Crash Course Biology in Collaboration with BioInteractive
Eleven years ago, I had a goatee for a Halloween costume and, unfortunately, I did not shave it before recording the video “Carbon... SO SIMPLE: Crash Course Biology #1.”
It was the second video ever uploaded to the Crash Course YouTube channel, and it now has over seven million views. Unfortunately, it also still contains my goatee. But also a lot of things have changed since then. Some of those things are technical — cameras are nicer, graphics are slicker, and the expectations of the average YouTube viewer have changed. But also, in eleven years, what is taught in biology classes has changed, both because of new standards and because of new knowledge.
Humans think in stories, so science educators are, to me, science storytellers. And we want Crash Course to continue to be as useful as possible to science storytellers all over the world.
That’s why we’re working with HHMI BioInteractive to refresh one of our most popular courses of all time, Crash Course Biology. This time, we’re releasing it in English and in Spanish. We’ve got two new hosts, entomologist Dr. Samuel Ramsey and neuroscientist Mini Contreras. We’ve got new cameras and graphics and video and standards to align with, so that our content can deliver the most impact for teachers and students.
But of course the most important thing is staying the same. The goal of Crash Course Biology (and every Crash Course video) is to capture and hold onto people’s attention in the way any other YouTuber would. But while we’ve got their attention, instead of giving them just entertainment, we want to give them a deeper, fuller understanding of their world. We don’t just want them to do well on tests, we don’t just want them to have the information needed for a future career — we want students to be captivated. We want them to learn because they want to learn.
It’s tricky to balance that desire with hitting all of the needed ideas, but that’s why our team spends so much time thinking about exactly how to do it. We contextualize knowledge in stories of discovery and the drama of history. We bring students into the excitement of discovery by capturing our own fascination. And we always work to help students understand why their lives will be better if they know the information contained in the episode. The biggest reason why — the one we deliver on over and over again — is that both individuals and societies are stronger when they better understand their world.
Biology is the study of life, and life is perhaps the most interesting puzzle in our universe. It began four billion years ago on this planet and has not stopped since. It’s easy to hear that number and not realize that that’s nearly thirty percent of the entire lifespan of the universe. It has taken a great deal of time for life to wend its way through so many new and varied forms, all interacting with each other in intricate and bizarre ways before ending up where we are now.
Even if you only consider today, there is so much bizarre peculiarity to cover, which is a good thing, because the peculiar is always a good window into the complex.
What a wonderful puzzle to tease out over the course of fifty 12-to-15-minute episodes. With one simple investment, we’re creating something that will still be delivering value for students and teachers decades from now, and we are so happy to announce that our first videos are being released today at www.biointeractive.org/CrashCourse.
Hank Green is an American science communicator, video creator, entrepreneur, and author. He is known for producing the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers with his older brother, author John Green. In 2012 Hank and John launched Crash Course and SciShow and created an educational media company called Complexly.