YouTube has to do with clips of felines doing amusing things and kids playing computer game while they discuss it. At least that’s what we grownups may believe the Google-owned video platform is everything about. But the more youthful generation – the Gen Zs and the Gen Alphas – believe various.
We talked to a group of kids and teens aged in between 10 and 18, from Berlin to São Paul, and what we discovered was that they are utilizing YouTube for even more than simply home entertainment. As moms and dads all over will be thrilled to hear, they’re likewise utilizing it for education.
Gen Z is the very first digitally native generation, and the very first generation for whom YouTube is the most popular social networks platform. And, while video is ending up being more appealing throughout age, it’s a specific draw for the more youthful generations of web users.
Opening up the Classroom
It’s not, then, unexpected that this generation has actually browsed the web to find out. The web has actually altered every element of our lives and education is no exception.
Where when teaching occurred in class and university lecture theatres or night schools, you can now learn more about anything you like online, just by looking for it. And, with COVID-19 requiring the closure of schools and colleges in nations all over the world, the shift from class to online knowing has actually been sped up.
Whether it’s a complimentary university module on biology, a course on UX style, or how to repair a bike leak, bring back an old couch or bake an actually great sourdough, you can discover it on the internet. As long as you have a method to link to the web, be it quick 5G or easygoing 3G, you have access to info about almost anything.
However, it’s not just the apparent platforms – the online training service providers, range discovering websites – and so on, where you can get your education, as the more youthful generation is showing. And, having access to all this info is secondary to what we make with it. That is the most substantial shift – not in the platform or format, however rather in mindsets.
This is a generation that actively tries to find info online rather of simply consuming it. For Gen Z and Gen Alpha, it is a virtual area for knowing, and it’s a kind of discovering that’s enjoyable, interactive, ingenious and engaging.
Welcome to the School of YouTube
When we asked our young interviewees about their relationship to social networks and YouTube in specific, we discovered that they do invest a great deal of their time enjoying video gaming videos (consisting of enjoying videos of other individuals video gaming). But the huge surprise was that each of them stated they had actually found out something on YouTube, whether it was an ability, a brand-new craft or a complex scholastic theory.
They are drawn to YouTube since it covers every subject possible. If they have a burning concern – why the ocean has tides, for instance, or how to win at chess – they’ll discover the response on YouTube.
If they have a specific interest, from wildlife preservation to cooking, they’ll discover unlimited info about it on YouTube. Whatever they would like to know, whatever they’re curious about, it will be covered in a tutorial or TED Talk.
The Socially Savvy Generation
At the very same time, it’s clear that these kids and teenagers are not ignorant about YouTube. They are totally conscious that it has unfavorable sides. They understand that excessive time invested in it and it can end up being addicting which often the remark areas can be bullying, harmful locations to be. These youths are clever and they have the capability to acknowledge and evaluate what’s great and bad about the web.
Yes, they have actually found out to browse the web’s peaks and mistakes so that they can be captivated whenever they like. But they are likewise skilled in utilizing it as a tool and a source of unlimited – and immediate – understanding. Thanks to the web, they don’t need to count on their instructors or moms and dads to answer their questions. They can find them out for them themselves. And, crucially, the school of YouTube gives this generation what the physical classroom never really could: the chance to play and learn at precisely the same time.
What also became clear from our research was that, even though they might never have known a world without the internet, this generation doesn’t take it for granted or waste its potential. They are keen to interact with it and use it to the full.
Democracy at Work
Our interviewees told us that another reason they are attracted to YouTube is that it feels more real and more “unedited” than other media platforms such as Netflix or Instagram. This is true not just of the entertainment on offer but also of the educational side of YouTube.
They told us that learning feels more democratic and personal on YouTube because instead of fusty old instructors and professors, they are learning from peers, charismatic free-thinkers and influential YouTubers. And they like the fact that they can interact and join in, rather than be talked at and dictated to.
The internet has democratised everything, from music-making to fame. It has made it possible to produce music in your bedroom and distribute it to a global audience, and it has made celebrities of ordinary people who happen to have actually a knack for social media and a big Instagram following. This generation has been brought up with a DIY attitude to everything, so it follows that this is true of learning, too.
So, far from worrying that social media and the web is producing a generation who are unable to think for themselves, or who are slaves to media consumption, our resting ability as adults assured that the contrary appears to be true.
The web is helping young individuals to grow up with independent minds when it comes to education, and they are much more willing to approach it with a ‘why not?’ mindset than we ever were.