tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post9125386628519527442..comments2024-05-16T03:17:10.010-04:00Comments on Devlin's Angle: The Problem with Instructional VideosMathematical Association of Americahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10559021045290192742noreply@blogger.comBlogger3125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-87069382342190289542013-02-12T05:16:43.211-05:002013-02-12T05:16:43.211-05:00Teaching science is frequently about correcting mi...Teaching science is frequently about correcting misconceptions since students have a lifetime of experience with things like forces and growing plants.<br /><br />The challenge with mathematics instruction, in my experience, is that students frequently do not have any misconceptions to correct. Frequently, students are a "blank slate" since they do not typically consider questions like "Is 1 = 0.999...?" or "What is the average value of a continuous function over an interval?" There is nothing in their daily lives to compel them to confront such ideas. At first blush one might be tempted to think that mathematics is easier to teach since students have fewer misconceptions to overcome; however, if you have ever tried to teach mathematics you know this is not the case.<br /><br />Abstract mathematical thinking is sufficiently different from the empirical thinking of science (broad brush strokes) that the effective instructional techniques of one do not necessarily inform the other.<br /><br />So to me it seems we are left with two takeaways...<br /><br />(i) Who, if anyone, is investigating the essential elements of an effective mathematics video? I think vihart.com is on the right track. With my students, I have seen her videos create mathematical curiosity, which is an important first step in mathematics teaching.<br /><br />(ii) The key to learning is cognitive effort on the part of the student under the guidance of an invested teacher/professor. If the technology employed does not force the student to mentally engage then very little learning will be achieved. It is for this reason that pencil and paper may just be the best educational technology ever conceived.<br /><br />My two pence, for what it's worth.Anonymoushttps://www.blogger.com/profile/00279301671110421767noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-69608004447283819822013-02-05T13:04:29.788-05:002013-02-05T13:04:29.788-05:00David, I think that could be very effective, but I...David, I think that could be very effective, but I fear that in general such an approach is probably not practical for a professor developing a MOOC under current circumstances. <br /><br />To cover the range of common misconceptions would require doing a lot of interviews, each of some length, and then spending a lot of time editing to select interviews that work well pedagogically, and in those to focus on the crucial misunderstandings. <br /><br />Derek Muller clearly devotes a lot of time to this. A typical professor simply does not have that time, and I suspect few would have the interest to do it, as it takes them well away from their main professional activities. Put simply, making good videos is extremely time consuming! (Influenced by the flavor of Khan Academy videos, in my MOOC, I deliberately set out to make my videos look “amateurish” and not staged, complete with mistakes I correct on camera, but that took a significant amount of time to set up, given that the aggregate content had to be clear and correct.)<br /><br />On the other hand, with recorded educational materials, they only need to be made once, and can then be re-used many times with each new class of students, so it would make sense if professors who wanted to prepare such videos could obtain funding to buy time and pay for someone to work with them on the recording and editing. Maybe that is a development we will see. I think it's definitely worth a try, and given the millions of dollars that educational philanthropists and investors are cuurrently pouring into initiatives that we *know* cannot work, it would be genuinely helpful if they were to support such an experiment.<br />Keith Devlinhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/16899343259650938644noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2516188730140164076.post-14064242333420498712013-02-04T15:10:09.276-05:002013-02-04T15:10:09.276-05:00I wonder how successful a video which is less of o...I wonder how successful a video which is less of one person talking and more of a conversation between an expert (yourself) and a novice (a student with some misconceptions).<br /><br />You could model the use of the language and mathematical thinking in your conversation with the student, check for and challenge the misconceptions of the student.<br /><br />Basically, it would look like a one on one tutoring session filmed.Davidhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08098221991466148258noreply@blogger.com