I’ve been writing and editing and producing videos for Socratica for a little over a year now. That’s been all behind-the-scenes work. It’s been gratifying to see my ideas take form and finally appear as a finished little movie on YouTube. Every now and then, however, I think maybe I have been a little too behind the scenes. We get comments on our videos sometimes – that are being performed by actors – “You’re so smart! How do you know all these things?” Errmmm. Our actors are very bright and thoughtful people, but it is a bit of an ego blow to think that the audience doesn’t realize there is a whole production team writing and editing that material for our actors to perform. I guess I know how most screenwriters feel. When was the last time someone fawned over the brilliant minds behind our most beloved movies? We give all of the attention to the faces on the big screen.
Not that I want to be signing autographs or anything. I think, for instance, that the cult of ego is taken to the extreme in some cases on online personalities. Look at Sal Khan, for instance, who Bill Gates called “the best teacher I’ve ever seen.” I guess he doesn’t know many teachers. That’s what happens when someone becomes an online celebrity instead of – well, instead of what I’m trying to be – a maker of beautiful, quality educational materials. It’s really okay if people don’t know my name, as long as they have found the best videos that help them learn.
This week, I made my first attempt at a screencast video, on one of the most common problems for chemistry students, “balancing chemical equations.” In this video, I work through 5 examples using the “inspection” or “trial-and-error” method. In a follow-up video, I’ll demonstrate solving the same examples using the algebraic method.
My latest foray into educational videos is still somewhat anonymous – I won’t appear in these screencast videos except for my voice. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually show my face in a video. And then WATCH OUT WORLD!
- Preparing for screencasting via storyboards (jasonrenshaw.typepad.com)
- Reflections on Tools to Present Content (cmgough.wordpress.com)
- How well does Khan Academy Teach? (Washington Post)
- Welcome to Socratica (The Socratica Method)