The advantages of YouTube

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Youtube is valuable aid in the modern classroom. I find it hard to believe that many schools ban it. Basically, it encompasses a world of ideas, presentations, talks, songs,  and films. At a rate of about 600 uploaded videos per minute it is an ever-increasing resource.

Like all aspects of the information explosion it contains a lot of rubbish, and within that rubbish are offensive and disturbing material that we would never want our children to see.

It has though much that can be used by them, shown to them, explored by them.

A few days ago I went into a secondary classroom to meet “The Outsiderz”, a group of 15 year old pupils who see the world in their own way. As I walked in I saw a Youtube video was playing. It was a rapper who was singing about his friend who was in jail and, according to the young man who had put the video on, “had been framed for murder”.

I was there to talk to them about starting a blog for their group. This gave me the ideal opportunity to start. I told them that they could put a YouTube video into their blog. They could talk about it, write about and that others, from across the whole of our global village, could read what they had to say.

The school had taken the brave step of allowing YouTube in and the pupils were able to relate to their interests. The teacher of the class spoke about how good YouTube was. She said that it had a lot of videos that they used for teaching in English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography… the list is almost endless.

Based on this experience I felt that I had to write, yet again, to say that all schools should embrace the resource that is YouTube, but with the warning that it comes with the need to discuss appropriate use with their pupils which schools should be undertaking anyway  as a part of their wider education in the digital age that we now all live in.


About malbell

I am a retired Teaching and Learning Consultant. Previously I was a Primary school headteacher and deputy headteacher. I enjoy reading, doing MOOCs and learning new things.
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5 Responses to The advantages of YouTube

  1. jaysalikin says:

    In my district, YouTube is not “banned”, but it is being filtered because the bandwidth that it is using. We opened it wide to schools this September, but what we found was that at any given moment, you could walk into the library and half of the kids had it open, listening to music or watching the latest trending video. I have spoken to people about possible solutions, and it always comes back to educating the users. I completely agree, however, we have 53 schools. Probably as many teachers are against it as are for it because they see it as a discipline issue. They feel they don’t want to be monitoring what kids are doing all of the time. Educating every single teacher on why they would want it open, then giving them the tools they need to educate the students on how to use it properly is a huge job. Is YouTube a valuable learning tool? You bet! However, it requires good teaching to make that a reality.


  2. KoochClarke says: is BANNED is my school district. However, as students of all ages become more media savvy, a great way to engage them is through mixed-media. I’m realizing that is a tremendous resource in creating mixed-media presentations. Even better,, which I did not know about until doing research for my online Grad. class, is more focused on educational topics.

    I’ve heard tons of negative comments about but had never really used it before. I had never heard of at all until today!! I definitely would like to use both of them in my classroom. I realize that there are individuals out there who would post anything so previewing is definitely a must when using either of these sites. Learning is a much more meaningful experience when students see something first hand rather than just reading about it. When using YouTube in the classroom, that is also an ideal time to teach students to be responsible web users.


  3. Can I just say what a aid to search out somebody who truly is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know the way to deliver an issue to light and make it important. More individuals must learn this and perceive this aspect of the story. I cant believe youre not more widespread because you undoubtedly have the gift.


  4. Theo Kuechel says:

    I am always encouraged when educators recognise the pedagogical value of YouTube. I think, as well as the obvious wealth of educationally valuable resources that can be used in a school curriculum; YouTube offers some very useful tools for content curation and creating and sharing content. The addition of Creative Commons as a license option extends the potential of educational user generated content.

    YouTube is much more than a ‘online video library, the platform is an ecosystem of video tools, including channels, editing, annotation and community services, as you rightly point out in your post, even content which may be considered as not ‘educational’ can be exactly that, when used in the right context.

    I have just presented a joint paper “What are educators
    looking for in an online video service” to the Diverse11 Media and Learning conference, this illustrated findings on how educators are using YouTube. Our paper argued that although there are many other video services, the best of them add value to the online video space, rather than try and compete with YouTube. Good examples include Twig with its a visual mind map metaphor or which uses a wiki to aggregate and add metadata to teacher reviewed video from YouTube and other sites. The scale and traction of YouTube means that to try and “compete”with it is a strategy set up to fail.

    It was also notable that at least two thirds of the papers, (that I attended), were illustrated using YouTube clips.


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