By Tracey Dowdy
As technology continues to open doors to learning in ways that were unheard of just a few years ago, many educators are changing their pedagogical approach and using the Flipped Learning model of instruction. In a traditional model, the teacher lectures and students take that information and study or practice on their own either through seat work or outside the classroom as homework. In a flipped classroom, the instruction shifts to a learner-centered model, meaning class time is used to explore topics on a deeper level and the teacher creates learning opportunities through collaborative online discussions, digital research, and text readings outside the classroom.
It’s a natural fit. Educators know students look to YouTube for entertainment and a recent survey found that more kids in the U.S. want to be YouTube stars when they grow up than want to go to space.
Flipped Learning is especially valuable in a STEM classroom. Budgetary and time restraints are a challenge, but YouTube has a virtual goldmine of channels hosted by scientists and mathematicians that bring complex and abstract STEM concepts to life. Here are some of the best.
Numberphile is a number-nerd dream come true. Brady Haran – the guy behind projects like periodicvideos and sixty symbols – has created videos about the world of numbers like The Golden Ratio (why it is so irrational), The Scientific Way to Cut a Cake, and an unexpected way to inflate a balloon. Some of the videos are a little silly, some are more serious, but they’re all crammed full of the science of numbers. The whole project is supported by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI).
STEM Education is a Non-Governmental Organization committed to making a difference in the lives of underprivileged children, especially girls who are underrepresented in STEM careers, by empowering them through STEM learning. The videos are informative, practical and demonstrate innovations in robotics, 3-D printing, coding, and other related fields.
VSAUCE is the brainchild of educator, comedian, entertainer and editor, Michael Stevens. His videos are as varied as examining the legendary Stanford Prison Experiment to showing his desk to Mythbuster Adam Savage. His videos are entertaining and fascinating – no matter your child’s interest, they’ll love VSAUCE’s content.
CrashCourse is exactly what the name implies – an accelerated learning experience on a jillion different subjects. With one Brothers Hank and John Green host videos courses on computer science, sociology, film history, mythology, physics, philosophy, games, economics, U.S. government and politics, astronomy, anatomy & physiology, world history, biology, literature, ecology, chemistry, psychology, and U.S. history. Whew. That’s a lot of information!
The SloMo Guys is a science and technology channel hosted by friends Gavin Free and Daniel Gruchy. You may remember their viral video Six Foot Man in a Six Foot Water Balloon which was less science experiment and more fun, but it brought attention to their channel where they film their science experiments in HD using high-speed cinema cameras, and playback the results in slow motion.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.