YouTube: a guide to genre part two

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 4:23pm

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In the second installment of this series, I bring to you Youtube’s more studious side. Once written off as a place for the stupid and the silly, Youtube has managed to break this stigma recently with a multitude of educational videos. It is now common for a teacher to pull up a Youtube clip in class to demonstrate an experiment or show footage of an event and, what is more, most members of our generation know that if they are confused about anything, there is probably already a Youtube tutorial on the subject.

Less known, however, is that there is more to be gained by subscribing to a channel that regularly puts out educational videos than simply looking up an individual video.

To begin, let’s look at a grouping of channels which are all affiliated with Youtube vloggers John and Hank Green (collectively known as the Vlogbrothers). These brothers have worked together, along with friends, to produce multiple educational channels; namely: Scishow (and its spin-off channel Scishow Space), CrashCourse, How To Adult, The Brain Scoop, Sexplanations, The Healthcare Triage and Mental Floss.

All these channels feature various hosts and focus on different topics of inquiry. If you are interested in understanding how the government is involved in our Healthcare system, perhaps The Healthcare Triage is the channel for you. Looking for a fun trivia fact? Check out Mental Floss. Interested in archeology or taxidermy? Emily Graslie, the host of The Brain Scoop, is your gal. Your Health Ed class leave you with more questions than answers? Check out Sexplanations.

SciShow is Hank’s pet project. He provides short form videos on topics of inquiry within the sciences. It may be, for example, about a field of scientific study or about a new discovery. CrashCourse is a series of long-form videos in which John chooses a topic of study and treats each video as though teaching a class on the subject. It is an alternative form of learning broad topics with the help of visual aid.

How To Adult is arguably the most useful of these channels for college age viewers. I know that personally the idea of life post-graduation, when I have to be a “grown-up,” is kind of terrifying. I don’t know what a mortgage is or how to pay taxes or balance a checkbook? I don’t know about you, but I never learned that in my classes. This channel, hosted by Emma Mills and T. Michael Martin, has all the answers. Even to the questions you haven’t even thought of yet (for example: How to write a professional thank you note).

Looking to understand complex concepts about the way the world works? The channel Minutephysics, created by Henry Reich, explains the theories of physics through the help of doodles. This channel is the reason I understand Schrödinger's Cat.

Vsauce, created and hosted by Michael Stevens, is what most people think of when they think about science on Youtube. Michael has an instantly recognizable style, and he isn’t afraid to do the math.

Interested in a niche subject like comic book lore? One of my favorite channels is Variant Comics. Hosted by Arris Quinones, this channel outlines the history of different comic characters across the various comic book series in which they appear.

No matter what topic interests you, there is a channel waiting for you with the answers.

Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe and tune in next week for more!