EP 164: Memorize Geographic and Math Facts Musically with Kids Learning Tube

In 2015, Kids Learning Tube was created, a YouTube channel that aims to “educate kids of all ages with original music and animation.” In the years since, it has grown to over 250,000 subscribers who regularly tune in to watch weekly videos about a wide variety of topics ranging from geography to the periodic table.

Today, there are almost 200 videos uploaded to the channel. Many of them focus on learning the geographic regions of specific countries, with the regions themselves singing and introducing each of them. For example, in a song about Sweden’s counties, one such county is given an animated face as it sings, “Norrbotten is my county name; in the north you’ll find me. Luleå’s my capital on the Gulf of Bothnia you see.” Each county introduces itself, and in the end, the counties come together for a jointly sung chorus. Such catchy tunes and clever animations keep kids engaged and eager to continue listening and learning.

Other videos focus on subjects such as learning anatomy, with different bones singing lyrics. Other memorable videos teach core concepts of physics, with detailed and technical songs about black holes and dwarf planets. For students interested in science topics, there is a suite of videos on concepts like the solar system and the Earth’s layers.

Memorizing facts and understanding concepts can be much easier for young students when said topics are presented in a format that makes it fun to engage with the content. This is exactly why Kids Learning Tube makes this type of content.

To learn more about Kids Learning Tube, visit their website at www.kidslearningtube.com or their channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7EFWpvc1wYuUwrtZ_BLi9A. To listen to the full interview with Matthew, check out the podcast below.


EP 163: English Tree TV - the Ultimate Learning Vehicle for ESL

English can be a notoriously difficult language to learn, especially for those who must learn English as a second language. But English Tree TV aims to combat this difficulty with animations, songs, and videos that teach basic English by encouraging students to engage with the videos.

The idea for English Tree TV was born as a result of its founder, Adam Williams-Walters, witnessing innumerable students struggle while learning the language at the public school in South Korea. After watching countless students struggle at the high school where Adam taught, he finally decided to build a solution. English Tree TV has since amassed over 185,000 subscribers in the past three years, with a cumulative 113,00,000 views on his more than 70 videos.

Adam also creates lesson plans, worksheets, games, presentations, flashcards, and other free resources that go hand in hand with the videos to help teachers and parents educate their students most effectively. The content is entirely free and available to anyone.

His videos are often nursery rhymes or creative songs that focus on different topics, including emotions, fruits, animals, numbers, colors, and other similar subjects that help kids learn the fundamentals of English. The repetitive nature of the lyrics along with the bright animations make each video memorable enough that the language lessons stick. For more advanced learners, some videos focus on full sentences and grammar.

To learn more about English Tree TV, visit the website at www.englishtreetv.com or the YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4GaQ9fCH5IpAq1AImj7XuQ. To hear the full interview with Adam, check out the entire podcast below.


EP 162: Top Notch Early Education with Brain Candy TV

What happens when you combine math, dogs, and trucks? Brain Candy TV is what happens. This amazing YouTube channel is based entirely on learning math and science concepts by incorporating animations of vehicles and a cockapoo into early education to make it interesting and enjoyable for young kids.

The channel was founded by Michael Moore in 2014 with the goal to “jump-start your child’s education so they can grow up to be more confident and successful in school and in life.” Michael’s dog, Lizzy, is a staple in the show — 73% of videos feature her — to help preschool-aged children learn numbers, basic math, the alphabet, colors, and science topics. 3D graphics, comprehensible explanations, and music make potentially boring topics feel exciting. The channel now has over 130,000 subscribers and around sixty uploaded videos.

Michael Moore (the founder of Brain Candy TV, not the documentarian) left his work as a wedding photographer to dedicate his time to Brain Candy TV in order to leave an indelible mark on the world of education. He decided early on that his trusty cockapoo, Lizzy, would join him in his journey as a canine educator, so kids across the planet could watch and enjoy the videos all the more.

Michael plans to produce more videos involving science and nature and aims to create content in the near future for slightly older students. As he puts it, “as your child matures, so will our new content.”

To learn more about Michael and Brain Candy TV, visit http://www.braincandytv.ca/ or check out his channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/braincandytelevision/. To hear to the full interview with Michael, listen to the podcast below.


EP 161: Optimizing Schools with the Canvas Learning Management System

Rarely do we take the time to consider the invisible digital platforms that make schools run seamlessly — the technology allows students to stay on top of grades, classes, and homework. These Learning Management Systems have grown in quantity and quality as of late as schools and universities attempt to digitize everything. In this episode, we spoke with Hilary Scharton, VP of Product Strategy for K-12 at Instructure, to discuss their Canvas Learning Management System.

Canvas began when two graduate students looked at the LMS their institution was currently using and decided it was terrible — the company Instructure was subsequently born and the Canvas product developed and released with it.

Canvas aims to bring to life the ideal one-on-one, individualized learning experience that has proven to be the most successful for students. Through Canvas, teachers can give students personalized content, including tests and assignments, based on students’ past results. Whenever students receive a grade, teachers can decide what kinds of assignments and curriculum to provide students based on their grades. This can all be completed automatically by Canvas.

