April 15, 2020

The Explainer: Distance Learning Videos

What it is: Since March 10, 2020, when school districts in the United States began dealing with students in quarantine, the number of uploads with "distance learning" or "remote teaching" have been on the rise on YouTube. Many of these videos are being uploaded for teachers by teacher creators to provide education and support during this sudden transition.

Where it is: This is a global trend that has a heavy concentration in the U.S.

Facts & Figures:

  • In January and February 2020, just over 300 videos were uploaded to YouTube with "remote teaching" or "distance learning" in the title -- in March 2020 alone, that number was over 23,000.

"Distance learning" grows after school closures

Uploads of videos with "distance learning" or "remote teaching" in the title

Source: Global YouTube uploads, 1/1/2020- 3/31/2020

Look out for:

Videos with distance learning in the title break down across three general categories in the U.S.

Education technology tutorials: One of the biggest trends among these videos is tutorials for teachers about how to use products such as Google Classroom, Zoom, Google Slides, Flipgrid, and Flocabulary. From our teacher creator community, these edutech videos have been uploaded by channels such as too cool for middleschool, New EdTech Classroom, Flipped Classroom Tutorials, PBS LearningMedia, Drawing & Painting - The Virtual Instructor, and Pocketful of Primary (who had one of the most-viewed videos with "distance learning" in the title from March 2020.)

Messages from superintendents to students and parents: In order to broadcast to their entire student body, many superintendents have uploaded messages of reassurance to YouTube, instructing parents and kids how the district will move forward with distance learning. The Orange County Public School District has been using their channel as a direct portal between administrators and students, as have districts such as Pasco County Schools, Saint Peter’s Prep, and even the Milton High School Band, who shared a comedic rehearsal.

Advice videos and vlogs for teachers by teachers: A high majority of the content we’re seeing around distance learning is coming from YouTube’s own teacher community. With many channels uploading multiple videos a week, our teacher creators are sharing advice on how they’re organizing their classrooms, meeting the special needs of their students, what apps they recommend, as well as talking honestly about this transition while filming their day-in-the-life vlogs. Some of the most-viewed videos have come from channels such as Pocketful of Primary, too cool for middle school, Drawing & Painting - The Virtual Instructor, That One Happy Classroom and The Special Educator.

Key Videos & Creators

The Caffeinated Classroom ("TEACH FROM HOME DISTANCE LEARNING | Teacher Tag | High School Teacher") is a channel run by high school English teacher Marie Morris, who has been uploading teaching-focused videos since 2018. Since her school district closed in March, Morris has uploaded numerous videos about distance learning. These videos include how she’s structuring distance learning, a day in the life video of her and her husband teaching from home (while also parenting their two kids), how to organize your new e-learning life, and the distance learning teacher tag (#DLTT), which she started with fellow teacher creator Darin Nakakihara. The pair founded this tag to inspire teachers to share resources and information and what their teaching life currently looks like at home. This tag has since been employed in uploads from other creators such as Logan Gutci, Home Sweet Classroom, Miranda Webber, Middle Days Mari, and Apples & Tiaras.

That Special Educator ("Distance Learning - Day In The Life Of A Teacher VLOG") is a channel run by a special-education teacher vlogging about her experience of distance learning with students with disabilities. Since March 15, she’s uploaded numerous videos including tips for parents of kids with special needs, how to teach phonic sounds, what she’s been using for special education distance learning, and the difference between modifications and accommodations.

Pocketful of Primary ("7 BEST Websites and Apps for Distance Learning") is one of the most-subscribed-to teacher channels in the U.S. and this month, it featured some of the most-viewed content with "distance learning" in the title -- as well as videos on how to handle coronavirus as a teacher.

New EdTech Classroom ("How to Use Google Classroom for Remote Teaching"), run by junior-high teacher Sam Kary, is a channel entirely dedicated to providing education technology tutorials. Kary’s video on how to use Google Classroom is one of the most viewed videos with "remote teaching" or "distance learning" in the title that has been uploaded since March 10.