The online video and social media behemoth YouTube is not only a repository for millions of free videos, but also the second-most visited website worldwide.
For educators to make the most of YouTube, they first have to screen out content that’s inappropriate—or simply not educational. Then the task becomes finding and curating engaging and relevant educational videos. Fortunately, YouTube learning channels feature thousands of educational (and often fun or quirky) videos on every possible academic subject.
The following safe-viewing tips and best YouTube channels will help teachers take advantage of the fantastic free educational videos YouTube provides.
How to Watch YouTube Videos Safely
- YouTube restricted mode
In restricted mode, YouTube search filters out potentially inappropriate videos and automatically hides comments below videos. Click on your account icon to find the restricted mode toggle setting at the bottom of the menu.
Easily “purify” YouTube videos by entering the video URL, searching directly from Viewpure or using the bookmarklet. Includes a teacher resources center with recommended videos on various topics, organized by grade level.
- Safe Share TV
Create a “SafeView” video simply by entering the video URL of any YouTube or Vimeo video. Then watch videos free of ads and distractions. Includes editing function to trim videos to any length and the ability to share directly to Google Classroom.
It’s quick, easy, and free to use the Quietube bookmarklet to watch Youtube, Viddle, and Vimeo videos without ads and distractions. Note that some videos are restricted to playing only on the original hosting site.
Enter a YouTube video URL in the search box, and VideoLink generates an ad-free, safe URL that can be shared easily via QR code, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social media apps. Includes the ability to quickly edit the title, background color, length, and other features.
The Best YouTube Channels for Teaching
Crash Course offers more than 32 free courses on subjects including literature, philosophy, organic chemistry, world history, biology, theater, and ecology. Each topic comprises dozens of videos, delivered with a breezy tone that nonetheless dig deep into the specifics, whether it’s “How We Make Memories” or “Venice and the Ottoman Empire.”
With nearly four million subscribers, Numberphile is one of the top YouTube math teaching channels. Down-to-earth video journalist Brady Haran can turn any student into a math lover, with hundreds of entertaining and educational videos exploring the scientific way to cut a cake or perplexing paperclips. Great fun.
- The Art Assignment
A fascinating and diverse array of art-related videos—but with an innovative twist. Ever wonder how to make a book with meat, toilet paper, or lottery tickets? Or what a famous artist such as Monet ate? Explore the Art Assignment videos, which offer viewers the chance to respond with their own artistic creations.
- The Brain Scoop
From the Field Museum in Chicago comes this awesome channel for getting learners of any age excited about natural history and science. Dinosaurs, King Tut, and bird vomit are just a few of the many fun and educational topics presented.
With more than six million subscribers, it’s clear that SciShow’s science videos go beyond basics into the realm of the unexpected. Browse videos with curiosity-provoking titles such as “5 Beautifully Complex Ways to Fly,” “Do You Need a Copper Pot?” or “Without Volcanoes, Earth Might be Dead.” Playlists feature topics including COVID-19 updates, historic women in science, the Apollo moon missions, and many other compelling subjects.
Cool STEM videos that will have you wondering what the fatal flaw of math is and what the longest-running evolution experiment tells us. Be sure to check your reasoning skills with the Test Yourself! Playlist, featuring physics and biology experiments.
Super fun and eccentric videos about music and math, with appeal to kids of all ages. Using animated sketches and slightly sardonic narration, Vihart turns math topics such as the many flavors of infinity, visual multiplication, or a Möbius strip into weirdly engaging videos.