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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Art of Explanation - A Review and a Conversation With Lee LeFever

A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of Lee LeFever's new book The Art of Explanation. Many educators are familiar with Lee's work through his Common Craft videos. In The Art of Explanation Lee takes us through the process of crafting explanations that reach large audiences. The book isn't a "how-to" on the technical side of creating Common Craft style videos. Rather it is a walk through of what makes a good explanation whether that explanation is made in person, in video, or in a podcast. Of course, Lee points out when video is and isn't the best choice too.

Yesterday, I sat down and recorded a short video interview with Lee. In the video I ask Lee about the difference between fact telling and story telling, what makes an effective explanation, and for his advice for teachers who want to have their students create Common Craft style videos. At the very end you'll also get the "behind the scenes" story of Common Craft's first video.



Applications for Education
As Lee points out in his book, one of the challenges that experts face is "the curse of knowledge." The curse of knowledge is basically knowing so much about a topic that you forget that what you take for granted is not as easily understood by non-experts. Explaining things is something that we do every day in our classrooms and I know that I'm guilty of sometimes suffering from the curse of knowledge. Lee's book can help you break this curse and create better explanations.

Disclosure: I did receive a review copy of The Art of Explanation from the publisher. 

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