This article is a follow up to our other articles listing educational YouTube resources. Check those out at the links below:
- Educational YouTube resources for better learning
- More educational YouTube resources for expanded learning
Those provide extensive resources and reviews of some great free content you can find on YouTube that is educational and fun!
Below we’re going to expand our list of educational YouTube resources by delving into the channels that may be best suited for older learners.
Educational YouTube channels for an expanded mind
Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics) – this is a YouTube channel that uses the learning ability of illustration to explain university-level topics. However, they’re not all extremely complicated, and some younger kids may also like this channel. Also, not all are animated, but that doesn’t mean they lose their power of interest!
Wendover Productions – a great channel getting popular by explaining in a detailed way, with animation, the ‘why’ of life’s hassles and questions. For example, why is flying so expensive? When you find out what goes into a plane ticket, you may not hate airlines so much anymore! But there are also fun topics like, “Which way should toilet paper face?” and how to keep time on Mars. Great for creating a well-rounded mind that is aware of how our practical universe works.
The Infographics Show – while not all topics on this show are only for older learners, the YouTube channel does present some mature content that teens may be curious about, but too afraid to ask. Parents do check them out before suggesting to your kids!
The School of Life – all about philosophical subjects on life in general. They present animated and narrated videos on subjects about human emotions, human motives, and all things ‘human nature.’ These are not necessarily fact-based, but more a form of exploratory thought.
Big Think – we almost would have put this in the ‘science’ section below, but technically the channel covers other subjects, such as philosophy. Big Think brings together ‘big minds’ that give talking-head lectures in short, edited format. Here you’ll find ideas spoken by the engaging scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson and again, Bill Nye (of course!), among others.
Vlogbrothers – this is a more ‘vlog’ style video series, as the name suggests. However, the creators, brothers John and Hank Green, use their fame to educate their followers on important current issues. They also explore thought-provoking topics of epiphanies they have had during their week. Given the ‘smart-ness’ of their brains put together, there is no shortage of knowledge to be gleaned from their conversations to one another. And yes, this is the famous John Green who wrote the popular teen novels, ‘Paper Towns’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, both of which have become theatre-hitting films.
And, by the way, this duo is also a successful YouTube channel generating factory. They are the minds behind Sci Show, Crash Course, and other niche channels such as 100days (coming up) and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (a fun mini series for any Jane Austen literature fan). And that’s just touching the surface of their accomplishments.
How to Adult – a great channel for learning very practical life skills and knowledge. For example, should you rent or buy? And just how do you manage finances? Or get a job? Although the channel has announced it’s ending, it’s still a great resource available online for, you guessed it, how to adult.
Nerdwriter1 – also an exploratory thought type of channel, this presenter uses essay-style scripts in voiceover format with great visuals to raise questions. The topics range across the board of what could count as a ‘thing’ to think about. The interesting factor here is the way in which the writer presents his ideas of thought, the structure of the thought and the things in life he notices. It may be the way that Donald Trump answers a question. Or it may be on the way that another YouTuber has revolutionized vlogging and filmography style. Or an observation about a movie. In short, nothing goes unnoticed in this detailed analysis of ‘anything.’ And teaching young minds to think this way, and then articulate it, or even just to absorb the thoughts is what is so interesting.
PBS Idea Channel – another channel where the focus may not be clear, but the presentation and articulation of ideas is what matters the most. Topics could be about copyright, or bias in algorithms. The aim seems to be more on dialogue than on sticking to a single subject.
Science YouTube channels for older learners
Business Insider Science – from climate change, to drug effects and the planet Mars, this channel explains a myriad of current and popular science subjects with video. And sometimes, science celebrities are featured on the channel, like Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins.
Scientific American – this is the official YouTube channel of the Scientific American magazine. Here you’ll find all things science, answering questions on topics from gravitational waves to how dogs understand us.
Conservation Strategy Fund – this is the type of channel you’d want to bookmark for when you have a research paper due on forestry or conservation policy topics, and need an easier way to digest the science of it all. Or, if you’re just interested in how policy affects our use of energy and resources.
Alex Dainis – made by a genetics grad student, this channel is a vlog-style YouTube channel that covers science topics. Great for high schoolers or university students trying to get a grasp on some class subjects.
Healthcare Triage – this channel may also be of great interest to parents. It’s a ‘talking head’ video style series on subjects related to current health news. The presenter is a doctor who also is a published writer. Any kids interested in medicinal sciences may like what he has to say.
DNews Plus – we’ve mentioned DNews in our first article on educational YouTube resources. Since then, the network has started a channel where a presenter delves deeper into a subject matter over a series of videos. The style is more like a podcast, with an unstructured script. However, it presents ideas and research on a scientific subject from different aspects. For
Thebrainscoop – although this channel’s presenter was mentioned before in our article on ‘more’ YouTube learning channels, the channel itself that brought her to fame was not. This one has been slightly controversial because of the graphic nature of the videos it presents. Therefore, we thought to include it in the list for older learners here. The interesting thing about this channel is that the presenter, Emilie, is passionate about taxidermy and natural history research in museums. She, along with her museum co-hosts aim to ‘normalize’ things like bugs and the dissection of animals in a scientific way, which is what any high schooler would need to do in a biology class anyway. Her motivation for the advancement and education of the field is evident, especially where females are involved (but not only females!).
Stated Clearly – while this channel could theoretically be used to show to younger learners, its topics may require a background understanding of high-school level (or higher) science. A strong proponent of evolutionary theory and the science behind it, these animated videos answer questions relating to DNA, biology, natural history, and so on.
We’ve got more YouTube resources!
It seems the search for quality educational content on YouTube is expanding and never ending. Stay tuned for next week when we list more educational YouTube channels, including current affairs channels for the new generation, engineering channels, and psychology learning channels.