CrashCourse’s visual emphasis proves helpful

December 4, 2016 — by Eric Sze

Senior recalls his AP Chemistry experience in which he used Youtube's "CrashCourse" videos to aid him in understanding tough concepts. 

I’m in my room on a typical Tuesday night. Crying over the AP Chemistry homework I don’t get, I realize that I’ll never understand the material the way teacher Kathy Nakamatsu does.

This was me every day last year.

Academics have never really been my strong suit. Rather, I have always been interested in extracurriculars like art, music, volunteering and school activities, so naturally, I found AP Chemistry to be quite challenging.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually like chemistry; however, I just find that it takes me a little bit longer to grasp certain concepts than many of my peers. While some students can understand a concept right after a teacher is done lecturing, I can barely process the first sentence he or she said that day.

The only way that I’m able to keep up with my course load is by constantly studying at home.

But that wasn’t enough. I found out about CrashCourse on YouTube from my Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Kristofer Orre. Since then, CrashCourse has saved me multiple times from failing tests.

Because I’m a graphic artist and a design freak, I’m a very visually oriented learner. This learning style has become a problem in a lot of my classes, because I don’t completely understand the concepts until I get to see it in action for myself.

For example, during the equilibrium unit in AP Chemistry, I found it pretty difficult to understand balancing equations and calculating values like K, the equilibrium constant. I never really understood why solids and liquids weren’t considered when calculating equilibrium, since to me, they all had an equal representation in calculating a reaction.

But after coming home that day and watching a 11-minute CrashCourse video on chemical equilibrium, everything became a lot much clearer to me.

CrashCourse’s animations, alongside educator Hank Green’s narration, help me visually understand the equations and technical details that I learn in class.

In the equilibrium video, Green shows a timelapse of a graph about concentration of the reactants and products. This helped me see the way that reactants decrease to form products.

I owe CrashCourse for helping me with my success in classes like AP Chemistry. Although watching a 10-15 minute video might seem time consuming, the amount of help CrashCourse can offer is easily worth the time spent. With 644 videos and counting, it likely has one that will cover any subject users don’t understand.

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