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Media, Rapid Authoring, Teaching, and 'Where Good Ideas Come From'
October 21, 2010 - 10:01pm

We live in a great time, a time when books and media can seamlessly complement each other. I love short videos about books and their authors. Amazon has done a great job of making these videos available, and one of my favorite resources is Authors@Google.

The video below synthesizes the book I just finished, Steven Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. Discovering the video after reading and blogging the book added new layers to my enjoyment and thinking about Johnson's work.

If you have not read the book, the video in no way spoils anything. Quite the contrary, I think you will be motivated to put Where Good Ideas Come From on your list after viewing.

The other thought I had after watching the video is that this is the sort of work I want our students to be able to accomplish. Shouldn't our students learn to communicate visually and to tell stories with video, in the same way they learn with text? No 5 minute review or synthesis of Johnson's book can ever be as compelling as the video below - sometimes video is the most persuasive way to communicate.

The skills on display in the video below are somewhat technical, but I think mostly story telling. The technical authoring bar will continue to be lowered, allowing people with a wide range of skills to create short media for the Web. This is already occurring, as authoring tools like Techsmith's Jing, iMovie, Screenflow, Captivate, and many others become better, cheaper, and simpler. The rate limiting step is no longer the tools, but our ability with the these tools as educators and therefore our blind spot in not including multi-media authoring as one type of active learning we ask our students to engage with.

Are any of you using simple authoring tools to have your students create projects in addition to papers and presentations?


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