My friend Rachel and I were talking about our shared love of learning. I said that I watch a lot of video series these days, rather than reading books. She wanted to know names, of course, so this post is pretty much a list. Maybe some of these will interest you too.
The YouTube videos tend to around 3 to 10 minutes per episode and are combinations of light, humorous, entertaining. Although they have a lot to teach, these aren’t the tedious, boring ‘educational’ videos of yore.
My interests run to science, tech, the world around us and the videos below reflect this.
But before the list, here’s a fun musical video from ACapellaScience to whet your appetite — Defining Gravity.
- Lynda.com is a US subscription site with thousands of polished and professional video training courses on computer and business topics, including music, photography and video. I pay an annual sub, but check if your public library or the institution you work for gives you free access. I watch loads of courses on here, but my all-time favourite author is the photography instructor Ben Long. I’d watch anything he publishes. His manner is relaxed and easy. He’s interesting and funny. His courses are completely useful to anyone interested in photography. Courses tend to be between 30 minutes and 90 minutes long, and each is made up of numerous shorter videos.
- I’ve just discovered the Crash Course YouTube channel. Topics include economics, astronomy, anatomy, history, psychology, chemistry, philosophy, physics and possibly others. I’ve watched a couple of episodes and now have a lot of catching up to do.
- Braincraft is written, hosted and produced by Vanessa Hill, an Australian who uses paper cutouts for animation. Her videos are about about psychology, neuroscience & why we act the way we do.
- Gross Science, hosted by Anna Rothschild brings
bizarre stories from the slimy, smelly, creepy world of science.
- Physics Girl:
fun physics videos for every atom and eve, from an MIT physics grad.
- Minute Physics:
cool physics and other sweet science.
is a channel of science and engineering videos featuring experiments, expert interviews, cool demos, and discussions with the public about everything science.
- Periodic Videos:
Your ultimate channel for all things chemistry. A video about each element on the periodic table. And we upload new videos every week about science news, interesting molecules and other stuff from the world of chemistry.Decades ago I completely ‘failed’ chemistry when I was at school. These videos are wonderful. Videos are by Australian Brady Haran and feature the amazing Professor Martin Poliakoff at The University of Nottingham.
- Minute Earth:
Science and stories about our awesome planet! Created by Henry Reich, with Omkar Bhagat, Emily Elert, Alex Reich, Peter Reich, Ever Salazar, and Kate Yoshida.
- Amazing Places: British guy Tom Scott takes us to some very interesting spots. For example: The Second Largest Freezer in Norway, and Why Wuppertal’s Suspended Monorail Wasn’t The Future Of Travel.
- Things You Might Not Know. Another Tom Scott series of interesting stuff. For example: American Alcohol Has To Be Radioactive, Unexploded Bombs off the British Coast: the SS Richard Montgomery, and What Counts as the World’s Largest Clock?
- Objectivity: Brady Haran and Keith Moore delve into the archives of the British Royal Society.
A recent, very pleasing trend, is seeing some of these video makers collaborating, sharing and enhancing topics, joining together to participate in the videos of others. It certainly feels like a very rich and vibrant field.
Note: why have I sometimes specified the nationality of the author or video maker? As someone who doesn’t live in the US, source of so much content, I delight in videos from other countries, especially from Australasia. Also, in a world where there are so many men fronting what we see, I’ve tried to highlight any where women are the primary authors and hosts. What’s missing? Everyone else: people from other countries, other ethnic or cultural groups, people with disabilities, older people.