Print Project Proposal: Analysis of Educational Youtube channels and their impact in classrooms.

After the Edson reading from a couple weeks ago on the Youtube channel Crashcourse and how it had succeeded in making educational content popular and digestible, I was interesting in figuring our just how much this channel and others like it are used by teachers. Back in 2009, Youtube set up Youtube EDU for all it educational content, thus giving teachers an easy place to find lessons on a variety of subjects. This is a good new tool for teachers because young students are willing to engage with a modern medium more readily than traditional teaching methods. I am fairly familiar will channels like Crashcourse, Sci show, and TedED, but I am curious if there are other super popular channels that I have not heard of.

For my print project I would like to look at how much these videos are used by teachers as well as if certain channels are particularly popular. Have these replaced older methods like watching stuff on a VHS/DVD like when I was in high school, or have they actually replaced the teacher. If the latter is true, is the prevalence of these videos actually a good thing? Are there teachers or parents who are more reluctant to use these new tools and what is their reasoning. Is there any evidence that teachers who use Youtube EDU in the classroom get better or worse results when it comes to learning outcomes? Although these videos can be very useful for teachers, is it possible that their overuse could create a uniformity of teaching that might not be positive for students? Also, is there a particular distribution across the country of what schools more commonly use these videos? Do schools in higher income areas with private schools use them, or is it the other way around with teachers that may have fewer resources leaning on Youtube to provide lessons for their students. Another area of this that could be its own study would be how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed things? My expectation would be that with learning going on via zoom, the use of digital content to teach students has become more widespread.

I am not certain how I would conduct the research for this analysis. Looking through news articles on the subject could give a general idea about how these videos are used by teachers. It may also be possible to get information from Youtube itself if they have data about the demographic or geographic data breakdown showing where and when these videos are played. Its also possible that PBS or another of the actual content creators may have more feedback information about the results coming from schools that use the videos that they make.

3 Replies to “Print Project Proposal: Analysis of Educational Youtube channels and their impact in classrooms.”

  1. Hi, John! Your research questions are fantastic! I would be super interested to learn about the demographics of the schools and all the other factors you pointed out. To dig even deeper, you could look at the historical information being presented and assess how in-depth the instructors go into the material. For example, when watching an educational video on The Civil War, do they only discuss basic war moments, like Sherman’s March to the Sea, or do they also discuss important slave rebellions and the social culture of the era? It would also be interesting to examine one class, the videos they watch, the material they learn, and the state exams they have to take. Did the videos cover all the material they needed for the state exams?

  2. Hi John,

    This is a great idea for an area to do digital history research. I think you are drawing out a whole set of really useful and interesting questions about the role of youtube videos in teaching and learning about history and, as you noted, there are a number of ways you could go about working on a research paper on this.

    My sense is there are a few different ways you could go about this. One way to approach this would be to identify popular youtube videos and channels that are focused on producing and sharing videos intended to be used for history education. If you went that route, then it would likely make sense to try and categorize and offer up an overview of the kinds of videos that are being created and the kinds of organizatons and people creating them. You could also then do some outreach with the people behind the videos to see if they could share a bit with you about what they see as the videos that have been the most successful and why. As an example of this kind of research, you might check out Margaret Chimiel’s dissertation on videos that science teachers produce and share on the site TeacherTube ( ). It’s a different subject, but I think the structure and design of the study could work well for informing your project.

    If you wanted to get more at what kinds of videos educators want to use and do use, you likely would want to think about doing some kind of survey of history teachers where you could ask them about how often they use these kinds of videos and what they are looking for in videos. I could see a survey project that might also involve interviews being interesting/useful here. That said, it would also likely be more complex and involved than the kind of project you could do where you would just dive in and do analysis on the videos.

    In any event, I think you are off to a great start with a potential project idea. I think the results of this would likely be of interest to a lot of different history educators and also to cultural memory institutions that want to produce and share videos that are sueful for teaching.

    Best, Trevor

  3. Hi!

    I would look at EdPuzzle to help you with your search! You can narrow the search by subject and grade level and use this website for data to see what videos teachers are using in classrooms and how they are adding questions to it. You can also look at all of the questions as well! Here is the link!

    P.S. It wouldn’t keep me logged in to type a response… weird.

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