Learning online: using videos to boost your learning

Just because most students are back to school, doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for online learning. While the huge range of online resources available to science students is a real bonus for those looking to revise content or learn something new, it can be overwhelming and difficult to decide which information is relevant and useful.

Make sure you’re looking in the right places

Searching the entire internet, or even just the entirety of YouTube, for a video on a specific part of GCSE science is likely to give you a huge number of search results and many may not be useful or relevant to your course. 

Instead, choose a few YouTube channels with good content and subscribe to them so you can find them easily. When you have your favourite channels, it’s easy to search within the channel rather than within the whole of YouTube. Checkout the channels recommended below – many of them also have useful playlists grouped by subject or topic area.

Search within the YouTube channel, not in the top search bar

Know what you’re looking for

Of course, one of the disadvantages of so many available videos is knowing whether they are right for your course. Many good channels will have videos that state if they are specific to a particular exam board or level (including the ones mentioned below). If you’re studying a specific topic, have a checklist on hand to see what you need to know, or check against the chapter headings in your course textbook.

If you’re revising a whole course, you could use the specification from the exam board website. This can be a little daunting, however, so an alternative is to check the list of topics from your course on a more friendly website such as GCSE Bitesize or Physics and Maths Tutor.

Don’t just watch it!

This isn’t a Netflix marathon – you’re meant to be learning something! The huge benefit of watching a science video at home is that you can pause and rewind whenever you like. Before you start, think about why you’re watching this video. Is it a topic you just want to recap, something you need to help you with your homework or something you didn’t quite understand in class?

Whatever the purpose, you should definitely have some paper and a pen on hand. You could use the video to make your own mind map or to add to or correct notes you’ve already made. Alternatively, many good videos have opportunities to pause and try examples – don’t be tempted to skip these parts unless you are really confident that you can do it without error. Some of the websites below also incorporate quizzes and worksheets to check your understanding.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

If the video is short (less than five minutes), try watching it all the way through and then trying to recall the key points. You can then check back to see if you recorded the information correctly.

Below is a summary of some top online video resources for A Level Chemistry and GCSE Science – I’ve bound to have missed some so do let me know if there’s one you use!

MaChemGuy

This is a very comprehensive selection, with videos grouped by topic but also a huge range of ‘walkthrough’ videos to help with past paper practice and application of the concepts. The ‘quick test’ videos are great for testing your knowledge when you have a few minutes to spare.

Dr Beattie’s Chemistry Essentials

These videos are longer and more in-depth, and provide lots of examples of how the content can be applied to exam questions. The videos are organised into useful topic playlists.

FreeScienceLessons

Although mainly aimed at GCSE science, there are a growing number of A Level videos being added for chemistry and biology. 

Allery Chemistry

Videos on this channel are broken into manageable lengths so good if you’re looking to brush up on just one part of a topic. They are also organised into playlists by topic area and mapped to different exam boards, and there is an associated Facebook group to post your chemistry problems in!

Science with Hazel

Like the FreeScienceLessons, this channel is mostly aimed at GCSE but is starting to include some good videos for A Level biology and chemistry as well. 

Want more online resources for A Level chemistry? Check out my earlier post which includes great resources for notes and past papers here.

Recommended websites for GCSE science videos

KayScience

This website has a really comprehensive collection of videos, mainly linked to AQA science but also containing extra content specific to the Edexcel course. The videos are clear and accurate, linked to topics and specification points and many also include worksheets to help you make notes.

FuseSchool 

FuseSchool have their own website but also a very easy to search YouTube channel. They have short, engaging animated videos on a huge range of science and maths topics. The videos also often include worked examples and the opportunity to pause and answer questions.

FreeScienceLessons

This is a popular YouTube channel providing clear explanations and worked examples on a range of science topics. The videos are also grouped into useful playlists that are specific to topics and even to specific exam papers.

Cognito

Another set of clear and useful science videos grouped by subject and with new videos being added regularly. Although mainly a YouTube channel, Cognito also has a website with past papers and other resources.

Malmesbury Education

Missed a core practical? Missing out on practicals due to covid restrictions? Or maybe you did the practical, but you just didn’t know what was going on. Malmesbury Education has videos linked to required practicals which show you how the experiment works and how to analyse the results, with helpful bookmarks so you can find relevant sections of the video easily. 

Oak National Academy

This website is useful if you need to really go over a topic thoroughly. The videos are longer because they are aimed to be like having a full lesson on the subject, and the website includes activities and tasks to check your understanding for each lesson. 

Need more help studying for GCSE Science or A Level Chemistry? Download my study activity guide using the link below:

Claire Costello-Kelly

Claire Costello-Kelly

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