Student Life

The Best Videos for STEM Students

Comments Off on The Best Videos for STEM Students 13 June 2014

YouTube for STEM students

Students are under a lot of pressure.

Get good grades, carpe diem, make a 5-year and a 10-year and a 20-year plan, find the right group of friends, find the right date to homecoming and prom and other extraneous dances, don’t do anything embarrassing in public, figure out what you want to study in college, find the right college, find a way to pay for the right college, take stands for things you believe in, make your family proud, figure out your perspective on things, learn how to drive, join clubs, have a phone that can do all the fancy things required of modern life, get a job to pay for aforementioned phone… and this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

 

See what I mean?

 

So if the big question you’re dealing with lately is HOW DO I FIGURE OUT WHAT I WANT TO STUDY? #AARGH then I’m here to help. Well, sort of.

I can’t decide what path is right for you. Not even your parents can (even though they might try to do it constantly and always DAD CHILLAX I GOT THIS). Only you have the power to make that decision. But there are some very entertaining, very fun ways you can explore ideas/things/concepts that stand out to you and pique your interest.

This series is going to use YouTube to explore what subjects matter to you, and from there, hopefully allow you to answer some important questions like “What am I going to major in?” or “What do I want to do when I grow up?” or “What kind of college should I go to?” or “What am I best at?” or “What matters to me?”

Today’s subjects: STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These 4 subjects are (to borrow a Twitter phrase) trending lately because the world really really needs more people to major in them so we can figure out how to fight global warming, create new technology, deal with a growing population and limited resources, protect ourselves from asteroids, and start colonies on other planets, among other things. So we will be exploring some YouTube channels that are really good at helping you figure out if the STEM lifestyle is right for you. But first, a quick introduction to YouTube (because why not).

 

 

Started in 2005, YouTube has gone on to become the internet’s largest collection of videos about everything. But YouTube’s size and popularity mean that it can be effectively used to help you explore your passions and your interests. So today, let me guide you though some of the best YouTube channels for exploring your interests:

CHANNEL: PBS Ideas Channel
PERFECT IF YOU LOVE: science-fiction, philosophy, gaming, TV, anime, or math

The PBS Ideas Channel is self-described as “a show that examines the connections between pop culture, technology, and art.” Hosted by the fast talking genius Mike Rugnetta, these weekly shows explore topics as school friendly as “Is the discovery of global warming our greatest scientific achievement?” and “Is developing artificial intelligence ethical?” to “Is BMO from Adventure Time expressive of feminism?” and “Is the internet cats?” My favorite of these videos (so far) is “Is YouTube making us smarter?”, which is posted below:

 

 

This video gives you a good taste of why these videos are awesome. Mike starts out with a simple question, and then uses tons of examples from current culture to effectively answer the question. Plus, it totally supports my argument, which is that YouTube is an awesome place to learn. If you like what you see here, I challenge you to flip through their videos and watch as many as you can. See what questions speak to you, and take advantage of the links Mike provides with each of the videos.

CHANNEL: Vihart
PERFECT IF YOU LOVE: math, music theory, origami

Vihart’s YouTube channel is hands-down the most fun I’ve ever had with math. As an English and creative writing major, I fit the “writers are bad at math” stereotype. But when I saw Vihart’s mind-melting video on hexaflexagons, I was immediately hooked. In two 4-minute videos, she creates and explains the most complicated but totally simple shape you’ll ever see, both videos listed below:

 

 

 

And these two videos are not even close to the mathy level of mathiness she achieves in “What was up with Pythagoras?” or “9.999 reasons that .999 = 1.” I swear that even if math has never really excited you in the slightest you will love these videos! Plus, the world needs more mathematicians ASAP so we can do awesome things like go to mars or build a teleporter. Also, in addition to her math-prowess Vihart is an amazing musician and she loves to explore the connection between music and math in several of her videos.

CHANNEL: MinutePhysics
PERFECT IF YOU LOVE: physics, problem solving, engineering

MinutePhysics goes by the motto, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough,” which is a quote from maybe Albert Einstein or maybe Ernest Rutherford. But no matter who said it, MinutePhysics definitely lives it. In their minute(ish) long videos, they conquer some of the biggest questions out there like “What is the universe?” and “How do we see light?” and make their answers easy to understand. If you’ve ever really enjoyed a math or science class and thought, “I could do more of this!” then you need to check these videos out!

 

 

CHANNEL: Vsauce 1, 2, and 3
PERFECT IF YOU LOVE: technology, science, mechanics, gaming, architecture, zoology

Vsauce (the V stands for video) comes in three channels: Vsauce1 covers big questions like “Why do we dream?” or “How big can a human get?”, Vsauce2 hosts several series that take on various topics relating to knowlege, trivia, and technology, and Vsauce3 is all about gaming. These videos are hosted by Michael Stevens, who has a thirst for knowledge larger than anyone in the history of YouTube. Seriously, there is so much going on in these videos I don’t even know what to do other than post some examples:

 

 

So there you have it, four channels that might help you go from STEM curious to full on STEM committed. And if you’ve got other examples of great channels or videos, please let us know! We’ve got a fancy comment section perfect for sharing your internet gems. And please keep a look out every Thursday for new posts for different majors. And while you’re at it,  like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! We post good postings!

And above all, stay curious! The world is way too awesome to be bored.

 

Raul Alvarez is the content manager for College Greenlight. Email him at ralvarez@collegegreenlight.com

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