Maths everywhere
Maths everywhere

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Maths everywhere

Learning through video clips

The aim of the first three activities was to help you to answer the question ‘What does the term mathematics mean to you?’ Soon you will be asked to view a short video sequence that shows a collection of other people's responses to this question and others that you are trying to answer in this course.

Video clips are used in many OpenLearn units when it is the most suitable way of introducing some aspect of the topic being studied. Here are some of the reasons why video is used here:

  • to show events and places that cannot be easily experienced at first hand;

  • to save time: for example, in presenting statistical evidence of a study that took over a year to complete;

  • to provide dynamic visual images that aid learning;

  • to allow you to collect otherwise inaccessible data;

  • to provide motivation or trigger curiosity to help you work through a difficult topic;

  • to add variety to topics by giving alternative viewpoints or approaches.

Viewing video for learning purposes requires its own set of skills. Video material is often intensive and needs to be worked on actively and not merely passively ‘watched’. It is not a television programme for entertainment purposes. It is not ‘moving wallpaper’.

Although watching a video or television programme may well be an excellent aid to memory, a video clip for learning should not be used in isolation. Before watching, complete any preparatory work and find out what the video has been designed to do. As you watch and listen, try to think about the key points that are being made and how they relate to your understanding of the topic. Stop the clip whenever you need time to think about a point that has been made. One strength of video is that you can watch different parts again as often as you like.

In some video clips, concepts are built up by the rapid intercutting of visual images and such pictures can provides a powerful impact. However, the material being presented may represent just one of a number of possible viewpoints. Try to be critical—question and evaluate what you are viewing. Think about what may have been left out in creating the story, and whether this helps you to understand what is there

So, to the practicalities of viewing video clips.

  • Make sure that you can watch the video in comfort but that you are also in a position where you can make notes. Have a pencil and paper to hand.

  • Try to ensure that you have enough time to view the clip and respond to the sequence completely. For example, this first sequence itself lasts less than 15 minutes but you may find that you will need a clear half-hour to be able to view parts of it a second time and to do some writing.

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