YouTube Stories: How Aussies are learning through video

From life-saving inventions to new ways of teaching, meet three Aussies who are using what they've learned on YouTube to create lasting change. 

When I was in school during the 90s, watching videos in the classroom was a highlight of any week. The teacher would roll in a television on a cart, pop in a VHS tape, and then we’d enjoy whatever scratchy nature documentary my teacher had checked out from the school video library. Sight, sound and motion have always had the power to engage students.
Now, teachers and students are taking it to a whole new level with YouTube. Every day, more and more people are turning to YouTube to learn with educational videos generating hundreds of millions of views. In fact, 81 percent* of Aussies watch videos to learn how to do something and content with 'how-to' in the title generated more than one billion hours of watch time in 2017, up 75 percent since 2015.
Charles, Macinley and Eddie are but three Aussies using YouTube to learn and follow their passions...

Barbering for Change 

After struggling in school and making some poor decisions when he was younger, Charles Lomu wanted to break the cycle and set his life on a new path--so after putting his kids to bed each night, he jumped on YouTube and watched hundreds of hours of content to learn how to become a barber. He discovered everything he needed to start cutting hair, before setting up a barbershop in his Western Sydney garage. But this isn’t your average barbershop, with his clients ranging from former inmates and young men at risk of falling into crime, to suburban blokes who find comfort confiding in him. Extending his dream even further, Charles also runs a barbering class at Granville Boys High School, working with disengaged students. He’s trying to give back to the community, not only through offering haircuts, but as someone to talk to--all with the hope of changing the problems that old world masculinity is causing in his local community. For Charles, it comes back to one simple mantra: “You don’t have to be certified to be educated, but you have to be experienced to be qualified.”

Inventing Armour to Battle Radiation 

18-year-old Macinley Butson is a remarkable young woman. Long interested in science, she started inventing from early childhood and at just 17 years of age created SMART Armour--a shield to reduce excess radiation for breast cancer patients going through treatment. It’s an invention that has the potential to change cancer treatments around the world. To develop the SMART Armour, Macinley relied on YouTube videos from various creators not just to help her better understand scientific journals and research but to learn the art of making scale maille.
Many of these learning stories are also powered by an incredible community of EduTubers like BrainCraft, Draw with Jazza, Tibees or WooTube, whose videos have demonstrated the appeal of content that enriches as well as entertains.

Sharing the Wonder of Mathematics 

Eddie Woo is a passionate mathematics teacher who so ardently believes in the importance of education that when one of his students was diagnosed with cancer and needed to take long periods of time off school, Eddie started recording his classes and uploading them to YouTube so the student wouldn’t miss out. His journey since has been remarkable. He now has over 580,000 subscribers from all around the world, 32 million video views, and is still uploading. Recently he won Local Australian of the Year and was named in the top 10 teachers in the world. But he too is a student of YouTube--turning to channels from around the world to hone his video production and presentation skills to ensure he is producing the best quality content for others. I recently spoke to Eddie and asked why YouTube? He simply responded: “YouTube is the epitome of what schools and teachers try to do. To be with the learner at their point of need. YouTube is there for me, it serves me, not the reverse. I learn because I want to not because someone told me to.”
We may not all become inventors, mathematicians or community champions but we can promise that anyone who wants to learn or teach will have ever greater opportunities to do both on YouTube. You can get started now with YouTube Learning.
*Google/Ipsos ‘Human Stories Quantitative Study’, August 2017, Australia, n=2,529 males/female YouTube users aged 18-54