Upon closer inspection, my 5-part geoscience educational video blog idea was a huge endeavor. While trying to set up a matrix of how to compare the the videos, I did a comprehensive search of video resources.
THERE ARE SO MANY!!!! For better or worse, there is a lot of material out there. Based on the many teachers I have interacted with through my job in an education/outreach office at a scientific society, I have discovered that the majority of K-12 Earth science educators, may not have a formal background in the science. I can't imagine trying to tease out the nuances of which videos to incorporate in a lesson, or in their own informal training, or which may actually be broadcasting an inaccurate message.
The project in its first iteration seemed too large in scale and could risk misrepresenting the scientific messages, or even worse the educational value. I have found videos produced by major production entities such as Discovery, the Science Channel, or National Geographic, to those heart-felt videos produced by the enthusiastic science teacher. I want to give them all proper credit and not rush my simple analysis.
The overall concern I have, and one that covers all manner of educational/informational geoscience videos, is that many of them are lacking thoroughness. I find myself getting excited to see an idea demonstrated and its either not shown (perhaps lost in post-production?) or the description is difficult to follow (perhaps a supplemental animation would help?). Which brings me to my biggest concern: how do we, as a scientific/educational community synthesize with artists/media producers to provide educational video producers with these resources.
If I remember correctly an animation we had done ended up costing upwards of several thousand dollars. We are a formal institution and even that hit us hard. It was totally worth it, but my goodness, the average educator hardly has access to such funds. Do we rely on for-profit entities who may privatize their materials to licensing institutions? Do we rely on the government who lists them on difficult-to-navigate sites, and who are constantly challenged for their funds? Do we rely on passionate educators who bring enthusiasm even if it is at the detriment of some of the major scientific concepts?
I don't have an answer yet. I may never have an answer, but I've decided I like watching these videos, and maybe a slightly-lost educator out there will find this blog helpful. And maybe it'll be a resource, with connections to the internet-geoscientist community. Its a community I've grown to respect, and now endeavor to be part of. They provide real-time feedback to questions, from experts who make themselves accessible.
I look forward to feedback and criticism of my analysis. It can only seek to further the discussion on geoscience education. Plus we'll all get to watch some sweet videos!