During a short break in a training last week, a bunch of us were sharing favorite YouTube clips. As in, what YouTube videos work best for instruction.

It reminded me of John Medina’s Brain Rules book and his Rule #10 – Vision Trumps All Other Senses:

We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.

Pictures beat text as well, in part because reading is so inefficient for us. Our brain sees words as lots of tiny pictures, and we have to identify certain features in the letters to be able to read them. That takes time.

Toss your PowerPoint presentations. It’s text-based (nearly 40 words per slide), with six hierarchical levels of chapters and subheads—all words. Burn your current PowerPoint presentations and make new ones.

I still believe that we don’t do enough to tap into the power of images and am convinced that sites such as YouTube, when used appropriately, can help increase learning.

A video clip that caught the attention of the US /World History teachers in the group is titled “Little Hitler.”  And while it obviously oversimplifies that whole World War II thing, I think it would be great as a mental organizer – something that you could hang content onto throughout your unit.


The lesson for today? Head over to YouTube and do some poking around. (YouTube blocked in your building? Try TeacherTube or download the YouTube clip.)