When I was in middle school – we were shown a movie about Donald Duck and fractions. From that entire year of school, that Disney film is the only memory I have retained. I always wondered what it was about that experience that made it stay in my memory – even decades later – while everything else that occurred in those months was forgotten.
That question played a major role in my decision to start graduate school. I wanted to find out how people learn. I wanted to understand how technology can support that learning?
I think that videos can introduce a student to a topic at a different level than a lecture or reading text.
For example – I saw a documentary on the National Geographic Channel – Called “A Very Deceiving Night”. It was about the Titanic – but, it was centered around the research by Tim Maltin and his work to solve the ultimate mystery of the tragedy.
For a hundred years the world has asked how this ship, a magnificent creation of the most technologically advanced design and construction of its time, could end up torn and scattered at the bottom of the sea on its maiden voyage. The loss of life was unimaginable. 1500 people died that night.
The video was so well crafted that I was immediately part of the drama and mystery of the event. I wanted to know how this could have occurred. And so I read Tim Maltin’s book. I don’t generally spend time reading books that are about the sea, the Gulf Stream, or how light bends across the horizon – but, I was drawn into it, and immediately read every page. I was fascinated with the roles of refraction and temperature.
I could not resist the enthusiasm and focus of this Researcher, Tim Maltin. I was inspired by his determination to find the scientific answers to these questions.
The fact is that the video impressed me so much – I wanted to learn more – and so I read the book on my own. I continued to seek out more documentaries and writings about the topic. This for me is an example of how video can engage a student in a topic, and inspire the student to continue to explore and learn on their own. I feel that this represents an example of how technology can facilitate learning in an authentic way.