Website review by Common Sense Editor, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2021

YouTube

Massive, essential video site requires teacher support

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 5 reviews
Privacy rating
68%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
8–12
Subjects & Skills
Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

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5 images

Pros: Endless, updated content. Captions and playback adjustments.

Cons: Ads and inappropriate content. Algorithm can lead viewers astray.

Bottom Line: There's no escaping YouTube, and with some curation, tweaking of privacy settings, and media literacy prep, it can provide infinite learning opportunities.

YouTube isn't just a video site; it's the second most popular search engine in the world. This means that everyone -- including students and teachers -- goes to YouTube to get a handle on any topic. It's just a fact of life (as much as it might irk some educators). Of course, one the biggest challenges with YouTube is sorting through the never-ending stream of content -- much of it not necessarily appropriate for classrooms or ideal for learning. One thing teachers can do to make YouTube work better for learning is to curate playlists for students, vetting content ahead of time and saving students from going astray. Host these playlists on a class site. Tech-savvy teachers should also consider creating their own YouTube channel and hosting instructional materials there. This will give students (in their classroom and possibly from all over the world) a place to learn class content wherever they are.

To help students navigate YouTube, teachers will want to do some media literacy work, encouraging students to check sources, verify information, and examine a variety of credible perspectives. Students should also practice active viewing: taking notes, pausing, rewinding, and rewatching videos. Also, make sure to point out the closed-caption and playback speed adjustment features. Finally, teachers and students should dig into Google and YouTube's privacy settings, and perhaps even turn off Watch History to partially escape the algorithm.

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Overall Rating

Engagement

An endless stream of videos enthralls users of all ages, sometimes well past their bedtime. It would be hard to overestimate YouTube's popular appeal.

Pedagogy

Having students take an active role in research may help them learn to investigate their interests. There are often multiple videos on a particular topic, so it's possible for students to find a style that suits them best.

Support

Help videos and FAQ pages are very thorough. However, younger children may still find it difficult to navigate this large, adult-focused site. Users actively network via the site's social media features.


Common Sense reviewer

Community Rating

(See all 5 reviews) (5 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
JESSICA J. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Exciting tool to use, helpful to students, and encourages creativity
I believe that this application can be a valuable teaching tool. Professors have a lot that they can do with it and it is not restrictive by any means. They can turn it into a place for lectures, projects, and discussions. I recommend teachers using this application because there is technically no time limit. Professors are not confined and can encourage students to get creative too. The application also has several resources posted by other users that could provide valuable information to students who ...
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users.
Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information must be shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Users retain ownership of their data.
Processes to access or review user data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Personal information is shared for third-party marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
Personalised advertising is displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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