Over the past couple of years YouTube has experienced a massive boom in high-quality, well-researched educational content. Using YouTube as a supplement to instruction or as part of a flipped classroom has many benefits. Students have been shown to be more engaged and can more easily remember the content being taught. Whether shown in class or linked to in an online learning management system like Canvas, students have the ability to go back and re-watch content, pause, take notes, and learn at their own pace.
Is it legal to show YouTube videos in class? YouTube videos shown in a classroom setting or YouTube videos that are directly linked to in a LMS fall under Fair Use and are protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998). However, you should ensure that the content being shown is in compliance with YouTube’s Terms of Service. Mainly this requires ensuring that the video in question is not a blatant infringement of copyright (ex: a full movie), and you are not downloading the video and re-hosting it, unless you have been given express permission to do so from the copyright holder.
Below are some fantastic educational content providers to get you started with using YouTube in the classroom.
Do you have other educational YouTube channels that you’d like to recommend? Comment below – we love to hear from you!
—Contributed by Michelle McLaughlin, Librarian, Corinth Campus
Art Appreciation and Art History
Amor Sciendi : Amor Sciendi introduces viewers to art history and art appreciation by examining specific works of art including, but not limited to, painting, sculpture, photography, and architecture.
Popular videos include: Girl with a Pearl Earring, Physics of Seduction; The Alhambra, Divine Symmetry; and Prehistoric Cave Art from Font de Gaume Cave.
The Art Assignment : The Art Assignment, produced by PBS Digital Studios, explores art and art history through a modern lens. Videos include museum visits, discussion of art movements, specific artists and/or works, and news about today’s art world. Hosted by curator Sarah Urist Green.
Popular videos include: I Could Do That; The Case for Minimalism; and How to Critique.
PBS Space Time : PBS Space Time explores the outer limits of the universe. Always based in real research, Space Time looks at everything from our closest friends in the sky to speculative sci-fi possibilities. Hosted by astrophysicist Matthew O’Dowd.
Popular videos include: Is Gravity an Illusion?; How the Quantum Eraser Rewrites the Past; and Why Is the Earth Round and the Milky Way Flat?
SciShow Space : SciShow Space is a fascinating look at what lies beyond our atmosphere. Breaking astronomy and space travel news is shown alongside provoking viewer questions and explanations of the history of our universe.
Popular videos include: The First Star-Within-A-Star; The Oort Cloud: Believe It or Not; and The Gamma Ray Burst of 775.
Periodic Videos : Coming to you from the University of Nottingham, Periodic Videos makes learning chemistry fun and explody. There are videos for every element on the periodic table, as well as videos about interesting molecules and chemistry news.
Popular videos include: Cheeseburger In Hydrochloric Acid; Can You Drink Heavy Water?; and Chemistry of Crème Eggs.
Reactions : Reactions exposes the chemistry at work around us all the time. Part of the PBS Digital Studios family and produced by the American Chemical Society.
Popular videos include: The Chemistry of Sriracha: Hot Sauce Science; How Does Adderall™ Work?; and How Can You See an Atom?
Computerphile : Computerphile and its expert hosts present a massive database of MP4’s on just about everything. From programming and networking to neural networks and information theory, Computerphile has got you covered. Interviews and explanations come from some of computer science’s greatest thinkers, including the creator of the C programming language, Brian Kernighan.
Popular videos include: Just How Do Macs and PCs Differ?; Floating Point Numbers; and Hashing Algorithms and Security.
Real Engineering : Real Engineering explains the how and why of some of humanity’s greatest engineering feats in addition to addressing speculative engineering questions and exploring the history of engineering.
Popular videos include: Why the US Military Made GPS Free-To-Use; Stealth – How Does it Work (Northrop B-2 Spirit); and Transistors – The Invention That Changed the World.
MinuteEarth : Created with care, the highly qualified team at MinuteEarth provides viewers with an animated look at the science and stories of our amazing planet.
Popular videos include: Why Do Rivers Curve?; Tidal Locking – Why Do We Only See One Side of the Moon?; and Null Island: The Busiest Place That Doesn’t Exist.
Film & Television Analysis
ScreenPrism : ScreenPrism provides careful in-depth analysis of films and television shows. Topics explored include an anatomy of a scene, symbolism, themes, historical context, deciphering cryptic endings, and character studies.
Popular videos include: Game of Thrones: Rhaegar Targaryen Character Study; “Get Out” Explained: Symbols, Satire & Social Horror; and Who Is Wonder Woman? Her Origins, History & Impact.
Extra Credits : Extra Credits explores the world of game design from all aspects imaginable. For developers and players alike, Extra Credits brings thought-provoking content to this relatively new area of study.
