Publish at March 02 2022 Updated April 29 2022

These teachers who have embraced YouTube

A popular approach increasingly used with the pandemic

Since 2009, YouTube has established itself as the king of video-centric social networking platforms. Of course, other sites have tried to replicate the success of the former without ever coming close to the giant bought by Google.

YouTube, however, no longer has the aura of the past. Especially for content creators who have to comply with increasingly arduous conditions in order to get monetization. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most visited sites in the world to access video on demand.

As a result, there is everything on the platform. From clips of people missing out to academic lectures and popularizers in all fields. This more educational aspect, by the way, attracted many teachers especially during the health crisis and subsequent lockdowns.

The breakers

Many years before Sars-Cov-2, a few teachers already had their place on the platform.

  • One of the best known is undoubtedly Laurent Turcot, a history professor at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières and his channel "L'histoire nous dira". What will motivate him to get into YouTube will be his participation as a historical advisor for the video game Assassin's Creed Unity set during the French Revolution. He realized that his passion for history was not only for academic purposes. So in late 2017 he embarks on this adventure that is meant to be like a marathon. It will require him to build a style, improve his technique, etc.

    Since then, he has developed an audience of more than 240,000 subscribers and 14 million views, 2 of which were only on his video explaining the French Revolution.

  • For her part, Sophie Guichard started even earlier, inspired by the Khan Academy. Already in 2012, she was setting up "Mathenvideo" on the site. Her idea was to provide a channel where she would show various parts of mathematics to her students whether it be about functions, complex equations, fractions, etc. Her videos usually consist of her hand solving different problems on a virtual board. A support to his classes that has taken a whole new twist with the pandemic. Suddenly, the work of the previous 8 years was going to be used more.

    Not to mention all the success coming from all corners of the French-speaking world needing to revise or understand elements of this science.

  • For her part, Katia Nugnes has been offering with "Bien écrire" since 2015 a French help for struggling students.

    The 60,000 subscribers to her channel get about 4 videos a month covering topics like conjugation, agreement, literature, etc. Her thousands of views, she explains, are because she often records herself after effectively conveying a concept to her students.

    At once, she embarked on a similar online sharing, hoping to create the same feeling in other learners and internet users in general. In fact, the kids in her class are pretty impressed with the numbers achieved on each new creation.

Some of the breakers have also put even more of their time and creativity into making instructional videos.

  • Master Lucas is aimed at 5 to 11 year olds and talks as much about math as French and science. All with videos using archival footage and mostly animation. The 2017 creation belongs to two cousins from Alsace who decided to offer a platform with educational resources and videos (this time on DailyMotion) for homework help.

    A success that has seen a phenomenal boom with the pandemic. At times, they tallied more than 50,000 views on videos in just one day.

The pandemic as a trigger

Obviously, the health situation has had an effect on the teaching presence on YouTube and elsewhere. While initially a few somewhat technophile enthusiasts had taken to the platform, the pandemic made this type of initiative even more relevant. The confinements forced parents and teachers to use the Internet to impart knowledge.

  • "The Mistress Goes Live" is among the early successes of this period. The series starring Marie-Solène Letoqueux was a hit as ever on YouTube. Encouraged and supported by her husband Ronan, a former video game youtuber who had set up his own production company, she did many live shows, initially for her group but which reached connection records. The equivalent of 400 kindergarten classes connected during some episodes. She has since stopped since she was able to return to teaching in attendance. Nevertheless, the good feedback and proposals for audiovisual projects she received remain in a corner of her mind.

  • Whether it was Valerie Strohmenger with these vignettes on the French language,
  • Huito's tutorials offering students to continue to review their English or
  • "Maths and my team", they are increasingly taking up the tool with great success.

In each of these cases, thousands of subscribers especially since the knowledge they convey has interest throughout the Francophonie. In some cases, such as the Huito channel, a substantial investment (about 5000 euros) was required in order to offer optimal quality to Internet users. Nevertheless, most use simple tools and are successful. As long as the sound is pleasant and the subject interesting, the listeners are there.

The covid crisis was therefore the spark plug for the teaching staff to realize the potential of the capsules in teaching. No subject is impossible to instill through this channel.

  • So,this teacher in Tahiti has taken to solving physics and chemistry problems with Easy Science Live. An initiative that requires more preparation time, inevitably, but has managed to reach homebound students.

  • Some aren't shy about adding humor like Mr. Steve who offers French as a Second Language videos to Ontario students. A proposal that has attracted more than 12,000 Internet users and found itself advertised all over the Canadian press.

  • It's even possible to create a channel that encompasses different subjects. Mr. Fred's Classroom offers a lot of math explainer videos but also science, French language with listening comprehension and dictations. In fact, the teacher from Charleroi, Belgium presents at least two educational vignettes each week, all initiated during the pandemic period.

Once seen as a source of distraction, the YouTube platform has allowed teachers since 2020 (and long before for enthusiasts) to offer not only a channel for educational pursuit but to help many other students in search of knowledge, review, or simply curious to learn more.


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