Photo By: zev
When it comes to YouTube, it’s good to know where to go, otherwise if you trawl aimlessly and hope to get lucky, you could find that you’ve wasted six hours of your life watching conspiracy videos, cats wearing human clothes and footage of people falling over.
Here’s a list of a few of the best channels to go to for informative, learning-based content. Since knowledge is infinite, it’s nowhere near exhaustive, but it’s still a darn good start.
1. Big Think
After an hour or so on Big Think, you’ll feel like a polymath. It’s a channel that specialises in long interviews with leading thinkers and experts, often divided into five and ten minute snippets for each subject – meaning you can jump from ruminations on magic, neuroscience, linguistics and religion, all in a short space of time.
Ted Talks need no introduction. A once secretive conference of industry insiders in the valleys of California, now open to all through the Ted youtube channel. In many ways it’s the polymath model writ large, hour long, in-depth digressions on subjects from reforestation to animal psychology.
10thDim exactly what it sounds like – or what it would sound like if they’d used the entire word. It’s all about the 10th Dimension, a theoretical dimension the existence of which is suggested by some theories of quantum mechanics.
The channel contains endless variations and metaphors for explaining 10th dimensional theories. If that sounds a little one-note, then you haven’t tried to imagine the tenth dimension yet. Here’s a teaser to get you started: in some models of parallel dimension theory, time makes up two of them.
4. Sesame Street
Of course, multidimensional theoretical physics may be too challenging for some people or you are looking for something more child-friendly.In which case colourful puppets singing about the alphabet might be more your level. Plus, if you don’t want to see Feist singing a modified version of ‘1234’ backed by a chorus of singing penguins and chickens, you’re officially dead inside.
‘Fora’ being the plural of ‘forum’, focuses in streaming and uploading content from conferences and forums across the world, unbound by any one subject. As one might expect, a lot of the subject matter is quick moving fields like science, technology and design.
IQSquared’s specialty lies in long-form videos of debates. These are a great learning tool because instead of just having the information presented, you get to see the intelligence at work as great minds thrash out complex issues. Alternatively, you could pick an issue you already have strong opinions on, and spend the debate rooting for your side to win.
7. Authors at Google
One of the signs of being a highly educated genius at cocktail parties and coffee shops is the ability to namedrop authors, their work and their ideas. For most of us, the barrier to doing that is having to read all those books first! The beauty of Authors at Google is that writers and authors get to talk on the subject of their latest works, and then take questions from Google staff, giving a preliminary insight into the ideas behind their books. Not only can you sit in and absorb it, but it also demonstrates how a more Socratic Q & A format is an amazing tool to engage and motivate pupils.
We’ve covered a few here, but the web is full of fountains of e-knowledge. Do you have any favorite tools to assist classroom learning, or channels covering obscure fields that deserve more exposure? Then why not let us know with a comment?
Ed Hitchman is a writer and blogger. He recommends Classroom Carrots.