Popular videos include: Making Your First Game: Basics – How To Start Your Game Development; The Blue Shell – Why Mario Kart’s Most Hated Item Exists; and Video Game Music – How to Create a Timeless Theme.
*note, Extra Credits also creates the series “Extra History” with videos on a variety of historical topics.
Geography Now : Geography Now creates videos profiling individual countries. Each video includes information about physical geography, demographics, international relations, and more. Countries are presented in alphabetical order, and at the time of publication, Geography Now just published their video about Italy.
Popular videos include: Geography Now! Denmark; Geography Now! Bangladesh; and Geography Now! Botswana.
Healthcare Triage : At Healthcare Triage everything from healthcare policy, breaking medical research, and viewer questions about health, nutrition, exercise, and medicine are discussed. Appropriate for experts and novices alike!
Popular videos include: Pregnancy Myths; Breakfast. Take it. Or Leave It.; and What We Know About Pot In 2017.
Baz Battles : From Ancient Rome to the Twentieth Century, Baz Battles explores historical battles, tactics, and politics using animated narration.
Popular videos include: First Crusade: Siege of Jerusalem 1099 AD; Alexander the Great: Battle of Gaugamela 331 BC; and The Battle of Teutoburg Forest 9 AD.
Historia Civilis : Focused largely on Ancient Rome, Historia Civilis provides clearly animated and wildly entertaining narrative videos about the politics and military history of the Roman Empire. Occasionally other topics are explored (Sparta, The Crusades, etc.).
Popular videos include: Roman Battle Tactics; The Battle of the Trebia River (218 B.C.E.); and His Year: Julius Caesar (59 B.C.E.).
Military History Visualized : Gorgeously illustrated, highly analytical, and always entertaining, Military History Visualized uses academic sources to bring you videos about logistics, weaponry, tactics, fortifications, and so much more. Covers a wide range of time periods and places, but does have an emphasis on WWII.
Popular videos include: Panzerfaust – How Effective Was It?; Urban Combat – Room Breaching & Clearing – US Army (2011); and [Winter War] Motti Tactics – How the Finns Destroyed Soviet Divisions.
The Great War : The Great War explores World War I in painstaking detail, day by day, from numerous perspectives.
Popular videos include: What Happened After a Trench Was Captured?; Stormtrooper – German Special Forces of WW1; and The Best Sniper of World War 1 – Francis Pegahmaganow.
Languages & Linguistics
Alliterative : Alliterative specializes in videos about etymology, using word origins as a jumping off point for examining history and culture more broadly.
Popular videos include: What’s the Earliest English Word?; Sublime: The Aesthetics & Origins of Romanticism; and Japan: Place Name Connections.
NativLang : From linguistic oddities and logic to sociolinguistics and the history of writing systems, NativLang brings both spoken and written language to life.
Popular videos include: What Montezuma’s Aztec Sounded Like – And How We Know; Kanji Story – How Japan Overloaded Chinese; and Does Time Work Differently in Different Languages? – Hopi Time.
3Blue1Brown : Explanations for difficult mathematical problems using animation. Using a change of perspective challenging material is made much simpler.
Popular videos include: Thinking Visually about Higher Dimensions; Linear Transformations and Matrices; and Music and Measure Theory.
Numberphile : An endless array of videos about numbers. From topology to statistics and everything in between, Numberphile will surprise you with the strange, mysterious, and, yes, even fun world of mathematics.
Popular videos include: Infinity Is Bigger than You Think; Problems With Zero; and Illegal Numbers.
PBS Infinite Series : Hosted by mathematician Kelsey Houston-Edwards, this PBS Digital Studios production provides ambitious content for those seeking a deeper understanding of the world. Emphasis is on higher mathematical concepts, paradoxes, and the use of math in cutting edge technologies.
Popular videos include: The Mathematics of Quantum Computers; How Infinity Explains the Finite; and Voting Systems and the Condorcet Paradox.
Natural History & Museums
Objectivity : Hidden behind archive and museum doors are some of the world’s most fascinating objects. Objectivity brings these items direct to you with fascinating interviews providing historical context.
Popular videos include: Anna Atkins & the World’s First Photo Book; World’s Oldest Science Journal; and Ariel-1 and the Atomic Space Bomb.
TheBrainScoop : TheBrainScoop highlights strange, beautiful, and curious museum collections. Curators are interviewed and seemingly inaccessible collections are brought to life.
Popular videos include: Why Did King Tut Have a Flat Head?; The Human Biology Collection; and The Gem Room.
Academy of Ideas : Academy of Ideas creates clear and concise videos focusing on well-known Western philosophical thinkers and on modern philosophical problems.
Popular videos include: Nietzsche and Psychology: How to Become Who You Are; Introduction to Existentialism; and The Ideas of Socrates.
