YouTube in the classroom

December 31st, 2012 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

YouTube is more than just a collection of cute cat or music video sites. Over the years, it has evolved into a collection of resources that can provide a variety of educational resources for the literacy classroom. With a little bit of exploration, you will find videos that provide real-life examples and context for what you are trying to teach and, yes, sometimes a funny video that you could discuss to take a quick break from the regular, potentially daunting lessons you might need to cover.

YouTube can also be a great aid in developing digital technology skills. Students could use YouTube to develop their online searching skills by looking for specific videos, learning how to set up their own or a class YouTube account and learning how to create playlists with videos they like or would like to save for future reference. This feature is great for class YouTube accounts as it allows instructors to select and save videos they would like students to view.

According to Edudemic, a great playlist includes videos that…

  • hook your students into a lesson

  • provide real-world context for lessons

  • help provide cultural relevance for students

  • provide remediation for concepts not yet mastered

  • provide alternative viewpoints

  • provide visual context (for example, cooking recipes)

  • review previously taught content.

The site also suggests setting up a YouTube center in your classroom where you can divide your class into groups and have them work on an assignment while rotating through different stations. At the YouTube station, students can watch videos to explore and learn something new. Then they can work on activities and assignments at the independent study station or join you at the guided practice station where students can get help from you.

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If you are a bit more adventurous, you can use Jing or Camtasia to create short videos for students and upload the videos to YouTube. Videos explaining the concepts students are struggling with allow them to review the information not only in class, but also at home or in the library. Since videos are archived, new students can be referred to the videos as well, making it easier to focus on other students who need attention. Better yet, students could use Jing to record themselves working on assignments and share the video with the teacher or other students as well!

See How Shauna Hedgepeth Incorporates Jing Into Her Classroom


Instructors can also use YouTube to apply the flipped-classroom approach. According to Wikipedia, Flip teaching (or flipped classroom) is a form of blended learning which encompasses any use of technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing. Flip teaching is most commonly being done with teacher-created videos that students view outside of class time.

See How Greg Green Flipped Clintondale High School


Infographic source

Many students love exploring technology and it won’t be long from the time they see you creating videos until they want to make their own videos. With a simple computer or laptop, a camera, a microphone, and a tablet or smart phone, students can create short videos, edit them and upload them to your class YouTube channel. Wouldn’t that be great?

Let us know if and how you use YouTube in the classroom. We would be happy to feature your experiences, ideas and suggestions on our website.

Join us on January 8, 2013, at 3:30 pm to explore this topic in a Tech Tuesdays webinar.
Visit to register.