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Published on March 22, 2023

5 Million Views!

A student researcher records footage in the Center's master control roomEastern’s Center for Early Childhood Education has reached a new milestone, achieving 5 million views on their YouTube channel. The center is a research and professional development institute focused on improving the quality of early care and education nationally. Center faculty and staff conduct research on child development and teaching strategies, and develop educational videos to train current and future teachers. Videos are hosted on the center’s website and its YouTube channel.

The center began producing educational videos in 2006 with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. The center’s YouTube channel went live on January 29, 2013, with 12 videos. Five years later, the channel reached 1 million views in February 2018. “It took five years to get to our first million views, and in the five years since then, we’ve added another 4 million views,” said Julia DeLapp, director of the Center for Early Childhood Education.

The center’s YouTube channel has over 200 videos featuring researchers and other experts, teachers, home day care providers, home visitors, and program administrators. To date, over 130 students have been involved in projects or research that led to videos or have served as production interns helping to capture and edit video footage. Videos have been viewed around the world, with most views coming from the U.S., Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and India—but DeLapp notes that “a surprising number of views have come from other countries such as the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Pakistan.” The prime viewership appears to be connected with higher education. DeLapp notes that every year there is spike in views from mid September to early December, and another spike from mid January to early May. “This tracks when faculty in the U.S. would be assigning videos for students to reflect on and analyze,” says DeLapp.

“I use CECE videos for multiple purposes, to complement, supplement and to enliven my class discussions,” said Eastern early childhood professor Sudha Swaminathan. “They help to visually depict how young children demonstrate concrete signs of understanding abstract math concepts, to demonstrate how a simple but difficult teaching strategy (such as wait time or open-ended questioning) may be implemented effectively, and at other times, to provide teacher candidates the rare opportunity to re-watch a classroom interaction multiple times, to look at the learning and the teaching through multiple lenses.” 

"I use the CECE's videos in every early childhood course that I teach," said early childhood professor Theresa Bouley. "No matter what the content, there is always a video that supports, in a visual and contextualized way, what I am discussing in class."

DeLapp argues that video is a powerful tool in the college classroom and notes that faculty sometimes show a video with the sound off to filter out dialogue that may distract from what a child is focused on. Other times, they will show videos multiple times and tell students to pay attention to different children each time. This often leads to “A-ha” moments. “Even for videos that we’ve watched multiple times while creating them,” DeLapp explains, “when we start creating the closed captioning for them, we invariably see something we hadn’t noticed before that causes us to see an interaction from an entirely new light. It’s a valuable lesson for future teachers to learn that their first impression of something that happened in their classroom may not be the whole story.”

The CECE’s videos were especially valuable to faculty during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when students were unable to have hands-on experiences in public schools. “I was able to utilize our ample video clip library to create a video analysis of play assignment for teacher candidates in Fall 2020 and 2021 who, at that time, had limited clinical experience,” said Eastern professor Kwangwon Lee. 

“I especially thought these videos were very helpful for new Early Childhood Education teacher candidates prior to visiting their clinical/internship settings. The videos are able to illustrate in practice important ECE concepts, including the social/emotional, physical, and cognitive developmental domains among different age groups. I integrate the videos in my Play and Social Development course to facilitate our in-class discussion activities and to supplement lectures.”

But use of the videos continued to grow even after clinical placements resumed. “In 2022 alone, we had 1.2 million views,” notes DeLapp, “so use is increasing exponentially, and we continue to add new content to reflect the needs of the field.” Videos released in 2022 include “Mindfulness for Early Educators,” “Using Children’s Books to Build Inclusive Classrooms,” “Morning Affirmations to Build Classroom Community,” “Fostering Independent Decision-Making by Allowing Free Movement During Centers,” “Providing a Quiet Place to be Alone,” and “Afirmando la identidad lingüística de los niños” (a Spanish version of the previously released “Affirming Children’s Linguistic Identity”). In addition, “Mindfulness with Young Children” was released this January.

CECE videos have received seven Telly Awards for technical excellence in video production, most recently for “A Study of the Play of Dual Language Learners in an English-Speaking Classroom” featuring the research of undergraduate student Stefanie Dominguez.