Friday, June 26, 2015

Toilet Swirl

Yes, another science video, by the fellow I whose video I critiqued two weeks ago, Derek Muller. Muller has developed a series of videos on YouTube, and I had not ever seen one, so I though I'd take a look.

This video is about the Coriolis effect, an effect that results in atmospheric and oceanic currents moving clockwise in the Southern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the Northern hemisphere. A misconception is that this force can be experienced at a small scale, such as in a flushed toilet. (The video actually ends at 6:02. The rest is a plug for subscriptions.)

I referred to Jason Ohler's list of possible digital story evaluation traits to examine this story. I used three traits: flow (& organization and pacing), media grammar, and writing.

Flow: The video was very well organized, and used a variety of techniques to present different kinds of information that maintained the flow. The pacing was uneven, though - some of the transitions from section to section lasted a bit too long.

Media grammar: Media grammar refers to the conventions used in a given medium. This video used many different video recording techniques, plus additional videos, animations, and graphics. In all cases, the media were expertly constructed and presented.

Writing: I think it is safe to assume that a script and storyboard were used in this production. The writing was natural, precise, and concise. The overall plan of the video was effectively assembled. It reflected Muller's view (as explained in his research video that incorrect preconceptions need to be addressed and confronted in order for new concepts to be formed.

A final comment: the Coriolis effect can be quite difficult to explain. I felt that Muller not only provided the clearest explanation I have ever heard, but he accompanied it with a brilliantly simple and effective animation. I had also never seen a kiddie-pool demonstration of the effect before.

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