Socratica is now an Amazon Influencer

Socratica doesn’t have any beauty recommendations for you. 


It’s fun, we just don’t have anything to contribute here.


And we don’t do Follow Me pictures.  We’re mostly sitting at our desks, working. 

follow me field

Kudos to Murad Osmann for popularizing this new style of photo.


But we can recommend great books ALL DAY LONG.


cornell library

THIS we can do!


I thought “Influencer” was a term only used for YouTube vloggers and the beautiful people on Instagram.  I’m happy to learn I was wrong!

Amazon has opened the doors of its Influencer Program to a wide variety of YouTube channels. This is an opportunity for these channels to share their favourite products, and for all of us to buy from their storefronts as a way to support these channels. The creators receive a small percentage of every purchase made through the links on their storefronts.

And now… Socratica is an Amazon Influencer. Did not think this was going to happen. But here it is, our new storefront:


Some clear pros and cons:


  • Easy to Use – I got this up and running in under 5 minutes.
  • Easy to Update
  • Includes pictures of items


  • Not customizable – we’d love to break this into sections (Math, Chemistry, Film Equipment)
  • No place to write blurbs. Let us say WHY we’re recommending a product.


I’m all for exploring alternate revenue streams, since YouTube ad revenue is not nearly enough to support a business.  So we set up our shop, and we’ll start sharing the link, and we’ll see what happens.  Let us know what you think (or if you have any other ideas to fund our scicomm work at Socratica).

Please share this link with your friends!


Subscribe to our Socratica YouTube channel here

FREE Socratica Apps on the Google Play Store


Send Socratica to SXSW EDU!

Socratica might go to SXSW EDU…with your help!


SXSW (“South by Southwest” or just “SouthBy”)  is a HUGE conference held every year in Austin, TX. You may be more familiar with the arts side of the conference, but did you know there’s an education component? It’s called SXSWEDU, attended by thousands of teachers and administrators.

sxsw talk picture

Socratica has applied to give talks there in 2018 – but it really depends on our panel ideas getting “upvoted.” That’s where you come in!


You can register and vote for panels for free, no obligation. This is a way for the organizers to gauge interest. We’d love for you to show your support for Socratica, so we can share our channel and our experiences with thousands of educators.

Kim is proposing a Case Study of the pathways to becoming an online educator. She and two fellow EduTubers will be discussing their journeys from Scientist, to Teacher, to YouTuber.  Her panel is here: Scientist-Teacher-YouTuber: Paths to Online Edu

Michael is proposing a Workshop about how to make higher quality educational videos. He’ll be running the workshop with two other EduTubers who make great looking videos without spending a ton of money. His panel is here: Taking Your Educational Videos to the Next Level

You can see our founders at SXSWEDU in 2018! Please register (free) & vote!

After you register, it’s easy to get lost in the website. You can click these links to go directly to our panels to vote for them!  And please upvote other panels that look interesting to you. You don’t have to attend, but if you do, we’ll see you there!


Here are the instructions from SXSWEDU:

On Monday, August 7, the greater online community is invited to vote and share its input on your session idea through Friday, August 25. The community’s input will amount to 30% of the total score for your proposal. Your proposal will also be evaluated by the SXSW EDU Advisory Board (40%) and SXSW EDU staff (30%) during this time.

The community will have the opportunity to “Vote Up” or “Vote Down” on all session ideas (votes will be kept private) and add comments to each page. We encourage you to use this commenting feature to expand on your session idea, make notes of any updates or changes and even engage with the voting community.

Anyone with internet access can cast a single vote for as many proposals as they would like upon creating a PanelPicker account.

We really appreciate your helping to send us to this conference!  It’s a great opportunity to meet other educators and let more people know about the work we do at Socratica.  Every bit of awareness helps our channel stay in business.  Hope we see you next year in Austin! THANK YOU!


PS You’re Subscribed to Socratica, right?


Big day for us here at Socratica Studios.

Socratica 100

Have you subscribed to Socratica?





How to Take Cornell Notes for Middle School Science

We recently received a question from one of our viewers, Tracie Parks, about our Cornell Notes video:

Cornell notes question


Tracie found our video about how to take notes helpful, especially because it shows HOW someone would take notes during a lecture, using a specific lecture!  This video features one of our videos about the History of the Atom as an example.

We’re so glad to hear that Tracie is sharing our Study Tips Series with her 6th grader! That’s really the perfect time to foster those skills.  It takes years to be a Great Student, and Middle School is when most kids start to be challenged to do more in school. They start to take notes in class, read books for information that will be tested on, and write papers.  These are the kinds of skills we want to help people with with our Study Tips.

