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New Channels Make “Education” A Fast-Growing Content Category On YouTube

Vlogbrothers Hank Green and John Green and their Nerdfighter friends. Image By BookPeople under Creative Commons

By Wired Academic
Google’s YouTube is continually adjusting its popular video interface, aiming to jump-start 100 new original channels for YouTube into categories like sports, entertainment and education. Interestingly, 10% of the new channels are education-related and YouTube sees it as a growth area.
“Everyone knows that Sal Khan of Khan Academy is a rock star in the world of online video education,” said Annie Baxter, a spokeswoman for YouTube. “But where are the next Sal Khan’s? We thought that by helping fund some new channels by extremely talented educators who, like Sal, are not trained teachers but are really passionate about their areas, we might find the next 10 or 20 Sals.”
She also shares the following statistics about education content on YouTube:
  • It had 22 billion views last year, and views more than doubled on the previous year
  • It’s the third fastest growing category on YouTube
  • 77% of all views of educational content come from outside the U.S.
Baxter tells us a host of new super-talented “teachers” are sharing their expertise with a broader audience. Some of the successful teacher channels on YouTube include:
  • SciShow - SciShow is all about teaching scientific concepts in an accessible and easy-to-understand manner. It will have four weekly episodes through 2012, delivered in short, three-minute segments, as well as longer ten-minute episodes, with up-to-the minute news and interviews on subjects ranging from particle physics to DNA. The first episode is about “non-newtonian fluids,” and the second episode focuses on the Higgs Boson particle and includes interviews with the director general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
About the teacher: Hank Green is a well-known Web entrepreneur and personality. With more than a half-million subscribers, Green is the younger half of the Vlogbrothers (, chief trivia officer of TruthorFail (, founder and CEO of VidCon (, inventor of 2D glasses (, publisher of (, vice president of the Foundation to Decrease World Suck (, owner of the DFTBA Record label ( and a Billboard top ten musician.

  • CrashCourse - A weekly (Thursday) world history program. The first episode tackles the agricultural revolution - they’re doing the whole 15,000 years of human civilization.
About the teacher: John Green is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist Looking for Alaska and the Edgar Award winning Paper Towns. His books have been published in more than 20 languages and have more than a million copies in print. With his brother Hank, John is also one half of the vlogbrothers YouTube channel. Vlogbrothers videos have been watched more than 180 million times and spawned nerdfighteria, a community dedicated to celebrating intellectual engagement and fighting poverty, disease, and other forms of worldsuck.

  • Numberphile - Numberphile is, quite simply, a channel for people who love numbers and want to find out the stories behind them. Numberphile put out their first teaser video on an auspicious date (the last binary date of a generation) - 11.11.11 - and of course, their video was all about the number 11 - and barcodes! They’ve gone on to make videos about 98, 15, 31 … teaching about grafting numbers and hexadecimals and Mersenne Primes in the process.
About the teacher: Brady Haran is a former BBC journalist and current independent filmmaker who is simply crazy about math and science. His first foray into the world of YouTube education was to make a video about every element in the periodic table, an endeavor that garnered him 19 million YouTube views and 63,000 subscribers from around the world. His most-viewed video (about what happens to a cheeseburger in hydrochloric acid) received more than half a million views.

  • DeepSkyVideos - Back in the 1700s, astronomer Charles Messier was hunting for comets … and kept getting frustrated by objects that were NOT comments - so he made a list of them, which became one of the most famous lists of cosmic objects in science. And Brady Haran is on a quest (much like his Periodic Videos quest) to make videos about all 110 Messier Objects.  You can watch his introduction to the project here, and the very first video (about object 1 - crab nebula) here.
About the teacher: Brady Haran - as above.

  • Steve Spangler’s The Spangler Effect (launching Wednesday) - YouTube was only five months old when Spangler first taught viewers how to turn a bottle of Diet Coke and a roll of Mentos into an exploding geyser. According to Steve, ‘The Spangler Effect’ is a name that someone once used to describe the effect that he has on people who experience his unique way of making science fun.

About the teacher: Steve Spangler is the creator of the, and has earned his credentials as an author, science teacher, toy designer, and Emmy award-winning television personality. His science related products are carried by retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart and have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Wired, and Time magazine. Spangler’s weekly Science Mondays segment appears on KUSA-TV in Denver where Spangler has worked as a science education reporter for the past ten years. Steve is currently featured as a regular guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

  • Intelligent Channel - It’s essentially a channel of luminaries from education, art, and culture discussing topical things.The hosts of the shows are actor/comedian Richard Belzer (the actor from Homicide and Law & Order, and Paul Holdengraber of ‘Live from the New York Public Library’ fame.In “Richard Belzer’s Conversation” he’ll interviews interviews actors, comedians, directors, musicians, and writers in revealing and insightful conversations. “The Paul Holdengräber Show will engage award-winning writers and artists about their work and passions. The first programs feature conversations about writing and performing in the face of terror and tragedy. Belzer’s opening guest is comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who discusses the implications of comedy after 9/11  and cataclysmic events more generally. His next guests include Dick Cavett, Ice-T, and Emmy-award winning writer-producer Tom Fontana. On “The Paul Holdengräber Show,” his first guest is Colum McCann, author of  National Book Award-winning novel Let the Great World Spin. Holdengräber’s next guest is Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the Eat Pray Love.



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2012-04-30 16:00