Status Update. New York, October 7, 2012

The below adds a few more listings 16-19 from my previous post of the top 20 things I need to be reading this fall:

16. Nina Simon’s Khan Academy and Online Free Choice Learning
17. Gretchen Jennings’s Museum Educators – What’s Next and a second post on the topic
18. Erin Branham’s First Steps to Embracing Digital Literacy for Musem Educators
19. Tina Barseghian, Mindshift Cathy Davidson’s blog
20. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour and Stephen’s Web ProfHacker
21. Will Richardson, Read. Write. Connect. Learn.
22. George Siemens, elearnspace

23. Drum roll… while although previously mentioned, but worth mentioning again as I consider ways that Khan himself scrupulously avoids posting his own face or other human faces in his video content, this link for MIT’s research about “the shaky hand” as a contributor to impactful learning online.  

The Shaky Hand

Much of the research that is worth examining has been conducted by Harvard and MIT, the very same universities seeking arguments that can bolster and strengthen the push towards MOOCs in the first place. The edX platform was envisioned not only as a means of delivering  course content, but also as a test bed for educational experiments.

This article outlines one of the first such experiments that have already been performed by an alumna of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, who is now working at Microsoft’s research lab in Bangalore, India. 

The researcher conducted a usability study in which students compared versions of video lectures in which diagrams were presented either as slick PowerPoint slides or as shaky hand drawings that took shape as the professor lectured, much as they might on a classroom blackboard.

Students  preferred the hand-drawn diagrams by a substantial margin. “It lets you pace  yourself,” Agarwal says. “The PowerPoint is going to flash a picture on the  screen, and you don’t develop the idea in the same way that you develop the  idea by drawing a picture on the chalkboard.”

I find that I connect to the concept of “the shaky hand” to the concept of sketching in a journal before presennting a final or finished work. The skecthes, the shakes of the hand, can be more easily understood precisely for their roughness and looseness. The concept of “the shaky hand” is especially interesting to me because I cannot fathom how videos about living artists wouldn’t include the face of the artists themselves. Is this an exception? The collection I work with now is one of humans that create objects. face of the artist speaking about the work would make such videos inaccessible or lessen their ability to connect audiences with the subject matter. Humans discussing artworks. Humans talking about other humans. If the artist is still alive, seeing the artist speak about his or her own work seems especially relevant.

I have felt free to speak and think about “collections” in dramatically different ways now that I am no longer working and teaching in a museum. Could a collection be of people? Of stories and texts? Filmed and captured in time?