Friday, 7 July 2017

10 great websites for HD science videos

When my school recently installed new HD interactive touch screens, I realised that I was going to have to change a few things. David Attenborough has produced some amazing natural history programmes. However, a poor quality, pixelated clip of him, along with some flowers blooming in the desert following a brief period of rain, uploaded by the BBC to YouTube several years ago, was no longer going to cut it on these HD screens! 


Via Pixabay


I therefore decided to go through my bookmarked websites to consolidate those with high quality biology videos and animations, as well as look for new sites with good quality, HD content. It was also important to me that these sites were uploading their content specifically for educational purposes. I don't want illegally uploaded clips that may be taken down at any point by their copyright owner. Although fair use of copyright material generally allows use for educational purposes, I feel it is better to avoid potential issues by using material where permission has been explicitly given. This also helps to model good digital citizenship for students. 

So, in no particular order, here is a curated list of excellent video or animation resources, along with a brief description of what each site offers. They are mostly life sciences-oriented, although some are more general science websites. 

Your Genome 

Excellent, high quality animations covering various molecular biology topics, including DNA replication, protein synthesis, and the molecular basis for cancer. It also has short videos with interviews with practising scientists, plus some great hands-on activities.

HHMI BioInteractive

A multitude of resources on a wide range of life science topics. I have found the ecology videos and activities relating to Gorongosa National Park, in Mozambique, particularly helpful and engaging. There are also very useful evolution and natural selection resources, for example the activities based on real data from rock pocket mouse populations and their adaptations.  

Big Picture 

This site also has a variety of life science resources, including videos, animations, and activities. The videos and animations are of a very high quality, for example this animation about the sliding filament theory of muscle contraction. There is a particular focus on making links between cutting-edge science and the wider implications for society as a whole. 

Stated Clearly

A website with high quality animations by Jon Perry, focused mainly on giving clear explanations on various aspects of evolutionary theory, natural selection, and genetics, for example this one about how cooperation between species evolved. My students also really enjoyed the animated RNA molecules in this video about the RNA World Hypothesis

Deep Look

Punchy, extremely high quality HD videos on various different biology topics. I particularly like the mosquito biting video, which I have used to introduce the topic of mosquito-borne disease. The hummingbird's flight in slow motion is very useful for engaging students on the topic of animal movement, while this video looks at squirrel behaviour

Amoeba Sisters

Lots of fun, high quality animations covering all of the key biology topics. These videos would be great for flipped classrooms. They could also be used to introduce topics, or for review at the end of a topic. 

It's Okay To Be Smart

A wide range of science videos, including biology, grouped by subject. For my students, who are all Thai and therefore English language learners, the speed at which the presenter speaks could pose a challenge - fortunately, the videos have closed caption subtitles which can be switched on if necessary. 

StemBox

This YouTube channel has videos based around practical STEM activities aimed specifically at making STEM more accessible to girls aged 7-13 years. There are lots of good ideas here that could be used for introductory science labs for younger kids, or at summer camps etc. 

Draw Curiosity

This YouTube channel by Ines Laura Dawson features an eclectic mix of videos on a range of science topics, such as why two sexes evolved, and how to build a cyborg beetle. Ines also has a Draw Curiosity website with more videos and blog posts.  

Frank Gregorio

A range of videos set to uplifting, awe-inspiring music by Frank Gregorio. I use the Introduction to Biology video as an attention grabber when I see my new class of Grade 10 students for the first time at the start of our three years studying biology together, and it always prompts a round of applause! 

Bonus tip! Don't want YouTube comments below a video you want your students to watch? Use ViewPure to remove comments and other distractions from YouTube videos!

I hope this list of websites is useful. It would be great to hear suggestions about other, similar websites that I've not included!