Skip to main content

YouTube edu


OK, so I’ll get straight to the point: I don’t see the point of YouTube Education. That may be due to my own context or our way of going about things, but I’ll try to explain where I’m coming from and I’m happy to be proven wrong.

This sums it up for me, it’s the warning you get once signed up:


This statement is spot on, but, if it’s true, then why do we need YouTube Edu? This statement applies to YouTube and the whole entire galactic content of the web, doesn’t it? While we’re at it, it also applies to any educational resource – DVDs, Video, Cassettes, Radio, Pictures, News….

Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that I think YouTube content is great for the classroom. In fact, I use it often. But…

For me, there are a number of issues with this intro. Firstly, teachers have been safety using video in classrooms for years. Secondly, although you get access to all of the educational content on YouTube Edu for free, a) YouTube is free anyway and b) who decides what is educational content. Some examples:

After stealing an idea from good friend and great geographer Alan Parkinson, I’ve been using the clip above for years. Why? To point out the reliability of claims and data.  Can a claim that only sampled 356 women be trusted? This lesson can be applied to data collection, presentation and analysis to great effect.

The clip above is great for exploring industrial change and helping young people to develop a sense of place, then encouraging them to write about it.  I got the idea of using this sort of video from Noel Jenkins, and they are very effective at starting conversations.

The impact of an MEDC volcanic eruption? Would this be seen as educational content by YouTube edu?

The earthquake in New Zealand happening now – pupils could create a narration for example. How quickly can YouTube Edu respond? Although, with this example I am more likely to use sites like the BBC, use radio and other newspaper sites.

Sorry, just had to put this bad boy in here Winking smile Couldn’t find it on YouTube Edu despite it (and another other 6 videos) winning a prize from Google in an educational video competition. (this could be on there, so do feel free to shoot me down if it is or there are plan to include such teacher generated content)

YouTube Edu currently offers this as geographical content:

My point? While I admire Google for trying, the only real people that should be making decisions on what is useful educational content is teachers. Teachers who understand their own educational context, the learning styles of young people and their classroom.

I think that it’s the wrong argument to have, but admit that it is a start.

How do we access YouTube in the classroom (with a classic Muppets tune):

photo (67)

That and having persuasive, learning focuses conversations with the right people to move toward unblocking or filtered access.  From the short experience on the mobile device adventure, we’ve found that young people on the whole can be trusted. It’s the staff you have to worry about….

This post is based upon a quick exploration of YouTube Edu and I know that content and features will be added. However, YouTube is an excellent resource for teachers, YouTube Edu?……..

What we need? Teachers to be trusted to identify and use useful content available on the internet.


  1. Thanks for this timely post David. It is a valuable contribution to a much needed debate on YouTube Edu/Schools debate because draw out the fact that it is context not content that determines the value of a video resource for learning, not a preconceived curriculum/age/grade slot.

    This 'content driven' focus of YouTube Edu has value just as Khan Academy has value in an ecosystem of digital content for learning; but it is only a small subset of the real value we could gain from using video.

    Having now read literally hundreds of tweets and posts on YouTube for schools I feel that the hype of 'free' 'opening' '21c Hub' are misleading when they are really describing a filtered service. YouTube has much more to offer.

  2. Thank you David for the post. I really appreciate your point of view.
    We should not trust YouTube Edu or whatever else as "the true". We should think carefully before to demand to others our responsibilities as teachers.

    As you already demonstrated with the amazing video from Danny Macaskill, it's not all about the video itself but what you can see and let your student see from it.

    Geography is all about points of view right?
    Thank you for sharing yours

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Since writing this post, I have learned that an administrator can add clips to a playlist. I still don;t think that's enough at the moment though because that either means having to convince the admin that your clip is useful, or adds an extra layer of faff into the planning process. If you have to add to a playlist at home, why not just download the clip at home?

    Best wishes



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

#GAConf22: A paradigm shift for anti-racist, decolonised teaching and inclusion

 " You can't start a fire,  You can't start a fire without a spark" Bruce Springsteen.  Well, it's been a fair while since I felt the motivation or the need to blog. Whilst not a story for now, over the past five years I've danced along the knife edge and, often, the call of the abyss has been both tempting and compelling. Certainly, my failing in both my personal and professional life have been numerous. But. This is not about me, but the people that have (re)ignited the spark to the fire in my soul. I realise that this is from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle class male view. I even have a beard. I am scared of getting it wrong on this topic. Teach me if I am wrong, it is from the position of a learner. I was looking forward to the GA Conference this year, the first face to face since 2019. I have to say that Alan , as president, and the Geographical Association's team did a fantastic job at being inclusive. The hybrid format allowed peopl

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five. Emotional Connected Demanding Reflective Collaborative As always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain) 1. Emotional I can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound

Trust and support our school leaders, the role of the governing body in the Covid times

One of the roles that I love is being the Chair of a Governing Body.  The aim of this post is to share what we are doing, as a Board, during these difficult time.  I will refrain from commenting on the role of the Government, DfE and local authority as I intend for this to be both a positive and useful post. What is clear is that governing bodies have a crucial part to play. I am grateful both to the brilliant Clerk and the National Governance Association whose Covid advice pages are fantastic. Firstly; from the outset, the brilliant leadership team that I work with have my unwavering and public support. Regardless. As this is a fast evolving crisis, often with pages of advice, guideline and directives to decipher and digest on a daily basis. As such, the role of governing bodies is twofold: 1.  to prioritise the providing of support to the Headteacher and all colleagues in the school, and 2. to allow them to get on with operational matters and decision making. The role of