They want to centralize information and cut down the number of unused, unnecessary products that schools and districts purchase but never implement by providing everything on one central platform. This way, the product actually gets used instead of being left idle. Part of this includes their connections with content companies and textbooks, allowing students to access that content from Canvas. They can also communicate with teachers and see assignments and tests so that everything is based on Canvas, easy to access and easy to use.

Canvas today, seven years after its initial launch, now has over 3,000 users ranging from individual schools to entire states. In total, it serves millions of students and is continuing to grow. It’s adoptable, adaptable, and reliable.

To learn more about Canvas LMS and Instructure’s other products, Gauge and Arc, check out their website at https://www.canvaslms.com/ and listen to the full podcast interview below.


EP 160: Teaching Math the Right Way with Welch Labs

There are few resources in place for people to learn difficult and complex material, especially when it relates to mathematics and technical subjects. All too often, textbooks are dense and boring and avoid encouraging a deeper understanding of the subject to provide surface-level comprehension. But there’s more than just the “how” to do something — there’s the “why.” And that’s how Welch Labs was born.

A practicing engineer, Stephen Welch founded Welch Labs in 2014 by publishing YouTube videos about machine learning. The idea came about when he was having difficulty with a project on neural networks — he wanted to provide online resources so that others would not encounter similar struggles. He now creates online math content and videos for people in high school to graduate school.

His channel currently features three different series: Neural Networks Demystified, Imaginary Numbers are Real, and Learning to See. The latter focuses on artificial intelligence and computer science framed in ways that are understandable to a wide audience base. He is now publishing videos in a How to Science series, which covers topics ranging from music to more traditional mathematical concepts. The idea is to promote actual understanding of math, code, and similar concepts.

To see this in action, visit the Welch Labs channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UConVfxXodg78Tzh5nNu85Ew. To listen to the full interview with Stephen Welch, listen to the podcast below.


EP 159: 3Blue1Brown on How to Show the Natural Beauty of Mathematics

Math and art — two seemingly vastly different subjects. But despite the apparent opposition between the two, YouTuber Grant Sanderson has set out on an endeavor to combine them in his channel, 3blue1brown, named after the sectoral heterochromia that leaves his right eye ¾ blue and ¼ brown. His videos essentially animate math, providing visual depictions of the topics he covers using a Python library of his creation.

Grant studied math at Stanford University and later went on to produce content about multivariable calculus for Khan Academy. Eventually, his love for mathematics (and passion for teaching it to others) led him to create 3blue1brown, which has now amassed over 800,000 subscribers.

His videos vary in focus. Many discuss topics that are typically not covered in traditional math classes, such as topology, Bitcoin, higher dimensions, and more conceptual subjects (an example being a video entitled “What does it feel like to invent math?”). But he also has series that are oriented to students learning particular math topics, such as calculus and linear algebra.

Grant’s goal is to “bring life to math,” animating it in both a literal and figurative sense. Math can be difficult and hard to fully comprehend, but displaying it with visuals and graphics allows him to break through such a learning barrier and help viewers understand math as they should. By looking at problems through a different lens and in a new format, complex solutions don’t seem so daunting and instead become enjoyable.

To explore and subscribe to 3blue1brown videos, check out the channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYO_jab_esuFRV4b17AJtAw.

To learn more about Grant and 3blue1brown, listen to the full interview below.


EP 158: Turning History into Music with Mr. Beat

What’s the easiest way to remember everything you need to know about the Red Scare? Set it to the tune of “Call Me Maybe” and replace the lyrics with a slew of facts about that moment in U.S. history, complete with a chorus featuring the line “Commie maybe.” This is just one of many historically themed music parodies that content creator Mr. Beat has released. Others include the causes of World War II to the tune of “Hotline Bling,” Napoleon to the tune of “Celebration,” and the Great Migration to the tune of “Good Vibrations.”

Mr. Beat began his channel in 2009 and has since amassed more than 22,000 subscribers. But his parodies are not the only content he makes: he also has original songs about different periods in United States history as well as videos explaining the presidents and various Supreme Court cases. His goal is to create videos, often featuring music and song, to make history and geography easier to learn and absorb.

As a teacher in Kansas, Mr. Beat has had plenty of experience recognizing that his students were not as engaged with history as they could be. His channel was an attempt to change that, an endeavor that we here at Scalar Learning are just as dedicated to.

To view and subscribe to Mr. Beat, visit his channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/iammrbeat/featured. To hear the full interview, listen to the podcast below.


EP 157: Bridging the Communication Gap between Colleges and their Students

In an age of technology and the Internet, it might seem contradictory that college students are feeling increasingly disconnected from their schools and administrators. Over half of emails sent to students are left unread, and nearly 80% of students think that schools can improve their college experiences by improving communication. This disconnect can be partially attributed to a lack of proper communication services, as students tend to gravitate away from email as their primary form of communication. Apps on the market are too cluttered and confusing to use, leading to an even greater divide between universities and students.

