PBS: ‘YouTube Is Making Everyone Smarter’

By Megan O'Neill 

“Here’s an idea: YouTube is making everyone smarter!”  So says Mike Rugnetta in the the latest video uploaded to PBS’s Idea Channel on YouTube.  In the video, Rugnetta delves into education on YouTube and how the online video site has opened doors for us to learn anything about pretty much any subject there is to learn about—not just makeup and Minecraft, but math, physics, music, electrical engineering and more.

A year ago, I wrote a post about how you can audit courses from Harvard, Yale, MIT and more on YouTube EDU, YouTube’s Education channel.  Rugnetta takes a look at this, as well as some of the top educational YouTube channels that are making learning fun and bringing knowledge into our living rooms in bite-sized online video form.

Rugnetta explains that one of the biggest problems with education is engagement.  Sitting in a classroom and listening to a professor drone on and on can be, well…let’s just say less than exciting.  But, Rugnetta says, “There is a whole cabal of YouTubers whose videos, let alone their ideas about education, are downright inspiring.”  From Vsauce to Brady Haran’s Numberphile, MinutePhysics, Veritasium, the Sci Show and more, educators, experts and enthusiasts are now making fun, engaging videos specifically for YouTube and they are being viewed by millions of people.  “Because of these videos, people are genuinely excited about, and engaged with, physics, chemistry, math, history and even critical theory.”

What’s great about YouTube is that it gives people the chance to learn about the specific things they want to learn about, when they want to learn about them.  Rugnetta says, “If you learn differently, or just want to learn something that’s not taught anywhere nearby, chances are there’s a person making videos just for you.  And if there isn’t, well then there is a whole world of people waiting for you to make your first video.”

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video expert here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.