Ah, back to school. Early mornings, new haircuts, spiffy clothes, backpacks, and …. Homework! If you saw my piece in the September issue (and here) then you know that I've been looking at a lot of apps (and Web sites) that aim to help kids really get good at their homework. Well, if your kids are like mine, they waste an absurd amount of time laughing at silly cat videos and who knows what else on YouTube so you probably don't think of that site (or it's app) as educational. But it can be. It's just a matter of giving the educational stuff a chance against the pull of those cute, silly cats. I am doing that by getting my kids to install the YouTube app on their tablets and subscribe to CrashCourse, MinutePhysics, SickScience, and the KhanAcademy, some great educational YouTube channels. That way when they go looking for silly cat videos to procrastinate doing homework, they will bump right into teachers who make that homework almost as fun as the kitties. There are quite a few YouTube channels built by teachers trying to take their classes to a bigger audience than a single classroom. In fact, the folks at YouTube recently sent me a great list of teachers who are somewhat lesser-known than the ones I listed above. These teachers offer fun and inspired lessons in everything from Algebra to Art History and physics. So, if your student complains that her math, social studies, science, or English teacher is boring, find her someone entertaining. Just click on the links below (or above) and subscribe to the channels you like. If your student has a tablet or smart phone, encourage her to install the YouTube app and subscribe to a good teacher so she can work on mastering her homework from anywhere. Here is that list of teachers sent to me by the folks at YouTube. But I have lots more educational Web sites and apps left over from that article. So stay tuned for more.
Rob Bob / Tarrou's Chalk Talk
What started off as a way to help his students at St. Pete High School when they were having a hard time, or if they had missed class, has now gone worldwide. Mr. Tarrou of "Tarrou's Chalk Talk" started filming energetic math lessons from his house. Those videos have now been seen in hundreds of countries, hundreds of thousands of times, From New York, to Hungary, to Israel, Rob has over 3,000 subscribers and it is still growing.
Jennifer Recio Lebedev / JenniferESL
Located in Boston, Jennifer is a mother of two, and a former classroom teacher. She has YouTube students from every continent except Antarctica and has even received a marriage proposal from a grateful student. At over 30 million views, she is teaching English to a huge worldwide classroom.
Alex Dainis / Bite Sci-zed
Alex from Mansfield, MA is "a biology nerd, music lover, film geek, and stress baker with an uncontrollable urge to teach you awesome science!" The ideas for her YouTube videos often come from conversations she's having with her friends, like ‘why do we get brain freezes when we eat ice cream too fast and why do we sneeze?’
James Earle / Amor Sciendi
High School teacher James of Southampton, NY describes himself as "a Renaissance nerd with limited mathematic ability, but a love of collaborating with mathematicians." A few of his students from History of Math course encouraged him to start a YouTube channel on art history so he could meet Vi Hart (a famous education YouTuber) one day. His students helped him start the channel and even taught him how to use iMovie.
Keith Hughes / Hughesdv
Keith is a public school teacher in Buffalo, NY, who began using videos in the classroom in 2002 as a way for kids to express meaning in Social Studies. He now has over 100 videos covering topics in U.S. History and Government, Political Science and World History. Christina Tynan-Wood has been covering technology since the dawn of the Internet and currently writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle. You can find more advice about buying and using technology at GeekGirlfriends.com. Follow her on Twittter!