If I had to pick one too in this series that every reader has heard of, it would be YouTube.

YouTube Logo

Ready Made Videos

This is probably what most people think of when you talk about using YouTube in the classroom. If you’re teaching a topic, odds are good there’s a video out there on it.

The hard part though it’s finding something good. You could dig through dozens of videos to find one that’ll work in your classroom.

Personally, I don’t like to use videos for active teaching. I don’t like to hand my students over to some random person on the internet. I think one of the worst things I could do is throw up a video that takes most of the class period and takes me out of the loop.

That said, I do like to use videos for supplements. Sometimes a short video can get a tough concept across better than me demonstrating it.

Lab Examples

The first videos I made were for a set of Jeroo labs.

None of the labs were all that difficult. But some students struggled with understanding what the text was asking them to do.

So I went through and screen captured my solutions, without the code visible, and uploaded the videos to YouTube.

Once I had the videos I embedded them into the labs in Canvas. Just doing that cut down the total number of days we spent in Jeroo because everyone knew exactly what they were trying to do.

Making Your Own

A couple years ago I started recording me class demos. It started mostly for students that missed a day. They could go back and see what they missed.

What I found though is that students started watching the videos as reference. If the needed a refresher on something we had talked about, the videos were there for them.

I’ve since started recording pretty much everything. Even short warm ups get recorded and uploaded.

Most videos only get a dozen or so views, but that’s twelve students that went out and solved their problem without having to ask me to do it for them.

Code Tracing

I’ve also recently started creating screen casts using JEliot.

JEliot has had a spot in my classroom for years. But it’s always been a program that students could optionally use to trace through their code. What I found though is that most students wouldn’t use it. When I switched to showing videos of the code running in JEliot, that changed. They’d watch the videos. I guess there’s less of an entry cost since they didn’t have to type in the code themselves.

Feels like this short post didn’t really do justice to what you can do with YouTube in the classroom. So, tell me what I missed. How do you use YouTube in the classroom? Let me know in the comments below.


In this series

As teaching moves beyond the classroom, there are dozens of online tools to use. Here are a few that I use teaching computer science.
CodingBat is a simple, but incredibly useful website for your students to practice coding.
You're probably already using YouTube in the classroom. What are you using it for?
Get your students online and coding without installing an IDE or the JDK


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