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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can Videos Teach Us?

Certainly. Videos can transmit ideas and lessons to us. There are many children who utilize video-based curricula. I'm confident most turn out just fine. And I often link to TED Talks. Even so...

What do Dilbert, Calculus and Historical-themed-musical-spoofs have in common?

They are funny because we're already "in the know." Reading Dilbert does not prepare you for office politics. I'm pretty sure I couldn't find the velocity given a position, even after watching the video a few more times. And the references to what goaded the American Revolution are too subtle and quick in the song to really understand that conflict.

So what are such videos good for?

They connect to the stuff we already know. Often, such videos whet our appetite or pique our interest. These videos don't teach us as much as they remind and inspire us. On the other side of things, the failure of videos to teach babies language reminded me of the Baby Einstein lawsuit. Videos don't teach babies.


I wonder if it is because babies are still learning stuff. And to learn stuff--at least language--it appears that human interaction is required.

All this makes me glad that the educational videos I've produced are designed to supplement and reinforce your knowledge, not teach you outright.

So can videos teach us? I guess so. But I'm becoming more convinced video's true value rests in giving us one more "hook" to connect our knowledge to.

Of course, Draw Today is fantastic based on everything I've heard. And I do distinctly remember how to draw a candle after I saw a demonstration on TV. So... I'm not sure how this all breaks down, but it's fascinating.

Candle (or Dynamite)

Have you successfully utilized a video course? How did you like it? What do you remember learning from a video?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

Word of the Day
Obsequious: fawning; cringing submissiveness

Brought to you by John Holzmann


Catherine said...

Hmmmmmm. Not sure I'm completely on board with you here. Everyone learns differently. I prefer to learn from reading, but I also learn pretty well from lectures and video formats. My son has dyslexia and has trouble still reading to learn and learns best by listening. He learns far more by watching an hour of a documentary or other video than by reading a chapter in a book covering the same information.

But, you didn't really define "video". Some documentaries end up being so boring that only a highly motivated person could learn from them. Sometimes, a fictional movie contains enough "information" to teach us about a topic.

I think that all media has a place in education, but it can be widely variable among people.


Luke Holzmann said...

Great points, Catherine. I posted some vague musings and observations I'd been tossing around in my head for a while. I appreciate you taking the time to share your insights!



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