Monday, September 28, 2009

The use of visual communication

In my opening post I briefly discussed the importance of science communication. As it is important for a variety of reasons, it must also be effective. Effective science communication can be measured in part by accuracy, the quantity of people reached, the amount understood and retained by the viewer/listener, and the level of intrigue raised by the communication piece. A primary effective means of communicating science that has recently arisen in both the classroom as well as the public is the use of film and video. For example, the recent, popular, films March of the Penguins and Earth have incited a new level of intrigue among thousands of Americans regarding the natural processes of the earth in which we live. Dr. Randy Olson, a film-maker and biologist, understood the effectiveness of film in science communication when he wrote & directed a number of independent short films regarding biological processes, as well as a full-length documentary regarding the Evolution Vs. Intelligent Design controversy. This short film, concerning barnacle mating, was shown in a biology class I took during the Spring of 2007. Highly effective, everyone in my class enjoyed viewing this video and, of course, remembered what they saw and learned. During the Spring 2009, I was studying marine biology in Costa Rica. While on a field trip in Guanacaste, a classmate and I were exploring the beaches and found some barnacles on a rock.
I immediately recognized the organism from the video I had watched in class 2 years prior, and recalled the interesting facts I had learned about barnacles and their copulating powers. Here is another video by the same film-maker which I also find to be very effective. It is funny, educational, and easily remembered.

1 comment:

  1. It's often hard to tell when students are enjoying the Olson videos, or when they are just offended.
    What do you think of all the Ardipithecus coverage in the news and on science blogs. Is it being overhyped? How is it being handled?