For several years, I have been a vocal supportive of the use of YouTube for educational purposes. Simply put, I think YouTube is an amazing resource. It is easy to use, free of cost, and widely accessible. It is a web resource that allows free information sharing; if a person is interested has knowledge or skills to share, he or she can post a video. It’s a resource for people to learn a wide variety of things; a person can learn math problems, learn to play an instrument, take an educational tour through space, or even do yoga in their living room.
In addition to being a great resource for individuals, YouTube is also extremely beneficial when used in the classroom. “One of the obvious benefits of using YouTube in education is that it provides online access to vast quantities of free public video on a broad spectrum of topics” (Snelson, 2011, p. 159). In my opinion, the use of YouTube in the classroom is especially important. It has the potential to equalize education between high-income and low-income school districts. Textbooks and printed materials are expensive, and in a lot of low-income districts their materials are out-of-date. YouTube can be used as an educational tool in the classroom to provide information or lessons that are current and outside the range of material accessible in low-income classrooms. These lessons can be pertinent to student interests and interactive; “educators may create interactive video games, simulations, or tutorials by linking videos together through the Annotations tool on YouTube” (Snelson, 2011, p. 160). As well as teaching lessons and providing an interactive educational platform, YouTube can also be used to promote diversity and an understanding and appreciation for other cultures. YouTube videos are posted every day showing the lives and experiences of users across the globe.
Snelson, C. 2011. YouTube across the Disciplines: A review of the literature. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, (7, 1), p. 159-169.