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3 YouTube Videos to Spark Curiosity and Set Minds Ablaze

Author: Guest | Blog |

The most memorable and impactful learning experiences tend to be fueled by passion, inspiration, and curiosity. Some of the most effective and talented educators I’ve ever worked with had the ability to cultivate these qualities in such a way that they actually did very little teaching. One of my favorite examples comes from educational researcher, Sugata Mitra. He’s most well known for the famous “Hole in the Wall” project where a computer was placed in an urban slum of New Dheli, India.

He and his colleagues used a hidden camera to observe kids from the slum learning how to use the computer with no guidance and they even taught each other. Mitra argues the experiment demonstrated that if kids are motivated by curiosity, they’re capable of learning with or without a teacher. Mitra, now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, called it “minimally invasive education.”

“You can start a fire without a spark” – The Boss

Today, educators have access to a wide range of dynamic multimedia to pique the interest of students. One of the most obvious is YouTube, but there are podcasts, blogs, infographics, social media and more! Below are three of my favorite videos that get students to think deeply about the content and start asking questions they want to answer on their own. They can be used as writing prompts or a jumping-off point for activities like “take a stand” or classroom debates.

Watch the following videos and ask yourself, how could these videos be used to spark passion, inspiration, and curiosity?

Ideas for classroom use with “What if Money Was No Object? by Alan Watts

  • Writing prompts
    • What if money was no object? How would you enjoy spending your life?
    • What do you want to do when you grow up is a question we hear often. What if I asked you, what problem do you want to solve when you grow up? How would your answers differ?
  • Take a stand
    • Would you rather work to earn money, or work to do something you love?

Ideas for classroom use with “The Greatest Speech Ever Made” by Charlie Chaplin

  • Writing prompts
    • In what ways have advancements in technology contributed positively and negatively to society? List three for each and explain your choices.
    • What, if anything, do you do to try and promote good and effective government at the local, state, or federal level? (Source)
    • Most people tend to have a cynical view about politicians (ex. – “all politicians are corrupt and are in it for themselves”) – if you do have such views, what do you think we as a nation can do to elect better people to office? (Source)

Ideas for classroom use with “THIS IS WATER!” by David Foster Wallace

  • Discussion questions/writing prompts
    • What is water?
    • Do we truly have control and choice about how and what to think?
    • Give an example of looking at something in our “default setting” and another example of looking at it from a different perspective. (Ex. standing in line at the grocery store)

Passion, inspiration, and curiosity

Looking for more ideas to keep your students excited about learning? I’ll be publishing a series of articles about using multimedia to engage students. There’s several videos I’ve come across at conferences that I can’t wait to share with you! In the meantime, if you have your own examples of YouTube videos that get the wheels turning, please share them using the hashtag #LearningTogether on Twitter.



Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

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