Wireless Philosophy : Learn about philosophy with professors from MIT, Oxford, Yale, Stanford and more. Wireless Philosophy is an official Khan Academy Partner.
Popular videos include: Fundamentals: Introduction to Critical Thinking; Metaphysics: The Problem of Free Will; and Epistemology: The Problem of Skepticism.
Looking Glass Universe : Using animated white board drawings, Looking Glass Universe focuses largely on presenting simple explanations in the fields of quantum mechanics and mathematics.
Popular videos include: What Is Spin? – Quantum Mechanics; What Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle Actually Means; and What Numbers Exist In the Real World?
MinutePhysics : Simple animated videos explaining physics concepts using everyday examples and the not-so-everyday.
Popular videos include: Immoveable Object vs. Unstoppable Force – Which Wins?; The True Science of Parallel Universes; and Is It Better to Walk or Run In the Rain?
Physics Girl : Physics Girl, from PBS Digital Studios, explores the physics of our everyday lives as well as physics far beyond our planet.
Popular videos include: Are Perpetual Motion Machines Possible?; What Are Antibubbles?; and Special Relativity and the Twin Paradox.
Prehistory & Paleontology
PBS Eons : PBS Eons explores the history of life on Earth. A collaboration with PBS Digital Studios, PBS Eons discusses life from the Archaean Eon to the Ice Age in the Cenozoic Era.
Popular videos include: The Extinction That Never Happened; The Age of Giant Insects; and When Did the First Flower Bloom?
Psychology & Neuroscience
BrainCraft : Another great channel from PBS Digital Studios, BrainCraft covers all aspects of human behavior.
Popular videos include: The Bizarre Ways Your Name Affects Your Behaviour; The Psychology of Accents; and Why Are Some People So Easily Fooled?
SciShow Psych : SciShow Psych provides viewers with engaging and entertaining information about the human brain and our interactions with the world. Both ground-breaking studies and historical psychological concepts in context are discussed.
Popular videos include: Does IQ Really Measure How Smart You Are?; Imposter Syndrome: You’re Doing Better Than You Think; and Are Fandoms Good or Unhealthy Obsessions?
Crash Course : Crash Course is the mother of all educational YouTube channels. A PBS Digital Studios production, to date Crash Course has created lovingly animated videos for the following subject areas:
Anatomy and Physiology; Astronomy; Big History (history of the universe); Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Economics; Ecology; Film: History, Production, and Criticism; Games; Intellectual Property; Literature; Philosophy; Physics; Psychology; Sociology; Study Skills; U.S. Government and Politics; U.S. History; World History; and World Mythology.
Popular videos include: The Agricultural Revolution: Crash Course World History #1; Depressive and Bipolar Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #30; and The Electron: Crash Course Chemistry #5.
It’s Okay to Be Smart : It’s Okay to Be Smart, hosted by biologist Joe Hanson, explores our mind, our world, and our universe through interesting and unusual questions. Part of the PBS Digital Studios family.
Popular videos include: The Science of Snowflakes; The Oldest Living Things In the World; and Why Do We Cook?
Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell : In-depth explanations of scientific phenomena, futurist concepts, and philosophy using beautiful animation.
Popular videos include: Quantum Computers Explained – Limits of Human Technology; The Last Star In the Universe – Red Dwarfs Explained; and The Death of Bees Explained – Parasites, Poison and Humans.
SciShow : SciShow presents content about unexpected, fun, and curious scientific questions. From earth sciences and medicine to computer science and the latest in science news, SciShow is always engaging, informative, and well-researched.
Popular videos include: 5 of the World’s Most Dangerous Chemicals; Why We Haven’t Cured Cancer; and 9 Futuristic Materials.
TED-Ed : TED-Ed videos cover a wide range of topics. All videos are animated and are scripted by educators.
Popular videos include: The Unexpected Math Behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”; How Do Tornadoes Form?; and The Atlantic Slave Trade: What Too Few Textbooks Told You.
“Appendix B: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.” (n.d.) U.S. Copyright Office. Retrieved from: https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92appb.html
“Copyright & fair use: Media in the classroom.” (2017). University of Texas Arlington, UTA Libraries. Retrieved from: http://libguides.uta.edu/copyright/media#YouTube
Fleck, B. K. B., Beckman, L. M., Sterns, J. L., & Hussey, H. D. (2014). YouTube in the classroom: Helpful tips and student perceptions. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 14(3), 21-37. Retrieved from: http://www.uncw.edu/jet/articles/Vol14_3/Fleck.html
“Flipped classroom.” (2017). The University of Texas at Austin, Faculty Innovation Center. Retrieved from: https://facultyinnovate.utexas.edu/flipped-classroom
“More information on fair use.” (2017). U.S. Copyright Office. Retrieved from: https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html
“Terms of service.” (2010). YouTube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms