History. Meanwhile, Hank Green teaches us the fundamentals of Biology and Chemistry. Entertaining, irreverent and highly informative.
  • Extra Credits
    These three video game developers talk about import social, economic, moral and artistic issues that relate to the gaming industry. Essential watching if you are interested in the world of video games. More videos on their website. (Seriously, DO take your time to watch them all)
  • Khan Academy
    Here we have a very large number of mini lessons on almost every subject. Most are aimed somewhere between AS Level and first or second year undergrad, but everything is explained clearly and carefully. These videos are great for consolidating something you didn't quite grasp in lessons.
  • TED Talks
    TED have literally thousands of inspirational and insightful talks from the best speakers around, on a whole range of topics, ranging from six minutes to an hour. Have a look at their  playlists if you don't know where to start.
  • The RSA
    Another source of interesting talks, some of which are animated.


YouTube as a community

In recent years a whole bunch of people have started making video blogs - or vlogs - on YouTube, and whilst many are dull and dreary, some are highly entertaining and get watched by thousands of people. An entire community of intelligent and creative people has grown up around some of the more popular vloggers.

Here is a selection of my favourite YouTube personalities.

Explore and have fun...