Following her BAFTA win, here’s our chat with edu-tuber Maddie Moate about her career at CBeebies and using YouTube as a platform for learning.
As YouTube has risen as a global site, reaching billions of users who visit for countless different reasons, it’s emerged as a platform for teaching and learning. There are video courses for playing the guitar, fixing things around your home, and even study resources for students who need the help as exams approach.
But there are people who aim to educate beyond the typical how-to videos, and it’s in this newly emerged “edu-tuber” community that Maddie Moate has found her space – and it’s led to opportunities in radio and on TV.
“I started out on YouTube presenting and creating videos for lots of different science and technology channels,” shares Maddie. “A few years into doing this, I realised that if I really wanted to ingrain myself in the YouTube community then I should start making my own content and not just be a voice for other people.”
Maddie dabbled with making all sorts of videos at first, but there were always two common themes: learning and fun. Within the last year, however, she’s focused the content on her channel to science-based and inquisitive videos for kids and families, and it’s been a great success.
When we speak to Maddie, she’s been nominated for a BAFTA for presenting the CBeebies show Do You Know? “I was pretty overwhelmed when I heard the news!” she says. “I’m nominated amongst some brilliant kids’ TV presenters who have years of experience, so it’s incredibly flattering.”
When producing educational content, Maddie sees it as very important not to talk down to children, whatever their age. “When we started filming Do You Know? I was adamant that we should make an educational show that challenged young minds and never patronised. As a result, the level of science in the programme is extremely advanced but the pre-schoolers still love it! This nomination suggests we were doing the right thing!”
Earlier this week, it was announced that she had won the BAFTA. “I’m really, really proud,” she told an interviewer. “The show was quite different […] for CBeebies because it really pushed the level of science. I didn’t think that we would get away with, like, teaching kids about proteins and eggs, that kind of thing. And the fact that it’s enjoyed by not only the kids but also their parents and the whole family means a lot, so yeah, I’m really proud that we’ve achieved that.”
Maddie sees YouTube as an incredible learning resource, looking at the ways in which it can bring education outside of the classroom and into the home, using it as a way to bring families together and to teach young children about topics they might not learn about in school. “This ‘edu-tuber’ community are an incredible bunch of people,” says Maddie. “There are hundreds of channels with amazing personalities behind them who are all enthusing and educating their audiences with their passion for learning, and I wish they received more credit for their work.”
Although YouTube can be an incredibly informative platform for children, it is not without its problems. Several channels have recently come under scrutiny recently, especially after the controversy surrounding “creepy” children’s videos on the platform raised concerns among viewers. “Understandably, parents are a little wary of leaving their children with these types of videos,” says Maddie. “I really want to create good quality content that children enjoy and learn from but that their parents trust and would recommend to other families.”
If you’re looking for more creators in the edu-tuber community, Maddie has plenty of suggestions. “If you have young children in your family I recommend Cosmic Kids Yoga, SciShow Kids, Brave Wilderness, and Art for Kids Hub,” she says. “If you’re interested in exploring the edu-tuber community then Sally Le Page, Simon OxPhys, Earth Unplugged, Earth Lab, Tom Scott, and Colin Furze are all fantastic UK-based channels!”
Maddie has had so many incredible opportunities through her channel, from radio shows to presenting for CBeebies and several web series, but what about her plans for the future? What comes next? “I hope that Do You Know? continues to do well, and fingers crossed we make a live touring show off the back of it,” she says, adding that she’s currently really focused on “growing the YouTube channel and working to become a trusted face for families online”.