Note: This post is often updated due to changes that occur in YouTube.
TIPS LAST UPDATED: May 2023
YouTube. As edu creators, we are grateful for the platform where we can share our work, earn from our work, and continue to create! A while back, we wrote a post about tips for viewers using YouTube to watch edu videos. We wanted to update and expand on that based on what we've learned over the years. We try to keep this updated.
1- Captions/subtitles on edu videos are also available in different languages!
You knew that you could click the "CC" button at the bottom to see subtitles! But, did you know that thanks to our amazing subtitle contributors, many of our videos have subtitles in different languages? Check out the screenshot video below for more info about how to see subtitles in different languages!
Important Update: On September 28, 2020, YouTube removed the feature that allows the community to contribute new subtitles. This affects all YouTube channels. However, any previously created subtitles that were published before this date will remain! If you are interested in volunteering to translate our subtitles, please visit here.
2- You can change the font color and background color on YouTube captions!
Are the background of the captions blocking you from being able to see illustrations in the video? Did you know you can change the font color, background color (or make it 100% transparent), and more?! Viewing the screenshot below, click the gear (labeled 1 below) - select subtitles - and then click "options" (labeled 2 below).
3- But also: transcripts!
Maybe you knew that most YouTube edu videos offer captions. But did you know that you can also access the video transcript? Just click the three dots at the bottom right of the video---and then "open transcript." Screenshot below! After opening the transcript, you will see it open at the top right. Click the three buttons next to the word "Transcript" and you can also toggle the timestamps on and off as well PLUS even search for a word within the transcript!
4- Ads on YouTube that you don't want to see?
While you'll find ads on many Google services, including edu YouTube videos, did you know that you (the viewer) can have more control over ads you see? You can update preferences on your Google account: https://adssettings.google.com
5- Time stamped table of contents (now called "chapters")?
Many edu creators create a time stamped hyperlinked table of contents. Sometimes it's in the video details (just click "show more" when reading the video description to see them) or as a pinned comment. The time-stamped table of contents can help you navigate the video easily.
Update: If a video has a table of contents, now it will also immediately show as chapters on the video progress bar!
P.S. Just to add, if you make a YouTube comment that has a time in it (ex. 1:00), it turns it into a hyperlinked time stamp.
6- Too fast? Slow it down!
Sometimes those edu videos may go a little too fast! Did you know you can slow it down? (Or speed it up?) The video speed is an option when you click the gear at the bottom right of a video.
7- Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to stop and skip!
As an educator, Pinky found those keyboard shortcuts so helpful when needing to pause the video to ask questions or skip back or forward. If you're a teacher, you can even consider having a wireless keyboard so that you can control the video in the back of the room and start discussions from anywhere. Edu videos with engaging graphics (in our case, cartoons!) can make great discussion starters.
8- So many ways to share...
It's important to know how to share YouTube videos by using the YouTube link (or using the YouTube embed code, which is enabled on many edu channels)! Most are familiar with YouTube links, but if you want a nice, streamlined look with a YouTube video on your class website or LMS, you may want to look at the YouTube embed feature, which will be available on videos if the channel enabled it. Just click "share" underneath the video, and click on "embed." You can also embed entire playlists so you could embed our entire learning playlist! YouTube embeds still feed from the YouTube channel itself. Need more detailed instructions on how to embed? Check this out from YouTube.
9- Expand those video details---and the pinned comment (if there is one)!
Many viewers may not realize the huge amount of information in a lot of edu video details (video descriptions). By clicking that "show more" underneath the video description, you can expand to see everything the edu creator has placed there. In our videos, we include references, further reading suggestions, our music credit, and additional links about our content.
A pinned comment is a comment that the edu creator has placed at the top of their comments. In many cases, it may be a comment from the edu creator themselves. The comment may have a clarification or important video note.
10-Explore "YouTube Learning Playlists!"
We're so excited to be a part of the beta launch of YouTube Learning Playlists that started in the summer of 2019! There are a lot of YouTube learning playlists that you can explore here, and this is our biology learning playlist. Learning playlists include objectives and a dedicated space without suggested videos.
Thanks for reading our tips! For more info about our videos specifically, check out our videos page.
Also, if you're an educator, we made a video specifically on suggestions for using our videos in biology.
High school or college student? We made a video with study tips when using our videos.
What if my district/campus/institution blocks YouTube?
YouTube is one of the largest global video sharing platforms available, and it offers many educational videos exclusively on its platform. At this time, our licensing is still limited to hosting on YouTube. The main purpose for this is that it helps protect our videos from being uploaded and distributed publicly by other platforms. It also ensures that if we make an edit to the video, it will be reflected since it is ultimately feeding from the channel.
However, district filters can work with YouTube, and this can be a conversation to explore with your district or institution's IT department and leadership about the filtering options that Google (who owns YouTube) provides. Many districts have opened YouTube after learning the many options for filtering. For example, YouTube has a link to share how specific videos or entire channels can be approved on a school network. They also provide a support page on this topic that educators can send to their IT staff. We do want to mention that our channel does have the YouTube embed feature enabled. Not all creators choose to enable this feature, and the ability to embed with the YouTube API embed feature can work with district filtering. Meaning, our YouTube videos can be viewed when embedded on a platform that uses an approved YouTube API embedding (such as Google Slides, Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Edpuzzle [if their embed feature and not upload feature], Nearpod, etc) while a filter is used (after being set up correctly) to block the ability to navigate to YouTube. When using the YouTube embed code, the viewer does not actually have to navigate to YouTube to view the video.
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