Back to Top

YouTube Tips for Teachers

Three young classmates gather around a laptop watching an educational YouTube video.In the late 20th century, the ability to watch hundreds of channels on cable television seemed like an amazing breakthrough. Suddenly, a vast variety of programming became available, just a click of the remote button away. Now we know cable television barely skimmed the surface. It pales in comparison with YouTube, where people upload 500 hours of video every minute.

It’s a wonderland of entertainment and information, as well as a wasteland of dull presentations and misinformation. Sorting through the noise to find worthy content can prove difficult, especially for young people. But for teachers armed with the right knowledge, YouTube offers many benefits for use in the classroom.

Finding that value involves learning the ins and outs of YouTube, especially how and where to find quality content. The Fresno Pacific University online professional development course, YouTube for Teachers, provides educators guidance in this important area. The course also teaches educators how to make high-quality YouTube videos of their own to supplement and support classroom lessons.

Tips for Using YouTube for Teachers

The first thing to understand about Google-owned YouTube is that it allows anyone with a free account to upload a video. Anyone. The number of active daily users on YouTube sits at about 122 million a day and a staggering 2 billion per month. They produce and consume an overwhelming amount of video.

Video content includes music videos clips from the 1980s, cute cats, old movies, makeup tutorials, political rants, ghost videos, standup comedy and a Fisher-Price xylophone version of “Stairway to Heaven.” But the platform also contains videos that educate and inform. In the right hands, it's a powerful tool for learning. But it helps to keep certain tips in mind.

Find the Good Channels

YouTube users create their own channels. Using the general search bar can return all kinds of videos, but looking at and searching within channels yields better results. Examples of some useful, informative and entertaining channels include the American Museum of Natural History, Nat Geo for Kids, NASA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Teach Media Literacy

The process of finding content that is valuable and accurate also offers teachers the chance to teach media literacy, or the ability to discern good information from bad. Students need media literacy now more than ever as they grow up in a world where questionable sources bombard them with information every day.

Use the Best Option to Access a Clip

For class discussion purposes, the best way to show a YouTube clip to students is on a large screen. Teachers can pause, discuss and rewatch important segments, all while bringing in students as part of the discussion. However, if teachers want students to watch a clip as part of a homework assignment or in smaller groups, it’s easy to share a link and allow them to watch on a home computer, tablet or smartphone.

Spark Interest in Literature and Poetry

YouTube also contains videos of authors and poets reading their own work. Hearing someone read their work can prove more impactful than reading it on their own or hearing other students read it in class. The author will bring the right intonation and stress to each line.

Use Documentary Clips

YouTube clips can enhance discussions on historical events. Teachers can mark a clip from a longer documentary for students to view. Reputable news sources often have such documentaries, including the BBC. Teachers also can find them by using the search bar, but that requires sorting through some lesser quality offerings.

Appeal to Visual Learners

Educational videos on YouTube especially appeal to those who learn visually. A video that helps explain complex ideas and theories can reach those who otherwise might not be able to completely understand what they read. They can prove very useful in math, for example, by providing step-by-step instructions for solving equations.

Teachers with access to editing software can also assign students to create videos for YouTube and even create a classroom YouTube channel.

The Fresno Pacific YouTube for Teachers Course

Educators who take the 100% online professional development course YouTube for Teachers learn about all the tips above and more for finding good content to share with students. They also learn how to create compelling content for use in the classroom.

Student outcomes from the course include:

  • Determining potential values of YouTube videos and their appropriate integration with the curriculum
  • Searching and creating video playlists for use alongside the curriculum
  • Developing a teacher or class YouTube channel
  • Creating original educational video content and uploading it to YouTube, as well as critically assessing it and using software tools to improve it

The YouTube for Teachers course allows educators to earn important professional development credits while also learning how to put one of the most powerful online platforms to use for their students. It’s knowledge that can help them engage their students better than ever.