Derek Owens is a high school (and homeschool) math and science teacher who uses videos to explain basic concepts from his science classes. These videos are great for teachers’ background knowledge. It’s possible that they could be used in some adult ed classes, but I see their main usefulness in building our knowledge as teachers and improving our ability to explain concepts in science. Owens uses a blackboard to illustrate the forces he describes in his videos and explains concepts in a very clear way. The videos from Owens are a resource that it would be hard to stumble upon, but these videos have been really useful for our curriculum writers who are looking for ways to explain electrical charge to students as part of a science curriculum on energy and matter.
The 3-video series on lightning is an engaging example of Owens’ style. The pace of the description moves slowly while he draws a scene with clouds, a house, a tree, a car and a person (all of which will be related to electrical charge), with plenty of time for the viewer to think about personal experience and connection to background knowledge. There are some concepts, such as charging by induction, that were introduced in a previous video, but the explanation is understandable without this information. Owens is also active on his YouTube channel, responding to questions from viewers. For example, he recently responded to a question about whether lightning comes from the ground or from the air:
“If I understand it correctly, it can go either from cloud to ground or from ground to cloud, and a typical bolt of lightning will involve several strokes back and forth. I don’t think it would meet in the middle, though. Also, however, it is my understanding that this is something that is not completely understood and is an area of active discussion and debate among scientists and meteorologists.”
On his YouTube channel, Owens has hundreds of videos on the physical sciences (ordered in relation to chapters of a book he used), as well as different topics in math. If you are a teacher who is feeling uncomfortable about teaching a new topic, this is a great place to get a friendly introduction to a basic explanation and examples you might use with a class.