Technology has been increasingly utilized in educational settings, though the degree to which this is true varies widely across the globe and local school districts alike. As teachers begin and continue to use technology to teach their students, YouTube has emerged as a potentially strong learning tool.
Can teachers have YouTube Channels? Though YouTube is still an emerging academic space, teachers and educational institutions have successfully had YouTube channels. Some are used to give other teachers professional development, coaching, classroom management ideas or to give instruction to learning theories, while others can be used directly as an instructive resource.
A variety of benefits have been found when teachers integrate technology into the classroom, evidenced by both research and practical experience.
When used correctly, YouTube channels can be a powerful instructive medium and resource for teachers and students.
Let’s dive in.
Educational YouTube Channels for Teachers and Students
Thankfully, teachers who want to create their own YouTube channel won’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are already a variety of successful educational channels active on the platform.
Some are run by teachers while others were created by educational organizations, and there is even a run few by students.
In the table below, we break down four major educational channels frequently promoted by YouTube.
|Channel Name||Video Subjects Include…||Primary Audience|
|Khan Academy||Math, science and engineering, arts and humanities, and more.||Students|
|TED-Ed||Languages, history, creative writing, science, health, and more.||Students|
|PBS LearningMedia™||PD for teachers, inspiring students, professional development, and more.||Teachers|
|Edutopia||Keeping students engaged, ‘60-Second Strategies,’ intentional teamwork, and more.||Teachers|
Teachers may take the above channels as a model but are encouraged to customize their own content according to the needs of their students and current curriculum.
However, instructors should also be cognizant of national, state, or regional laws or regulations that either include or exclude specific content. Additionally, they should also be aware of applicable acceptable use policies and social media policies.
If multiple teachers have or want to start YouTube channels or the school frequently uses YouTube as an instructional tool, YouTube for Schools is a recommended feature. This is a Google network setting that administrators can use to restrict students and teachers to educational content on YouTube EDU.
Students will only be allowed to watch and search videos either approved by YouTube or their school administrator.
Important YouTube Policies and Regulations for Educators
YouTube is very strict when it comes to content either depicting or promoted towards minors. Their Child Safety Policy prohibits creators from posting content that depicts any of the following involving kids:
- Harmful or dangerous acts
- Infliction of emotional distress
- Misleading family content
- Cyberbullying and harassment
These general guidelines were updated after their initial release, with the goal of “better protect[ing] the family experience,” according to YouTube administrators.
Teachers should be careful about the content they post online. Though they might not knowingly upload videos that violate these guidelines, lessons on sensitive subjects (such as slavery and the holocaust) may accidentally result in their videos being reported, flagged, or even taken down.
In addition to content restrictions, teachers and educational staff members should also be aware that any content they post may be subject to feature restrictions.
Common restrictions on content for minors include disabling:
- Live chats
- Live streaming
- Video recommendations
For teachers whose students are 13 and under— minors as defined by YouTube— it is strongly recommended that they create their channel on the YouTube Kids app.
This app is a child-safe version of the general YouTube app that allows minors and young teens to independently navigate the app and requires minimal adult supervision.
Other Types of Learning Technology in the Classroom
YouTube certainly isn’t the first type of technology to be used in the classroom, and it likely won’t be the last. Other examples of current technology being used to supplement teaching can include:
- Digital field trips
- Gamified learning
- Interactive e-textbooks
- Online classrooms
- Computer activities
A teacher who is able to talk more about these topics on their Youtube channel could be a great resource for other teachers.
For a more in-depth look at remote learning and what technology different countries are utilizing, the World Bank has an ongoing compilation of emerging and established virtual education approaches.
As of July 2020, nearly 100 countries are represented. UNESCO also keeps a record of national learning platforms and tools available.
Is YouTube Used in the Classroom?
The degree to which YouTube is used for independent or classroom learning depends on a number of factors, which may include:
- The individual teacher’s access to and knowledge of YouTube
- Applicable acceptable use policies and social media policies
- Students’ access to electronic devices and the Internet
- The learning method(s) approved and used by the teacher’s school
However, social media use is often strictly regulated and monitored.
Teachers should follow current appropriate use regulations and only post content that is appropriate for the age group they teach.
But as long as these guidelines are strictly followed, YouTube channels can provide an alternate learning environment that improves the educational experience for everyone involved.
Benefits of Integrating YouTube into the Classroom
In a groundbreaking policy paper, “Realizing the Potential of Technology in Education,” the United Kingdom Department of Education found that “technology can help to tackle some of the main challenges faced by the educational sector,” such as:
- Reducing teacher workload
- Increasing efficiency
- Improving accessibility and inclusion
- Supporting excellent teaching
- Improving student outcomes
And a specific case study about using video lessons found that YouTube was more interactive, accessible, convenient, and flexible than traditional learning environments and even other virtual environments such as live Microsoft Teams lessons.
Similarly, the United States Department of Education found that “[when] used to support both teaching and learning,” technology does all of the following and more:
- Accelerates and supports continual learning
- Increases student engagement and motivation
- Builds necessary 21st-century skills
- Expands course offerings and experiences
- Better utilizes teachers’ time and skills
These findings have been supported by research done by organizations like One-to-One Institute, which also prioritized the factors that made technology implementation successful.
From Traditional to Virtual: Different Types of Learning
There are different learning methods and styles depending on the mix or exclusive use of traditional and virtual teaching. Some terms vary across cultures, but the gist of each definition remains the same.
Traditional learning is the original method of teaching students face-to-face in a group setting. In the past, this method involved minimal to no use of technology as a supplemental teaching tool.
On the opposite end of the educational scale is virtual learning. With virtual learning, students learn almost exclusively via technology and online media; traditional instruction may be used in a supplementary manner, but instruction is either largely or wholly done online.
Blended learning is a combination of both teaching methods.
This educational style entails students learning traditionally (i.e., face-to-face in a classroom) as well as via technology and online media. There are different models of blended learning that correspond with the percentage of traditional and virtual learning used by the teacher:
- Rotation Model
- Flex Model
- A La Carte Model
- Virtual Enhanced Model
An increasingly popular teaching method is the flipped classroom approach, which is a substyle of the rotation blended learning model.
Whereas students traditionally learn the bulk of their studies in the classroom and reflect on their lessons individually, later on, the flipped classroom approach calls for students to learn individually via technology and online media either and analyze and apply what they’ve learned during the traditional teaching portion of the class.
Are YouTube Channels Suitable for Teachers?
If teachers adhere to certain guidelines and regulations in order to maintain a safe learning environment, YouTube channels can be a useful educational resource. They provide a more flexible and individualized experience than students may otherwise receive, and are useful as either a supplemental or primary teaching tool.
Teacher YouTube Channels FAQ
Yes, as long as you follow YouTube’s child safety policy but also check your school policy and regional and national laws.
Many teachers and schools have successful YouTube channels. Some are used for professional development, guidance on new pedagogies or to give teachers ideas on how to run their classroom, while others are incorporated into teachers lessons or home learning.
Here are several brilliant YouTube channels for teachers The Khan Academy, Kitchen Pedagogy (Tom Sherrington), Hegarty Maths, TED-Ed and Edutopia.