Seven different YouTube channels that finesse some learning into your bingeing marathons.
By Uwana Ikaiddi, University of Central Florida
YouTube is commonly thought of as the land of vloggers and cat videos.
While accurate, such a description fails to include the educational channels scattered throughout the platform. Thousands of creators utilize the site to inform their audiences about a range of topics.
And, just because you’re nearing the end of your formal academic career doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Luckily, hundreds of video content makers have supplied enough knowledge for viewers to learn something new about every subject every day.
Here is a list of seven YouTube sites that can teach you more than most of your professors.
1. English – Wisecrack (Thug Notes series)
Remember that infinite list of classic novels you’re supposed to read before you’re 30? Well, Wisecrack’s got your back. Nestle down with the Thug Notes series where the Original Gangster summarizes and analyzes famous novels in plain English.
Wisecrack also takes the time to animate major plot points to keep the video entertaining and easy to remember. So whether you want a quick recap on that book you haven’t read for Literature 101 yet, or you just want to refresh your memory on some of the classics that you read in high school, Thug Notes is always the way to go.
Recommendation: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2. Science – Veritasium
Science often gets a bad reputation for being boring. There’s a lot to learn, and the topics rarely feel relevant to the life of an average person. However, the sentiment probably came from the fact that most science classes have been scrubbed of all the fun.
Veritasium reignites the mystery and excitement of science with his amazingly thought-provoking videos. The channel reminds viewers not to lose that initial curiosity that makes every human an amateur scientist. Simply asking one question can lead to a world of knowledge you’d never thought of before. Want to pique your interest in science? Veritasium is the channel for you.
Recommendation: Can Silence Actually Drive You Crazy?
3. History – Extra Credits (Extra History series)
The worst part about learning history? There’s so much of it! So many events happen on a day-to-day basis that trying to learn about all the things that happened before you were born can seem like a Herculean task.
Extra Credits understands your pain and is trying to make history more enjoyable to learn. The channel’s Extra History series provides animated, in-depth summaries of major historical events and figures. The humorous illustrations paired with the thorough explanations of complex happenings make the series a must-see for History majors and novices alike. Not bad for a channel mostly about video game theory.
Recommendation: World War II
4. Foreign Culture – Gaijin Goomba
Speaking of video games, people often brush them aside as simple distractions meant for children. While that may have been true in the past, games are quickly coming into their own as a form of art. Most notably, video games have been leading the way in societal inclusion and cultural acceptance.
Gaijin Goomba discusses the different cultures depicted in these various electronic experiences as a way to promote understanding and appreciation. Many cultural references go unnoticed by gaming audiences, and Gaijin brings them into the light, even if the subject matter is controversial. He always handles topics with respect, ensuring an enlightening conversation.
Recommendation: Cultural Appropriation in Overwatch
5. Art – Channel Criswell
If there is one thing centers of education have been cutting back on lately, it’s art. In the midst of the science and technology craze, few people are paying attention to the importance art has on multiple aspects of society.
Enter Lewis of Channel Criswell. The YouTube essayist delves into the art forms of multiple types of media, predominantly music and film. But he doesn’t stop at simple reviews; he explores themes, methods and metaphors that facilitate a greater appreciation for whatever subject matter he tackles. In a world starved of art appreciation, Channel Criswell is a breath of fresh air.
Recommendation: Kendrick Lamar – Subverting Identity
6. Political Science – Vox
I get it. Politics is a bit of a tender subject right now. But that doesn’t mean the answer is hiding under a rock until it goes away. A reputable news site in its own right, Vox’s YouTube channel examines specific aspects of political life and presents them in manageable bite-size chunks.
The channel has discussed everything from China’s panda diplomacy to a mathematical algorithm to fight gerrymandering. No matter the political topic you’re wondering about, Vox has probably explained it. The channel has also held interviews with important liberal political figures, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. The channel is a good place to start if you want to join the political conversation but don’t know where to start.
Recommendation: CNN treats politics like sports – and it’s making us all dumber
7. Lunch – Cracked (After Hours series)
Learning is fun and all, but it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. The team at Cracked knows this. That’s why their After Hours series focuses on funnier topics without completely sacrificing critical thinking. Set in a diner, the videos usually take the form of extensive thought experiments dealing with fantasy worlds and scenarios. However, instead of throwing all sense out the window, the cast adheres to the rules set by each imaginary world with ferocious dedication.
The four friends engage in a battle of wits to determine whose hypothetical argument is best. The coolest part? The fact that these thought experiments actually reveal a slew of cultural norms that society perpetuates even though they might not be the best thing when you really think about it.
Recommendation: 4 Movie Curses with Unexpected Upsides
With so much information available in the world, learning has never required this much time before. On the other hand, consuming information has never been this efficient. The internet made acquiring knowledge easier than ever; it’s only logical that people take advantage of this luxury.
So, next time university lectures just aren’t doing it for you, check out one of these channels so you don’t miss your daily dose of education.