The way we consume media has changed dramatically over the past decade, with social media and content sharing platforms allowing users to get closer to new ideas and technologies without relying on traditional textbooks and lectures.
YouTube has provided a particularly rich platform for aspiring engineers and tech enthusiasts, with numerous professional and amateur makers sharing their skills for a global online audience. From building projects to discussing the latest industry trends, these broadcasters can be a powerful educational tool for engineering students at every level, particularly when it comes to engaging a younger generation much more likely to have a YouTube channel than a library card.
Here are some of the most popular:
With over 500,000 subscribers and 37 million views, element14’s very own Ben Heck is one of the leading lights in online tech broadcasting. The premise of the show involves Ben taking on a wide variety of creative challenges involving electronics, from building new devices from scratch to hacking existing products in new and inventive ways. With a strong focus on interactivity, Ben’s videos offer an excellent learning resource for students and hobbyists who want to try out new projects alongside him.
Author, academic and futurist Christopher Barnatt began making YouTube videos as an experiment to promote his websites. 11 million YouTube views later, it’s become a key part of his life and personal brand. Explaining Computers features informative weekly video blogs about a wide range of computing-related topics, while sister channel Explaining The Future takes a broader look at how new technology is shaping the world around us. With over 100,000 subscribers, many of his most popular videos have materialized out of interactions with viewers.
Tech enthusiast Lon Siedman ascribes the success of his YouTube channel to a quality of “amateur authenticity”, which allows viewers to relate to him more easily. Billed as “Honest, concise gadget reviews”, his videos have been viewed more than 29 million times. Many manufacturers send him product hoping to benefit from his extensive following, but he’s clear that a free product is never a guarantee of a positive review.
Australian design engineer David L. Jones shares over twenty years of experience in a witty, accessible format that he describes as “an off the cuff video blog for electronics engineers, hobbyists, hackers and makers. The show is unscripted and relies heavily on Jones’ natural charisma, combined with brutally honest product reviews and problem solving.
Canadian Mehdi Sadaghdar combines key engineering principles with a dose of insanity with his high-concept, frequently dangerous electronics experiments. From jump-starting a car using AA batteries to exploring the awesome properties of graphite, Sadaghdar’s experiments definitely shouldn’t be tried out by amateurs, but they do showcase a more exciting side to engineering.
These are just a handful of the thousands of vloggers currently sharing their passion for engineering and electronics with millions of dedicated viewers online. It’s a community that’s only going to continue growing, hopefully inspiring more people to broaden their knowledge of engineering for years to come.
Which engineering Vloggers do you follow? Did we miss one of your favourites? Let us know in the comments section below…