With the plethora of learning resources online, children and adults are spoilt with choices on the medium that they can learn from. I think YouTube is an excellent platform to find high quality, interesting and educational videos for many subjects if one can resist the temptation not to be distracted by other videos.
As an adult, I have benefitted greatly from YouTube in so many different aspects of my life and I would like to share with you how you can leverage on this incredible resource to help your child become an independent learner. I would also like to warn you about the potential pitfalls of this medium so that you can take precautions and regularly monitor how your child spends his or her time on YouTube.
Tips and Recommendations
Today, I will be sharing with you some insights that I had with my students learning Science through YouTube videos.
|Age of the Students:||8-9 year old (Primary 3)
10-11 year old (Primary 5)
|YouTube Channel:||Peekaboo Kidz|
Personally, as an adult, I find the videos very long-winded and I wish it could go straight to the point. However, for children, I think they are probably at the right pace. The videos with subtitles enable the children to easily create notes of what they had watched, helping them learn the new vocabularies.
This was the notes taken by an 8 going 9 year old child after watching the video entitled “How your muscles grow?” :
Look at the words that the child has picked up from the video, they are at least 3 to 5 grades above what he is learning in school right now.
The next step is to make the child highlight all the unfamiliar words and get him to look up the meaning of the words online. I think the focus is to help the child develop the habit of following up on his own when he does not know the words. As an adult learner, I confess that I am too lazy to do this step most of the time and this is the main reason why I cannot really internalise some books that are beyond my league right now. I wish I had inculcated this habit of creating an index page of all the words that I do not know when I was young. Right now, I am also trying to build this habit along with my students.
I recalled when I proposed this competition to my two students who happened to be siblings, the younger student was apprehensive and pretty certain that his elder brother was going to win. However, it turned out that his elder brother and I thought that he did a better job in summarising and sharing what he learnt from the video.
This was what the older brother who is 10 going to 11 year old shared after watching the video entitled “What if the World lost oxygen for 5 seconds?”:
This activity became a good opportunity to teach the child how to communicate more effectively. He had lumped all his points into one paragraph and as his audience, I could not follow his presentation at all. I reviewed his work and found that there were 7 points in his presentation. This was the main reason why we thought his younger brother’s presentation was better as the audience could easily follow his ideas when he had only 3 distinct points.
I think that imparting the art of communication has not been the emphasis in Singapore’s primary education system. I have only learnt how to communicate better when I was in University. When I contrasted my students who attend international schools to those in the Singapore local schools, I found that those in International schools tend to be more outspoken and comfortable with presenting their work and ideas. I think the teacher to students ratio in the school plays a big part in the disparity. In international schools, the teacher to students ratio tends to be about 1 is to 15 to 20. However, in local schools, the ratio is about 1 is to 30 to 40. Therefore, even if the local schools and the teachers would like to develop the communication skills of each child, they are limited by the time they have for each student.
Therefore, it becomes more pertinent to help our children become more effective communicators at home. As a parent, do you make time for your children everyday to ask and understand what they had learnt in school that day?
I get direct feedback from my student after every lesson by making them write down 3 things that they had learnt in the class. This is also an excellent opportunity for the child to practise his or her communication skills. The best way to capture the progress of the child is to video down each session so that the child can witness how he or she is growing with each practice session.
The learning summaries written by the 2 students had surpassed my expectations. What started out as an idea to help a child remember the video he watched better had taught me so much more about learning how to learn more effectively. Never underestimate what a child can learn at his or her age. I was not prescriptive when I assigned the task to them. I allowed them to choose their own videos relating to science because no one is going to tell them what they should learn as an adult.
While the scope of the videos they had watched went beyond what was taught in school, I think it was an excellent activity for them to explore their interests and let their curiosity shape their learning.
Nevertheless, I have to caution parents that you still have to closely monitor what your child is watching on YouTube because it is so easy to veer off course to seek out more entertaining videos.
Lastly, I will also be sharing the list of SCIENCE YouTube videos that will be categorised according to what your child will learn from Primary 3 to 6 in the Singapore local education system in the next post. Stay Tune!
Further Readings / Resources