Teacher talk: Using YouTube in the classroom

Using YouTube in the Classroom

YouTube can be a valuable tool in the classroom, if used appropriately. Kids today are accustomed to spending countless hours on the Internet gaming with friends, keeping up with social networking sites, and watching the latest viral videos. Over the last five years, children of all ages have become quite familiar with YouTube, which hosts an endless supply of streaming content on nearly any topic one could imagine.


How to Use YouTube

Teachers or parents looking to supplement their young students' appetite for learning can find a wealth of educational videos on YouTube. Simply by entering any topic they are currently teaching, educators can find numerous videos covering the subject. They then have the option of either clicking on the video to immediately play in class or embedding the video on their classroom web site for students to view individually. Another option may be to email the link home for students to watch as homework. I highly recommend completing a search ahead of time and viewing each video prior to showing them to a class full of kids. Thankfully, the site features a teacher channel with age appropriate videos, as well as tutorials on how to integrate them into lessons.

Why Use YouTube in the Classroom?

I have seen education change so much over the past 10 years, and I credit a lot of the change to tools such as YouTube. Since my students are regular users of technology and accustomed to a different level of entertainment than I was as a young student, I find it valuable to spark their interest any chance I can get. Just last week, I was beginning a unit on renewable and non-renewable energy sources in my class. Rather than standing in front of the room lecturing them on the differences of these energy sources, I conducted a search of the topic on YouTube. I was delighted to find not only classic Bill Nye science videos but hundreds of other sources as well. My students found the graphics and animations of the video not only entertaining, but highly informational. I still required my class to take notes, and we followed the video with both a discussion and an activity. There are so many short video clips available at my finger tips to help aid me in my lessons, so why not utilize a fun source that is extremely user friendly, entertaining, and has educational content that supplements my teaching?

About the Author:
Christi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor's degree in elementary education, a master's degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.