AlexJ's Computer Science Journal

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Online Education: YouTube Education (again)

I imagined I was going to end this series a while back, but it seems that I keep finding related topics. I already discussed this particular topic before and I am just going to make some amendments.

Recently, I keep running into some amazing science channels on YouTube. And what’s interesting is that these channels form a very tight network. People that run them always refer one another (in the video) on some topics. Google seems to be the one behind this growing network, sponsoring the independent creators.

Take CrashCourse, for example. I really enjoyed the World History and US History and partially followed the Chemistry and Biology series. The channel is run by John and Hank Green, the Vlog Brothers. I also starting watching the vlogbrothers channel, their initial project. It’s interesting to watch because they talk about a lot of different topics and it’s better that a TV news show.

I knew about Hank’s SciShow channel, but recently discovered something made by John: Mental Floss, a list show with interesting facts. Through these channels I got linked by mentions in the video to some others.  For example, GCPGrey, about which I already know, but to others new as well. I can’t remember what was the path to discovering each one, so I’ll just list them.

Veritasium is a physics channel by an Australian name Dererk. It’s full of experiments and explanations. An interesting thing that Derek does is to go outside and talk to ordinary people and discuss physics with them, showing them day-to-day experiments and asking them what they think will happen and then letting them see what actually does happen, and explaining with the answer to why things do that they do.

Another physics channel is MinutePhysics. This show has lessons on simple things like how does a mirror work and what are tides to complicated thinks like the Theory of relativity or what is dark matter. They are rather short so people that have a hard time focusing for longer periods can learn things quickly. A related channel, by the same team, was spun off, focused on things about our planet, called MinuteEarth.

Vsauce is also a science/physics channel ran by a guy named Michael. The videos here add a spark of philosophy on science and very often try to answer questions that can’t be answered or just don’t have an answer that we know of. There are some other related channels, Vsauce2 and Vsauce3, focused on technology and games.

And for those that like math more, alongside ViHart, there is Numberphile. This channel explains numbers and their meaning, mathematical concepts and important mathematical formulas and theorems. There is also a related channel called Computerphile. This channel, explains things related to Computers, IT and the Internet.

All these channels, sooner or later, pointed to one another or you can see people from one channel guest starring in another. I find this very important because this networking helps bring new interesting content on YouTube. And I am proud of Google and YouTube that it promotes these educational programs and helps make the Internet create useful content and not just cat videos.

Here’s a video that made this YouTube network obvious to me (also, interesting concepts to watch)

Some of these channels also have something else in common: they are involved in a project called Subbable. Started by Hank and John, the Vblog brothers, Subbable is a framework for funding the content makers. The channels I talked about are not just 10 minute videos done in 10 minutes. They are videos that needed hours and hours invested by several people. Those people need a way to make a living while creating these videos. So have daytime jobs and do the vidoes as a hobby projects, but most dedicate most of the time for this and they rely on donations from users. Subbable is a donation based system, where viewers of a channel can donate 0 or more dollars to their favorite projects. The content of the channels is, as they say, “free forever”, but donations are needed to keep that up. Nobody is forced to pay, but donations are welcome from anyone that can.

Here is Hank’s introducing Subbable:

I don’t want to end this post without mentioning one more channel recently discovered. Though not referenced by the other ones, it was in a YouTube ad (one that I didn’t mind seeing). I think you all know about TED and all the interesting video presentations. TED recently introduced a program called TED-Ed. Its mission is to bring educators (people that have knowledge worth sharing), alongside video animators and help create educational videos that all the world can see and learn from. This too is in line with the missions of projects like Coursera and Khan Academy and a lot of others.

As you can see, the Internet is serving its purpose, to provide information that is easily distributed to the entire world. But the Internet always needs humans behind it to create the content. The worlds needs people like these to help spread knowledge and make the human race just a little more smart.