Simple as Hello … Youtube in a Nutshell

ImageWho doesn’t know what Youtube is? Well, since you are asking me so nicely to explain what Youtube is… In a nutshell, Youtube is where you can upload your video for the world to see and where you can watch videos from everybody in the world. You can like or unlike videos, you can comments and have meaningful (or not) conversation with people or argue for hours with idiots. You can make your own video playlist and have your own channel where you upload your video. If you want more information about Youtube (… as if I’m not clear enough), go read this short article written by Barbara J. Feldman which describes a bit more the functionality of Youtube.

Ok… right video… Youtube… .. what’s the link with education?

Really? … Fine.

Youtube can be very educational in any subjects. Sometimes, the students just need to revise a small part of the material covered in the course. If the teacher makes or finds Youtube videos explaining the materials he is covering in his classes, he can give the website links to his students. That way, the students can revise the material at home and be ready for any evaluation.

 What about Youtube IN the classroom?


There are different ways to use Youtube in the classroom.

First obvious reason, showing a video (could be anything, really) to introduce a subject. You can introduce a new theme like music by showing a couples of music videos. You can introduce the theme of movies by showing some trailer movies to your students.

Second obvious reason to use Youtube, to start a discussion. You can take any taboo subject (my preference, because I can make the students debate afterwards), show a video of something that happened recently or you can show some news. The point is, you want to have a discussion with the students, make them think even though they don’t understand every words. The students use some compensation strategies with the visual of the video to fill the blanks of what they don’t understand. Most of the time, with the visual and the sound,they can pretty much figure out what is going on.

Moreover, you can use small quizzes or tests to verify their comprehension of the video.

Quizzes? Tests? That’s boring!


Oh yeah? Then check that out. Tina Barseghian suggested an awesome idea to make a small quizz more interactive. Youtube has now what we call ‘Live annotations’ which means that you can put annotations in the video you are uploading. Those annotations can be comments as well as links to another video. Where am I going with this? You can make an online Youtube adventure. You let the students watch the video and at the end, they have a question and some annotations which suggest them different answers. If they answer correctly, they continue in the adventure. If they don’t, the video gives them more information to make sure they choose the right answer when they will have to answer the question again. This is less boring right? I would use this. I would probably make a whole adventure where they can choose the fate of the main character by clicking on the annotations they prefer.

Want a second interesting way to use Youtube? Watch this.


This guy actually makes a lot of videos to teach English online, then he uses his own videos in his classes and suggests we do the same. In this video, he teaches the grammar rules of regular and irregular verbs. Then, as an example, he raps a song using different verbs both regular and irregular to show their meanings and show the correct and different pronunciation of each verb. This is just an example of what he can do. This guy comes up with a lot of great ideas. He uses internet trends to teach as well. In this video, he used the gangnam style buzz to teach the differences between ‘Do’ and ‘Make’Why would this work with the students? Simple, because it is original, interactive and it would keep them interested.

Here’s my idea that I would try out. I would ask the students to make their own video about whatever (video for a certain project or a certain theme) and I would ask them to upload the video on Youtube. Obviously, I would grade the videos, but I would make it a bit more interactive. I would ask the students to write constructive comments and feedbacks on each video and if everything goes well, there would probably be some kind of interaction or discussion between the students in the comments. That way, they would have to practice their oral speaking and comprehension skills as well as their reading and writing skills.

Youtube cannot be all good …

Of course there are some drawbacks of using Youtube in the classroom. First one that can make you mad even at home: the publicities and advertising at the beginning of the video. Also, you have no control over the video comments from other users that you student have access to.

Surely, your students can get distracted and will start watching other videos. However, than can happen in any situation; for instance, they can start doodling the name of their lover in their agenda while you are explaining something. Of course, your students can stumble upon inappropriate videos. In that case, the best solution is to put a firewall to block those videos.Image

What about cyberbullying? Sure, it can happen too. Students are at risk of being bullied or to bully other kids in their comments or when they are vlogging. However, cyberbullying does not stop there and can happen anywhere on the internet. Do we stop our students to have access to the internet? No. We need to teach them how to use it correctly.

Good explanation Sherlock. Can use give videos to show in my class now? Absolutely!
Pick what you feel comfortable with. Here’s a long list of suggested videos that you can show in your class, not only in English, but in other subject as well.

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