By Jane Nungari Gichuho
YouTube recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. With over 1 billion unique visitors a month, the most surprising viral sensations are located in an unexpected channel: Education. In fact, education videos are viewed twice as often as those found in the Pets & Animals category.
What makes these YouTube educational channels so successful may be the very element of entertainment students may not receive in the classroom. Entertainment is the top priority to keep (viewers’) minds from wandering, and if you’re not getting people engaged, you’re not going to reach a big audience.
YouTube educational content often features a person in front of the camera while others are recorded as procedure e.g. in software training videos. These videos are brimming with personality to convey the information in a humorous, concise manner – better suited to millennial attention spans.
This new generation of online educators succeeds in ways college teachers do not. Most university professors are typically selected for their research output – not their ability to be engaging or even effective conveyors of information. In addition, professors may be more concerned with cramming test material into students’ heads instead of giving them tools to succeed in a self-sufficient way.
Another advantage of a YouTube digital education class, is that it can have more 100, 000 views at a minimum, a size a large lecture hall could never imagine capturing.
The entertainment-engagement appeal may explain the consistent increase in viewership. The quantity of visitors doesn’t just translate into popularity or fame though. It means MONEY.
The larger funding comes from YouTube’s partnership program, which allows content creators to earn 55% of the profit generated by advertisements on their videos. Successful YouTubers often make a sturdy six figures per year – possibly double that of the average high school teacher’s salary.
YouTube has since compiled educational channels into YouTube EDU, which amalgamates the site’s most popular informational videos in a virtually intimate environment. The students can learn on their own time, flexible to their own schedules, with a much vaster network of fellow viewers and teachers to assist their learning.
Educational revolution has in fact been stagnant; students have been taught in groups for centuries. In order to incite a revolution, he says, the key is utilizing the social environment. With social media and the Internet, students are not as afraid to be curious and ask questions. They can search something on Google and get responses immediately; they are not as powerless. They may not have friends who are expert linguists, but there surely are people on Google who are.
What is the value of new media – the Internet? There’s a new toolbox, YouTube and it’s very exciting and vital that we use that for education.