Getting a YouTube education

Getting a YouTube education

By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment WriterTue Sep 11, 7:43 PM ET

As students meekly file back to school this fall, they might remember that class is in session at — of all places — YouTube.

Yes, in this upside-down world of education where video games are
touted for teaching kids visual skills, even YouTube can be of some
benefit to learning.

When one thinks of lessons learned from watching videos on YouTube,
what comes to mind is sage wisdom like: iPods can be blended, Mentos
react violently to Diet Coke, and cats typically lose arguments with
ceiling fans.

But one of the site’s top categories is called "Howto & DIY," a
broad section that compiles videos that explain everything from magic
tricks to Soulja Boy’s "How to Crank That" dance

I’m sure that upon hearing this, students across the country are
tossing textbooks out the window. But there are many videos that are
quite useful or — to use the most fearsome of words — "educational."

One video is in response to a clip posted by filmmaker Michel
Gondry, who showed himself solving a Rubik’s Cube with his feet. The
video (, which nearly 900,000 have watched,
carefully explains how Gondry accomplished his trick. The lesson, it
turns out, is not so much about the Rubik’s Cube, but about techniques
of deception in filmmaking.

Learning how to play any musical instrument is also easier, since
video allows close-up demonstrations. Guitar lessons in particular
abound, including a video of Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden explaining his
technique (

Science experiments also can be found, including one showing what
happens when you mix water and corn starch — and then shake it
( Workout videos are popular, too, such as
one about how to work out your abs without buying anything

Many videos offer cooking instructions, like director Robert
Rodriguez’s excellent "10 Minute Cooking School"
( Others teach how to draw cartoon
characters like Homer Simpson (

One can also learn how to style "rock star" hair
(, do a backflip (
or french kiss ( It’s a little sad, really,
that the days of the sexually uninformed adolescent — so long a staple
in comedy — is a thing of the past.

YouTube isn’t the only repository for instructional videos.
Currently in Beta, specializes in visual how-to
lessons explained in five minutes or less. The site’s slogan is:
"Everyone is good at something." One of its most popular videos
currently teaches how to survive a knife attack.


VIDEO OF THE WEEK: "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

The brilliant FX comedy "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia" returns
for its third season Thursday. The show was created by three guys all
around 30-years-old (Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton),
but comic veteran Danny DeVito came aboard last season. In this video
posted on (,
Day discovers just what contractual obligations they signed up for when
DeVito joined. Don’t miss the cameo from Fred Savage.

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