Tracie was hoping we had an example that was a little more accessible to her middle schooler.  We do have a series of science videos that are perfect for middle-schoolers.  This series is all about those questions that pop up but you’re not sure of the answer – Why is the sky blue? Why is the ocean salty?  Here’s a video about Why Leaves Change Colour in the Autumn:


Now let’s show you how we would take notes for this video.  First, we’d prepare our paper (or buy paper already prepared for Cornell Notes), drawing lines for a big Notes section, a smaller Cues section on the left, and a Summary section on the bottom:


Then when we start our lecture, we’d take quick notes on the major points, making sure to write down key terms like the names of the pigments. After the lecture, we’d check on the spelling of these terms to make sure they are correct in our notes.


Notice there’s a lot of space between the different sections. That way, when we review our notes later, there’s room to add anything we missed.  The little headings in the Cues section helps organize the different ideas.


Finally, after the lecture is over, we’ll re-read our notes (maybe check them with a friend or with the textbook), and then we’ll write a brief Summary.



Tracie, have your 6th grader watch this video series and take notes, as practice. Remember you don’t have to write down every word!  Just the key ideas. Use abbreviations when you can. 

One BIG advantage of watching videos is that you can pause, rewind, or even watch the whole thing over again if you didn’t understand it the first time. And you can post questions in the comments!

Thanks so much for sending in your question. We’re absolutely thrilled to think we are helping someone on the beginning of their journey to be a GREAT Student!! 



We recommend:

Cornell Notes style filler paper on Amazon:

Cornell Notes spiral notebook:

Tomato Timer (use this for the Pomodoro Technique):

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin (Chess Prodigy):

Amazon Used Textbooks – Save up to 90%

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!



To support more videos from Socratica, visit

Socratica Patreon

Socratica Paypal

We also accept Bitcoin! 🙂
Our address is: 1EttYyGwJmpy9bLY2UcmEqMJuBfaZ1HdG9


If you’d like to wear our Socratica shirts, please visit our CafePress site:
They ship worldwide!!

Grey hoodie here:









Why you should go to Summer School

School’s out for summer.


Wanted: one hammock. 

But that doesn’t mean you should turn your brain off!
In our latest Study Tips video, we give you (at least) 5 good reasons why you should go to Summer School:


Summer gives us the unique opportunity to learn anything we want, in a leisurely, indulgent fashion. Always wanted to learn computer programming? Try our Python Series!

Maybe you always thought Calculus was beyond you. Watch this video and tell me this beautiful branch of math doesn’t beckon to you:

Go on. Even if you don’t go to a summer school class, you can find something to keep your curiosity alive.

If you’d like to wear our Socratica shirts, please visit our CafePress site:
They ship worldwide!!

We recommend:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin (Chess Prodigy featured in Searching for Bobby Fischer)

Shop Amazon Used Textbooks – Save up to 90%

Don’t forget to check out our FREE educational apps on the Google Play Store.

If you’d like to support more great educational videos from Socratica, please consider becoming our Patron on Patreon!



Socratica has just started a new math series on Calculus.

Our first episode is an overview, called  What is Calculus :

This series stars our co-founder, Michael Lee Harrison.  Michael is a mathematician, who has a lot of valuable experience under his belt.  He got his BS in math at Caltech, and continued his studies at UC Berkeley and University of Washington . He holds an MS in math from UW and is ABD on his PhD…we’ll see if we can round up some more abbreviations for our next profile!

Michael taught math at the college level for several years, where he was a good-humoured and encouraging instructor.  He next went into finance, working as a “quant” (quantitative analyst).  He then worked at Google as a developer for five years before leaving to start Socratica.

You’ve seen Michael’s work on Socratica for years now, but this is the VERY FIRST TIME he has stepped in front of the camera.  More to come soon!


Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!

We’d love you to join our team on Patreon:





Our secret ingredient: Dog clickers

At Socratica Studios, we record our voice-overs with the aid of a secret weapon.


I recently had the chance to try this product from pet’s mum:

dog whistle bundle

They sent it to me free in return for my honest review (FTC disclosure).

Well, I tried it and it sort of worked.  The clicker worked, no problem.  But the dog whistle I could actually hear with my own ears.  I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to work that way. We’re tossing the dog whistle.  I think it’s probably mis-aligned, because I twisted it lots of different ways and it still made a whistling sound that I could hear.  The dog was nonplussed.

The clicker, on the other hand, is a keeper for sure.  Oh, it works fine for dog training.  But it REALLY works for recording voice-overs.

When we do VO work, of course we sometimes stumble.  We edit out all those mistakes before we put together the visuals to make the final video.  That can be tedious, listening carefully for mistakes and watching the waveforms to see exactly where the mistakes are.

So we use a dog clicker!

Dog Clicker visual

See the nice clean mark?  That’s me messing up. 

It makes a nice clean mark on the audio recording.  Hey presto – quick audio edit.

And this clicker comes on a cute little wristlet! No more losing them all over the house.


Here’s our latest example of a screencast with voiceover:  Significant Figures. 

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!

Don’t forget to check out our FREE educational apps on the Google Play Store.

