Monday, October 15, 2012

Fight in the Dining Hall: A Research Allegory

I know it's been quiet here on the blog--it's been a busy fall in many ways. But tonight I finished a project I've been thinking about for a while, and I wanted to share.

When I talk to students about research, I always talk about trying to get as close to the original source as possible. This often comes up in discussions about Wikipedia, when I point students to the Reference list at the bottom of articles (which few of them had noticed before). The analogy I usually use is to explain that research works kind of like gossip--the story can get distorted the farther you get from the original source. I often create a version of the story depicted below involving students in the class. Using the gossip analogy has often helped students grasp the "get to a primary source" idea.

I'd been toying for a while with the idea of creating some sort of video to illustrate the story, but I don't have a lot of film making expertise. But as I was playing with apps for some different projects, I had an "aha!" moment about how I could make this project.

I used Skitch (to make the drawings) and Explain Everything (to create the video) on my iPad to make the video. I can't decide if it's nerdtastic, or the most nerdtastic thing I've ever made, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out.