Education Eye: Can YouTube generation benefit from online videos?

Catherine Stoker
Catherine Stoker

I had to smile when accompanying a young man from Japan to his sixth form interview at a boarding school this week.

He explained that while at school in Japan and learning English through classes he attended in the evenings, he had worked hard to improve his English pronunciation by watching YouTube clips!

It led to an interesting discussion as to how effective YouTube might be in improving English?

A subsequent brief search into what resources might be out there to support learning makes me think this learning strategy might not be as potty as it first sounds.

Browsing YouTube Education results in a seemingly exhaustive selection of videos on a plethora of topics from every field you can imagine.

From medicine to climate change to teaching yourself to play guitar, it seems it’s possible via YouTube to learn how to do pretty much anything, as well as to find an answer or an opinion on pretty much any question it’s possible to ask. As a research tool, it seems YouTube ticks many boxes.

However, just as with all internet-based research to support learning, I’d say it’s important to check to make sure that the material viewed is from a credible source that can be trusted.

With no quality control or vetting process, it’s important to question the source of all opinions and information and to use a number of sources to get a balanced view.

One YouTube channel I particularly liked was the recently launched Hay Levels.

These are three minute talks or discussions with leading academics across the whole field of education from English, economics, and maths to religion and history.

With new material added every week, the topics are specially targeted at A-level students and aim to inspire enquiring minds or answer key questions from the syllabus through access to the thinking of leading academics of today.

Take a look via the following link https://www.youtube.com/user/HayLevels