Learn the Alphabet FREE app:

Try our 50 States Android App – it’s FREE on the Google Play Store:

Periodic Table App on Google Play

Socratica Patreon






SERIES PREMIERE – Study Tips – How to be a Great Student – Cornell Notes

This is the FIRST EPISODE of our new series on How to Be a Great Student! In this episode, we learn about the CORNELL METHOD.


This is a great method for taking notes in class (or from your textbook, or watching a video). There’s no way to remember every word of a lecture. But taking great lecture notes is the first step to getting good grades and being a great student.

The most important rule is don’t write down every word. Listen carefully, then write simplified and abbreviated phrases that capture the main ideas.

When you get home, RE-READ your notes! Proofread them, making corrections as needed before you forget. Check your notes with a friend! In the margin, write brief headers that will cue your memory of each section of your notes.

Finally, write a summary at the bottom of the page so you can quickly tell what this page of notes is all about.

Do you have a different method of taking notes? Let us know what are your favourite study tips in the comments!



Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss this exciting new series from Socratica:

And please share with all your friends. They deserve to be great students, too!

If you’d like to wear our Socratica shirts, please visit our CafePress site:
They ship worldwide!!

Don’t forget to check out our FREE educational apps on the Google Play Store.

If you’d like to support more great educational videos from Socratica, please consider becoming our Patron on Patreon!



Are you curious about how we filmed these videos?  Check out our episode of Socratica Backstage about this video shoot:  Socratica Backstage: Overhead Mirrored Shots

Watch the trailer for our Study Tips: How to Be a Great Student series



Socratica Backstage: Behind the Scenes look at Mirrored Overhead Shots

We’re launching a new series on Socratica called “Study Tips: How to Be a Great Student.” An essential part of the videos in this series will be overhead B Roll and Insert Shots, to demonstrate things like how to take notes, how to use flashcards, etc.

overhead camera rig

Where do you put this thing when you’re not using it?

Many people use a large frame and suspend a camera overhead in order to do overhead shots. It’s one thing if you’re using a GoPro, but this isn’t something you really want to do with a larger camera with a nice lens. Other drawbacks include the amount of space an overhead frame takes up, and the fact that the camera is not easily accessible. You can’t zoom in during a shot unless you have a sophisticated remote control setup. You can’t easily move the camera from its fixed position, which limits the kind of filmmaking you can do (no pans, tilts, or slider shots).

Today on Socratica Backstage, you can watch how we mounted a large mirror in order to do better overhead shots. We immediately put it to use, filming B Roll and Insert shots for our first video in the Study Tips series, “How to Take Great Notes.”


We release our Backstage Videos early to our Patreon Supporters.  Thank you for being our super-fans!  Your support means so much to us.

If you are not yet a supporter of Socratica, please visit our Patreon Page and consider joining our team. You’ll be supporting our efforts to make more high-quality educational videos. Thank you!

Don’t forget to Subscribe to Socratica!





Our Fab Music Videos with Kat McDowell

You hear a lot of advice as a small YouTube channel.  Make more videos!  Tweet every day!  Shareability!  Longer videos!  Likes! Annotations!  Ask them to Subscribe!

But the big piece of advice we never took was: COLLABORATE. 

rising tide lifts all ships

A rising tide lifts all ships, the saying goes, and the idea is that if your channel can help out another, you should do it.  And don’t worry about contacting a channel with more subscribers than you – you could be bringing in a brand-new audience to the bigger channel.  Everyone wins.

It’s easier said than done, of course.  We’ve tried to pull of collaborations before, but something always got in the way:  schedule conflicts, too big of a difference in style, lack of funds.

But this year, with the help of the YouTube NextUp program, we finally did it.  We made two videos with our friend Kat McDowell – one for her channel, and one for ours!

This time, everything went right, the stars aligned, and the fates smiled on us.  We met Kat at an event at YouTube Space LA, and we recognized her from one of our favourite music videos – her cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She’s a singer-songwriter from Japan and New Zealand, who makes “positive surf-pop” that will bring a smile to your face.

We knew we wanted to collaborate with Kat, but it was just a matter of finding a time and place to make it happen. Amazingly, we were both selected to take part in the YouTube NextUp program!  This meant we were in the same place at the same time for an entire week, with beautiful filming studios and tons of equipment at our disposal.


We hope you enjoy the videos as much as we enjoyed making them.

Here’s the video about Musical Harmony we made for our channel:


And here’s the music video “Human” we made for Kat’s channel:



Remember to tell your friends about Socratica Studios, and encourage them to try our videos and subscribe!


Subscribe to Socratica Studios

Subscribe to Socratica Kids

Support Socratica on Patreon

Don’t forget to check out Kat McDowell’s channel  for more beautiful music! 



Related Post:

Game Changer: YouTube NextUp

Our YouTube NextUp Classmates