YouTube is ramping up the educational resources available through its site by creating a $20 million pool of funding designed partly to support the creation of new content by individuals and organizations.
The massive video-sharing platform this summer announced an effort called YouTube Learning, which YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said would provide grants and promotion from companies and others who go through an application process.
Then this month, Wojcicki followed up by clarifying that her organization would invest $20 million in YouTube Learning, and that the money that would support several efforts, including the creation of a “Learning Fund” to support content creators who want to build “multi-session” learning content on YouTube.
“We’re committed to empowering both the creators who want to share their knowledge with the world and the users who come to our platform to learn,” Wojcicki wrote in a company blog post, “from home improvements to the basics of physics to grammar lessons.”
YouTube, a Silicon Valley-based video-hosting platform, was founded in 2005 and was purchased by Google a year later.
There are reasons to think that YouTube content–if it’s engaging and academically worthwhile–has the potential to resonate among students.
A survey released earlier this year by the Harris Poll found that a majority of “Generation Z” students today have a higher preference for learning from YouTube and other video content, compared with printed books.
Appeal Among ‘Generation Z’?
The appetite for YouTube among young people, which Education Week explored in a recent story, is fueling changes in curriculum and the kinds of technology used in some school districts. But it’s also raising concerns about whether students are becoming too reliant on that content.
Specifically, the survey of 14-23 year olds found that 59 percent picked YouTube as a learning preference, 57 percent chose in-person group activities, 47 percent picked learning apps or games, and 47 percent chose printed books.
YouTube has published a guide meant to give content developers tips on material that students and teachers will find engaging and useful. It covers everything from topics ripe for video content, to how to format online materials, to the pros and cons of building videos around things like animation, lectures, and homework-focused lessons.
At the same time, YouTube officials have made it clear they’re keen on supporting content creators with a track record and an established audience on their platform–not just those who might have an idea they want pushed out, according to the application for the Learning Fund.
Eligible projects must manage at least one YouTube channel with at least 25,000 subscribers. They also need to be able to demonstrate a strategy to develop “multi-session content,” or videos that build on one another, according to rules posted by YouTube.
In response to a question from EdWeek Market Brief, YouTube that the dollar amount that goes to different projects will vary. The platform says it has already awarded money to a few content-creators, including TED-Ed and Crash Course.
Applicants must also show they will present educational content in a “factual, informative, and trustworthy manner” that demonstrates an attention to accuracy and objectivity.
Applications for the Learning Fund are due Nov. 30.
Image courtesy of YouTube Learning.