One of my favorite things about Netflix streaming is that I can watch some great history documentaries on my laptop or tablet. As much as I enjoy a good documentary I also know that not everyone does. I also know that many students get bored by documentaries very quickly. On the other hand, short video clips can be helpful to help teachers illustrate a point or present a point in a different manner. If you’re a history teacher, particularly a U.S. History teacher, here are seven YouTube channels where you can find some good short video clips to use in your lessons.
Hip Hughes History is a channel that Greg Kulowiec shared on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. Hip Hughes History is a series of short, upbeat lectures on topics in US History and World History. The videos are produced by Keith Hughes, a high school history teacher in Buffalo, New York. A sample video is embedded below.
Dizzo95 is the first YouTube channel that came to mind when I started to build this list. I’ve featured a bunch of the videos from this channel in the past. On this channel you will find a lot of short (2-5 minutes) US History and World History videos. Most of the history videos on this channel are overviews of eras or major topics in history. The channel does not have much organization and videos on topics outside of history are mixed-in so you will have to use the search function to find gems that you can use. I’ve included a sample from Dizzo95 below.
The U.S. National Archives YouTube channel offers a mixed bag of videos that include everything from old propaganda films like this one (also embedded below) to lectures from historians to short lessons about items in the National Archives.
The New York Historical Society has a YouTube channel that at first you might not think has anything of relevance to teachers and students outside of New York, but on further investigation you will find content like this playlist of videos about Frederick Douglass.
World History & Other Stuff contains just what the title implies. The channel is curated by a teacher of AP World History for his students. The playlists that are assembled are excellent, here’s one about the collapse of the Soviet Union and here’s one about the Enlightenment.
The Smithsonian has many channels on YouTube. The one that I want to highlight is the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History YouTube channel. Here you will find playlists about the museum, its exhibits, and short lessons based on the work of the museum.
For the military history buffs, the Naval History & Heritage Com’d channel (to be clear, the channel is not administered by the U.S. Navy) contains 43 playlists covering all aspects of U.S. naval history. Here’s a playlist about navy medicine at war. If your school offers a course in military history, this channel could be particularly useful.