September 24, 2014 by

Where to Find Good Educational Videos

There’s a right and a wrong way to use videos in the classroom. Not all videos are primed for instructional use, and not all instruction lends itself to video. However, pairing a great video with the tools students need to engage with it can lead to a deeper understanding of or alternate perspective on what’s being taught.

Check out the September Education Update article “Showing Videos in the Classroom: What’s the Purpose?” to learn three criteria for selecting an effective video and find tips for helping your students “make the shift from vegging out to tuning in for learning.”Ed Update

Once you have identified the criteria to look for, there are tons of places to find both instructional and supplemental videos on whatever topic you’re teaching. Here are a few websites to get you started:

General Topics

  • Big Think: Search the “Video” tab for thousands of videos from world-renowned experts who explore big ideas related to topics as diverse as neuroscience, creativity, and ethics.
  • Crash Course: This popular YouTube channel, produced by two brothers, teaches concepts in world history, psychology, biology, literature, ecology, chemistry, and U.S. history.
  • edshelf: A directory of educational websites, apps, and programs, edshelf provides a profile for each listing with pros and cons, ratings, and in some cases, teacher reviews. For example, here’s the profile page for YouTube Teachers.
  • MIT Video: Search through 12,000 MIT videos by topic or channel (there are more than 100 channels on robotics, sustainability, engineering, and other subjects).
  • Nobelprize.org: Watch lectures from Nobel Prize winners as well as documentaries and interviews about their lives. Sort easily through top-rated videos, editor’s picks, and other categories.
  • PBS LearningMedia: Browse thousands of videos for preK–12 classrooms that are organized by standards, subjects, and grade levels. Many videos include supplementary materials, such as lesson plans and related documents.
  • Ted-Ed: Build or find lessons on Ted-Ed Originals, Ted Talks, or YouTube videos. Ted-Ed Originals, which are professionally animated and created by teachers, cover topics in almost every subject, including arts, economics, literature, psychology, and teaching.
  • WatchKnowLearn: This website organizes educational videos from the Internet by subject and age.

History/Current Events

  • AdViews: Dive into the past with Duke University’s historical collection of TV commercials from the 1950s to the 1980s.
  • CNN Student News: Keep your classroom informed with this daily 10-minute (commercial-free) news program for middle and high school students. The site recommends previewing each day’s program before showing it to students.
  • C-SPAN Video Library and C-SPAN Classroom: There are endless, fully searchable archives of videos available on these sites, and you can filter by event, person, year, topic, etc.
  • The Living Room Candidate: Maintained by the Museum of the Moving Image, this website features videos of presidential campaign commercials dating back to 1952 and offers CCSS-aligned lesson plans for high school teachers.

Science

  • Bite Sci-zed: Teach students about digestion, motion sickness, and more with these funny, short clips explaining science concepts in a lively and straightforward way.
  • Bozeman Science: Created by high school science teacher Paul Andersen, these videos teach concepts in AP Biology, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, and other subjects. There’s also a video series aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards that covers 8 practices, 7 crosscutting concepts, and 44 disciplinary core ideas.
  • Explore.org: Watch live footage of national parks, nature preserves, and more—and find films on topics such as animal rights, poverty, the environment, and education.
  • National Geographic Kids: Created for kids, these videos tackle topics such as science, weather, animals, and culture.

Art/Making

  • Kennedy Center: Search for theater, musical, and additional performances by artist or genre in the Kennedy Center’s Performance Archive.
  • Make: This collection of how-to videos from Maker Media offers step-by-step instructions for “making” projects in categories such as science, art and design, crafts, and electronics.
  • Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show: This popular web show, produced by 12-year-old Sylvia Todd, features tons of do-it-yourself craft and science projects for kids. Get tips on making sidewalk chalk, squishy circuits, lava lamps, and other quirky projects.

To learn more about how to effectively incorporate videos into your classroom instruction, read “Showing Videos in the Classroom: What’s the Purpose?

Sarah McKibben is the managing editor of ASCD’s member newsletter, Education Update. Prior to joining ASCD, she was an editor for the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Printing Industries of America, where she coauthored the Web-2-Print Primer.