Teachers have been using videos to enhance classroom learning for decades. There’s something special about seeing a lesson come to life on screen that makes it worth remembering. Years after my elementary school days, I still recall the numerous Reading Rainbow, Schoolhouse Rock, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Voyage of the Mimi episodes much more clearly than anything I read in a textbook.

Nowadays, many videos in the classroom come from YouTube, which offers a rich collection of educational content across a wide array of topics. YouTube, of course, also has plenty of unsuitable, non-educational content, which is why a growing number of schools have banned access to the site. Fortunately, in December, Google launched YouTube for Schools, an education-centered alternative to YouTube.

YouTube for Schools allows teachers and administrators to customize the content available to students. Students can only search for videos on the YouTube EDU channel, in addition to the ones their school has posted. Videos on YouTube for Schools don’t show comments or related videos, as a way to eliminate distractions and keep kids focused on the task at hand.

So, how can you incorporate YouTube or YouTube for Schools into your classroom? Here are some ideas from Edudemic:

  • Have students prepare for class by watching an introductory video of a topic, so you can spend class time building on concepts, instead of just lecturing
  • Spark a discussion by showing a video clip of a different perspective or viewpoint
  • Help struggling students by providing them with videos that further explain difficult concepts
  • Quiz students on videos by using a Google Form to embed your quiz on a class site so students can watch the video and take the quiz simultaneously
  • Review for tests by creating a “test review” video with your explanations of concepts

Whether it’s a math problem, a science experiment, an important historical figure or a book, YouTube is a great way to bring lessons to life. But, as LeVar Burton said on Reading Rainbow, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”

How do you use YouTube in your classroom?