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5 Great video channels for the holidays

When young people are home for the holidays, they might be tempted to binge-watch something awesome. In truth, it’s still not known whether binge-watching boosts learning, harms it or has no effect at all. One thing’s for sure, however: consuming programs loaded with educational content is beneficial. It shouldn’t be forced, and if at all possible it should be a shared experience, with parents watching with kids. But the Internet is bursting at the seams with amazing video content. Just be aware of the suggested recommendations on screen time from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


1. NASA Live Streaming

Nobody does video imagery like the good old space program. Among their offerings is a YouTube channel that contains lectures, presentations and documentaries, plus a multimedia page with other assorted content from their many activities (Flash required). They also have a wonderful Ustream page that features a live stream from the International Space Station -- sometimes it’s dark, even black, as the station passes over the night side of our planet, but it can also be spectacular. You might be able to find the ISS stream on smart TVs and plug-in boxes like Apple TV or Amazon Fire.


2. C.G.P. Grey’s YouTube Channel

CGP Grey is a very busy individual. An educator with dual Irish/US citizenship, you’ll find a homepage, multiple podcasts, and a YouTube channel. The YouTube channel in particular is just amazing, featuring many short videos that explain everything from the Star Trek transporters (“beam me up, Scotty!”) to who owns Antarctica. Educational and entertaining, Grey’s content is definitely worth checking out.


3. Numberphile

Yes, okay, a YouTube channel about math sounds horrendously boring. But the truth is, there’s so much more to mathematics than equations on a blackboard. The Numberphile channel goes to great lengths to demonstrate and explain mathematical concepts. Whether your youngster loves math or hates it, they’ll benefit from watching Numberphile.


4. CrashCourse

High school is full of subjects, some of which can be a real struggle to grasp. Sitting in class and trying to follow along can be such a challenge. CrashCourse to the rescue! They have an amazing collection of videos that explain a vast array of concepts in everything ranging from math to history to economics to literature. It’s a great way to introduce youngsters to subjects they’ll be studying in future semesters, or to just dip their toes in the educational waters to find what interests them.


5. MIT’s News Channel

This one’s for the geeks! The renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is home to some of the most advanced scientific and technological research on the planet. They offer course materials for free, and their news channel is guaranteed to fascinate your science/tech nerd. The news channel consists of short videos that explain some of the bleeding-edge research taking place at the university. A definite must for anyone considering a STEM career.


These streaming outlets are, of course, just a small sampling of what’s available online. This list should be sufficient to get anyone started on finding amazing content while home for the holidays, but always remember there’s a lot more!