Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pop Science

I would really like to have the time to make science-y videos. I love seeing people who do a good job of promoting and popularizing science. The best are the humble ones who never fail to make you feel small in comparison to a blue whale or the universe. I even like the ones aimed at kids, now that I have one of my own. I missed the Bill Nye craze by a few years as a kid, but he had a really great show. And Sabrina Cruz from Crash Course Kids has made a treasure-trove of teaching materials for children.

On youtube I also really like Vi Hart and Brainscoop (Emily Graslie of the Chicago Field Museum). I realize, though, that the videos they make take a lot of effort to produce something interesting to watch. At the University of Leicester we've just rolled out "lecture capture" so all my teaching is automatically recorded. And I am using the ExplainEverything app to present and record my teaching, which is more blackboard-style than Death by Powerpoint. But recording a lecture in a classroom doesn't normally make for an accessible, interesting video. When I saw what FutureLearn produced after we shot a few scenes for the Monitoring Climate from Space MOOC, I started to understand how much time and energy goes into producing a high-quality video.  I admire the results of high-quality DIY efforts even more now that I appreciate better what it takes to do a good job.

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