Why Teachers Need To Use YouTube More
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Student Life

Why Teachers Need To Use YouTube More

And how I became interested in learning after reading John Green.

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Why Teachers Need To Use YouTube More
Anisha Tyagi

Like many teenage girls, I was sucked into John Green's young adult fiction. But that somehow introduced me to the educational side of YouTube. Vsauce, Scishow, Vi Hart, and Khan Academy are all creatively produced educational channels, mixing philosophy with science and math, teaching concepts from English literature to physics and, in the span of a few months, I went from student to learner. If educators integrate Internet educational resources into their lesson plans, I won't be the only student reaping these benefits.

I grew up a teacher's pet. I studied subjects, took tests and did my best not because I wanted to learn how the world worked, but because I liked gold stars on my homework assignments. Education shouldn't only make us literate, it should also engage us and inspire us to keep learning throughout our lives. Ken Robinson points out in his TED Talk that this just isn't the reality of today's education system. We can't expel the factory-model out of our schools just yet, but we can make it more effective, efficient and entertaining with the Internet. I am a living example of how educational YouTube and Khan Academy made me a better student than my teachers were ever able to make me.

Some of us are lucky enough to have incredible teachers. They keep the class engaged, they make us ask questions and they connect their subject to others. The unfortunate reality is that these teachers are rare and, in a system where they are overworked and underpaid, talented teachers are running away from the profession. I bet you can count on one hand how many great teachers you've had in your life. It is also no rumor that having a better teacher makes students more willing to pursue certain careers. Boring physics teachers means fewer physicists. Poor math curriculum begets fewer engineers.

The Internet can change that. While traditional math curriculum won't teach you topics like countable and uncountable infinity until college, I can watch a Vi Hart video about it and try to understand it, sparking my interest in mathematics (which, trust me, has never been ignited before). Textbooks can be entertaining, but none can be as entertaining Vsauce videos that try to answer "What If The Moon Was A Disco Ball." In a fast-paced Indian chemistry classroom, I taught myself the topics on Khan Academy, the best example of student-catered educational software. In a study funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 32 percent of students liked math more after they had used Khan Academy. Show these kids a Vi Hart or Numberphilia video, and I'm sure the percentage would be higher. There is no denying the effectiveness of using cat videos to engage today's students into learning computer science.

Curiosity isn't just a quality of a few special kids. Every child wants to learn and they love having their minds blown about new discoveries. The problem is that teachers are disconnected to this reality, and students find more interest in cool Vine videos. Teachers are not fully to blame; they are humans with limitations and they cannot possibly make sure every student understands the topics and each one is engaged. Crash Course and Khan Academy cannot replace teachers in schools, at least not yet, but they should be a large part of the classroom experience.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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