But DubLabs is trying to reverse the trend of low student engagement. Since its founding in 2012, over 150 colleges now use DubLabs to keep millions of students engaged with campus life.

DubLabs’ approach centers around simplicity: an app that’s not “overloaded with features” and instead has a “dynamic feed-based interface” that is familiar to modern students. The app features two-way chat and notifications customized to each student to make staying connected easier than ever, allowing students to stay in the loop. They have access to their schedules and grades and can contact advisors and administrators quickly and easily. Instead of struggling to figure out what’s located where and how to access certain features, as was the problem with many other apps, everything is organized into a dashboard that simplifies things immensely.

When students feel disconnected and unable to communicate with their faculty support systems, grades drop and motivation is lost. But with DubLabs, the ability to connect leads to a heightened capacity to succeed.

To learn more about DubLabs, visit their site at www.dublabs.com. To listen to the full interview with Chief Strategy Officer Chris Hopkinson, check out the podcast below.


EP 156: A Way to Optimize Teacher Development

“School leaders spend nearly 10% of their time each week managing the mountain of paperwork that comes from teacher observations and feedback.” That can add up to as much as six hours a week dealing with feedback from countless sources across numerous locations.

But leaders shouldn’t have to waste valuable time on spreadsheets and data — it was from this simple premise that Whetstone Education was born. Founded in 2010 by two school leaders fed up with the nightmare of state reporting while tracking mounds of teacher feedback and data, Whetstone has since grown to a platform used by over 500 schools, resting on a foundation of providing an easy place for schools to store data on performance, observations, and feedback while also enabling administrators to spend more time with teachers and students.

The platform allows schools to work with data analytics to provide professional development and advice for growth that is backed by more than just word of mouth and “a hunch.” Instead, actual reports allow for feedback that makes sense. Whetstone’s algorithm uses both quantitative and qualitative reporting to home in on exactly what teachers need to improve upon and where instructional time can grow. The information is easily shared with teachers, thanks to video coaching and live connections to teachers. But the platform is still customizable to ensure that each school is getting exactly what they need.

This week, we spoke with Michael Richard to learn more about Whetstone and its implementation of technology to make education a more manageable. To learn more about this revitalization of teacher development, visit https://www.whetstoneeducation.com/ or listen to the full podcast interview below.


EP 155: Making Science a Sheer Joy with Veritasium

School can often feel like relatively impersonal, leading to a transitively worse educational experience. But in the age of the Internet, learning is no longer confined to the cement walls of a classroom. Instead, educational resources populate the web — one of the more popular ones being YouTube videos and tutorials. Nowadays, content creators use YouTube to form connections with viewers and take education outside of just the classroom and into a world where the viewership can expand to any audience. One of the largest and most entertaining of such YouTube channels is Veritasium, a science learning channel run by Derek Muller that has videos on topics ranging from interviews with experts to demos of experiments.

Derek Muller began making YouTube videos in 2011, and in the years since, it has grown into a channel with an avid fan base of nearly 4.7 million subscribers. This number is particularly noteworthy for a channel dedicated solely to videos focused on math and science, topics that are traditionally underrepresented in the YouTube sphere. But Derek deviates from many other popular science and engineering channels in the variety of videos covered and quality of content offered.

His most popular video, “Surprising Applications of the Magnus Effect,” boasts an impressive 36 million views and begins by showing how backspin affects a basketball falling from a height of 415 meters. It’s a three-minute video complete with a visual animation of how air and the basketball interact and the forces that result. Derek then goes on to explain how this Magnus Effect works and how it can be seen and applied in other areas of life — namely, plans and ships. When the video is over, you feel like an expert on a topic you knew nothing about three minutes prior.

Most of Derek’s videos are in the same vein — succinct, educational, and most importantly, interesting. The topics aren’t traditional proofs and experiments; they are videos that explain laser hair removal, why mosquitoes are attracted to certain people, or the morality behind self-driving cars. His other YouTube channel, 2veritasium, features videos on topics that are “a little less flashy but just as enlightening.”

In the end, it’s all about increasing the world’s exposure to science, engineering, and technology in a way that remains fascinating and mind-opening. Because as Derek so concisely put it, “sometimes the simplest questions have the most amazing answers.”

To watch Derek’s videos or subscribe yourself, check out his channels here:

Veritasium - https://www.youtube.com/user/1veritasium

2Veritasium - https://www.youtube.com/user/2veritasium

If you want to check out the videos discussed by Derek on the podcast, you can find them here:

World’s roundest object! - https://youtu.be/ZMByI4s-D-Y

Why are mosquitoes attracted to me? - https://youtu.be/38gVZgE39K8

A misconception about Science - https://youtu.be/Y5kLMVgv0Xg

Surprising applications of the Magnus effect - https://youtu.be/2OSrvzNW9FE

To learn more about him and his channel, check out the full interview below!