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HS-Digital Video Library Features

The contents of the Harvard-Smithsonian Collection comprise four broad classes:

  • Clinical Interviews of Student Ideas
  • Demonstrations of Phenomena
  • Case Studies of Instruction or Research
  • Interviews with Experts

Each of these broad classifications is explained in detail below:

Clinical Interviews
Clinical interviews covering a broad range of topics with children and adults of all ages reveal how learners process ideas in science. The selections from MINDS OF OUR OWN include examples of middle school children's ideas about vision, college graduates' (including MIT engineers) surprising ideas about electricity, and interviews with high school students about circuits.

Demonstrations of Phenomena
Extensive depictions of physical phenomena include time lapse movies of the motions of stars and of a decomposing apple; computer animations illustrating transfers of energy and the exchange of molecules in photosynthesis; and live action demonstrations that show balls rolling on inclined planes and how surfaces reflect photons of light. Such materials are especially useful for those designing lesson plans to help students learn specific concepts, or to help teachers improve their mastery of content.

Case Studies of Instruction or Research
The Collection includes extensive footage documenting the process of teaching in action. For example, the Case Studies in Science Education Project followed two dozen different teachers at various points in their careers, documenting their teaching over a period of as long as two years. The Collection also includes examples of master teachers at work, showing how inquiry learning works in practice. Often entire class lessons have been followed over a protracted period of time. These provide teachers, teacher educators, and education researchers glimpses into classroom practice, providing a level of access that may otherwise be difficult to obtain.

The Collection also documents examples of research, both in science and education. PARALLAX 5 is a case study of a research project in astronomy, recorded over a period of ten years. Such case studies of research provide rare insights into the nature of science as well as views into the laboratory to reveal how science is pursued as a human endeavor. MINDS OF OUR OWN features classrooms taught by teacher-researchers Dottie Simpson and Jennifer Wright, colleagues of Dr. James Minstrel at Mercer Island High School. Such "expert" classrooms stand as models for how inquiry learning can be carried out in practice, and are useful for both in-service and pre-service teacher education.

Interviews with Experts
The collection contains interviews with experts in STEM research or education, including scientists, teachers, teacher educators, and education researchers. Dozens of well known education researchers are featured in the collection including the late education research pioneer, Rosalind Driver, as well as Peter Hewson, Joseph Novak, Jim Wandersee, Joan Solomon, Jere Confrey, and many others. Also included are interviews with "lay experts" such as parents speaking on education or students reflecting on their STEM learning.