The appearance of digital platforms and social networks in recent decades has made it possible to use these spaces to promote the teaching and dissemination of numerous fields of knowledge. Undoubtedly, one of the most used platforms for this is YouTube, which is among the most visited websites worldwide.
Students have found in this platform a help to solve their doubts about mathematics, physics or chemistry. And, furthermore, a space has been opened to browse fantastic explanations about science, history or art, which increasingly engages users of all ages.
Who does not know David Calle, who from his YouTube channel Unicoos helps in the training of thousands and thousands of students internationally? Haven’t you enjoyed the explanations about the universe of the renowned José Luis Crespo through his channel Quantum Fracture From him? What school does not use the song of the rivers of Spain to learn this content in a motivating way through the YouTube channel Sing and Learn ?
The thousands of subscribers and the millions of views of educational or outreach channels on YouTube corroborate a great use of this type of audiovisual resources by the general population.
The influence of edutubers
The content creators of this type of channel, the so-called edutubers , have therefore become educational references: they manage to reach an audience that follows each of the resources that these digital educators upload to YouTube.
The various investigations that I have carried out on the subject point to aspects such as the relative short duration of the videos and the excellent communication skills of the edutuber as success factors of these channels . It is interesting to be able to reflect on the possible implications and contributions of this type of highly popular and massively used resource in the reality of today’s school .
Furthermore, there is research that shows the great weight that youtubers have , along with other social network influencers , conditioning the personality and life projects, especially of the youngest. Hence the importance of this group, which, from the field of education, exerts an increasingly evident influence.
The gender gap in edutubers
In a recent study on edutubers I have been able to observe the existence of a gender gap in this group of educational youtubers . Through the analysis of more than 200 successful educational or dissemination channels on YouTube Spain, I obtained data that shows a problem: only one in four creators of audiovisual educational content on YouTube is a woman. This gap increases even more in areas such as Science, Social Sciences, Mathematics and Technology.
Where is the problem if everyone is free to upload or not upload videos to a YouTube channel in a particular way? Why then do we speak of a “gender gap”? The key lies in the conditions that appear in the group of edutubers and that affect the choice of women to choose not to create or upload educational or outreach videos to YouTube while men do.
Exposure and time
Among these determining factors, the level of media exposure stands out. Content creators on social networks are highly exposed and often receive offensive comments from people who, under the umbrella of anonymity offered by social networks, use these platforms to aggressively criticize the edutuber . There is research that shows that women are more attacked on social networks by this type of person, which can discourage them from becoming educational YouTubers .
Another conditioning factor that emerges from this research is the evidence that women spend significantly less time on everything that running a YouTube channel entails. Although men and women use YouTube in a similar way and have the same technological capabilities , there is something that makes it difficult for women to dedicate time to that particular hobby of creating and uploading videos to YouTube.
My study points to the greater domestic burden of women compared to men.
For all these reasons, four possible actions can be taken to improve this situation:
- Promote projects to improve self-concept, overcome stereotypes and women’s entrepreneurship.
- Improve security on the YouTube platform by controlling sexist comments.
- Increase studies on trends in the consumption of audiovisual resources.
- Develop measures to promote family reconciliation and the equitable distribution of household chores.
More women are needed to make the leap to become edutubers , who are benchmarks in the educational field, who positively influence the personality and life of the hundreds of thousands of users who regularly follow this type of resource online .
And you? Does it point?
Author Bio: Daniel Pattier is Professor of Didactics and School Organization (Faculty of Education) at Complutense University of Madrid