For those of you that don’t already know, I love watching YouTube videos. In fact, I’m watching a video right now. Well … maybe not “right now” because I don’t know when you’re reading this, but I am watching one as I am writing this, at least … I think …
Anyway, I love watching YouTube videos. Mostly from America, and mostly clips from Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Trever Noah, Seth Meyers and other “Late Night” hosts. But I also love watching some of the YouTube original content like Geek & Sundry, who had better hurry up and release the first episode of Tabletop Season 4 because we’ve been waiting for it for over a year and had seriously better hurry up and make the second season of Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana because you left that on a f*@#ing cliff-hanger thank you very much.
But two of the channels I’ve been watching most come from the delightful minds of John and Hank Green, more commonly known as the VlogBrothers. Oddly enough, a channel I never paid much attention to. But two of the channels I have been watching are Crash Course and SciShow, and these are educational channels that effectively summarise an entire piece of information that one would spend hours looking at in classes or lectures, and brings it down to a digestible chunk of about ten to fifteen minutes. SciShow spends about five minutes on one particular question or recent development in the scientific community (and their forthcoming show SciShow Psychology will follow suit), but the one that has been most of interest to me is Crash Course, which I will just write as CC because I’m very busy and quite frankly don’t have a lot of time. And it’s 3.30 am.
CC is a YouTube channel started by John and Hank in 2011 as part of YouTube’s major $100 million grant programme. They launched with Hank hosting a few shows on science and John on humanities. To date, they have released 17 shows on topics such as US Government, Psychology, Economics and Intellectual Property. But the one that got me hooked was their show hosted by Andre “The Black Nerd” Meadows called “Crash Course Games”. This looks at the whole world of games, from video games to board games to game shows.
I’ve also been watching their Philosophy show, hosted by Hank, which whilst educating the viewer on different areas of philosophy, doesn’t seem to show how to think philosophically. Unlike CC Games, which tells you that this is how X works and how Y does this thing, CC Philosophy says “This is what X, Y and Z said about this thing … do with that information as you will.”
About the only thing that it insists on is that bananas are now and forevermore to be called “chom choms”. Something I thoroughly get behind.
I’m a fervent believer in education for the masses and YouTube has allowed us a great platform to do this when we’re not sharing videos of cats playing the piano and copied music videos. Channels like Crash Course might be just the engine we’ve been looking for to get people educated on important topics. (As an aside, for how the government works in the US, just in time for the upcoming US elections, check out Crash Corse U.S. Government and Politics.) Education across the globe is failing and we’re not doing a whole lot of stuff to make it right. Instead, we’re testing our children until they are violently sick, even at the age of five. And when children fail the tests, we blame the teachers. Even at 16. Or we set minimum scores that are only achievable if you answer every question in a test correctly, then write some more of your own and answer those correctly and staple them onto your test sheet.
Maybe channels like Crash Course are what we’re looking for. Or not. Maybe this thing doesn’t educate us properly. But if we can engage with people on topics like Anatomy, Astronomy and Ecology, maybe it’s a good start.
Images used are copyright to their respective owners. I do not own the copyright of any of these images. Crash Course is produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios. If you want to help Crash Course make great content, please go to http://www.patreon.com/crashcourse.