When YouTube first came into its own in 2006, educators realized the great potential it provided for enhancing teaching and learning. What they may not have realized is that free online educational videos would eventually revolutionize how people think about teaching and learning, thus changing the way instructors offer content to their students. Some professors began recording and posting their lectures online as a way of allowing students to review difficult content in their courses; today lecture capture programs such as Panopto software allow that to happen quite easily. However, teacher-centered recording of traditional classroom lectures is not the primary way in which online video is revolutionizing instruction. The revolution is in the changing nature of what is occurring during class time—as opposed to what is being viewed online outside of class.
The notion of the “flipped classroom,” as presented in Salman Khan’s TED talk “Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education” (which as of this writing has been viewed over two million times), is all about teachers recording their lecture content on video and posting the materials for viewing outside of the class. As a result, active learning and problem-solving opportunities take place in the classroom, with the teacher helping students apply what they have learned. Teachers across the country are experimenting with the flipped classroom concept. For example, one teacher in Harris County, Texas, assigns fifteen-minute YouTube videos to be viewed outside of class and then uses classroom time to have students practice what they have learned with active learning exercises and assistance to students one on one. Another example of the flipped classroom approach is that used by an advanced placement U.S. history teacher in Oregon, who created fifty YouTube videos and seventy podcasts for his students to watch and listen to outside of class; during class, students engaged in dynamic discussions about what they learned at home.
Salman Khan, too, has altered online learning through his own videos, which were originally created and posted on YouTube as tutorials to help his cousins with their mathematics lessons. Khan—MIT mathematics guru, Harvard Business School graduate, and former hedge fund analyst—created the remarkable Khan Academy, a sequenced structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in mathematics (and now in other subjects). Since 2004, Khan has posted more than 2,000 tutorials that are viewed nearly 100,000 times around the world each day. Indeed, the Khan Academy has transformed mathematics classrooms and students across the country, with more than two million people having watched Khan’s online math videos. According to a recent article in Education Digest, by summer 2011, 250 school districts, charter schools, and independent schools were part of a pilot program for fifth- and seventh-graders in Los Altos, California, using Khan’s videos and tools at his website. The short videos at the site each describe a separate math concept. Middle school students viewed the videos in and outside of classes to find solutions to problems when they were stumped. The pilot program also included computer-generated questions and assessments called “streaks” that were game-like in nature, in which students could earn badges while they were tested for mastery of concepts. Beyond mathematics concepts, there are also playlists at the Khan Academy site for history, biology, chemistry, currency, cosmology, astronomy, business, and brain-teasers.
Much like the Khan Academy, TED Talks are a paradigm for online learning and have had an impact on the field of education. TED started out in 1984 as a conference that brought together people from three worlds—Technology, Entertainment, and Design—and is devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” As a video site, its scope has become even broader, and so has its ability to spread ideas, much in the manner of Salman Khan. The TED site describes itself as a “global community” that welcomes people from every discipline and culture. Along with the two annual TED conferences in the United States and the United Kingdom, TED includes the award-winning TED Talks, the Open Translation Project, TED Conversations, inspiring TED Fellows, and the annual TED Prize. The TED site alone allows users from all walks of life to hear innovative ideas from some of the best minds of the twenty-first century. TED’s appeal is that it is open to communities, organizations, and individuals who want to stimulate dialogue in their own local venues. TED Talks shares the best ideas from the TED Conference with the world. They include trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, iconic figures and geniuses, all giving the talk of their lives in eighteen minutes. The TED site says that these talks “stir your curiosity” and can be inspiring or just “jaw-dropping” or funny; a fresh TED Talk is posted every weekday. TED Talks are licensed under Creative Commons, so users are welcome to link to or embed these videos. Forwarding them to the TED Open Translation Project extends TED’s influence beyond the English-speaking world by offering subtitles, interactive scripts, and the ability for any talk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. This has enhanced accessibility of this site for hearing-impaired persons and the non-English-speaking global community.
Khan Academy and TED Talks are just two of the more prominent examples of video sites that are used to educate people around the world. The purpose of this article is to highlight similar superior educational video sites that are useful to educators and the public at large, classified by general subject categories. In compiling the list of video collections, this author has compared and read numerous blogs, websites, and online articles that offered reviews of educational video sites. Despite the fact that the list is not comprehensive or exhaustive, it is hoped that these resources will assist classroom instruction and identify excellent open access educational resources to users everywhere.
 Katie Lepi, “16 Flipped Classrooms in Action,” Edudemic, November 24, 2012, edudemic.com/2012/11/16-examples-of-flipped-classrooms/, accessed December 17, 2012.
 June Kronholz, “Can Khan Move the Bell Curve to the Right?” The Education Digest, 78 no. 2 (October 2012): 23-24. Available from Academic Search Premier, accessed December 18, 2012.
 Ibid: 25.
 TEDTalks, www.ted.com/talks, accessed December 17, 2012.
 See “100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Teachers,” www.onlinecollegecourses.com/2010/10/20/100-incredibly-useful-youtube-channels-for-teachers/, accessed December 14, 2012, and Jeffrey MacIntyre, “U Tube: Want a free education? A brief guide to the burgeoning world of online video lectures,” Boston Globe, November 2, 2008, www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/11/02/u_tube/?page=full, accessed December 14, 2012, and University of Minnesota’s Digital Video Collections Guide, www.lib.umn.edu/libdata/page.phtml?page_id=4139