February 16th, 2022 by Anastasia Procner

Brains and Behavior – intricate explainer videos with Monica Thieu

Podcast with Monica Thieu

Monica Thieu is a PhD student of psychology and assistant teacher at Columbia University, and her explainer videos on the brain’s role in visual perception are sure to inspire you all.

That’s why, for this first-ever episode of our EdTech Talks video podcast, we invited Monica in to tell us why and how she does what she does, and teach us all something in the process.

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Videos explaining complex ideas

Every explainer video creator has their own way of creating their explainer videos, their own distinct style. Recently, we talked to a teacher who emphasized the importance of keeping this simple so as to keep her special ed students focused. Monica’s audience is different, and so are her approach and her results. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything so intricate – her videos look nothing short of a professional production!

Let’s take a look!

Supplementing textbooks with video

Textbooks can only be updated every so often, and sometimes they don’t cover a topic as well as or the way we would like it them to. In fact, that’s what motivated Monica to start making explainer videos in the first place. The way she sees it, being able to make your own educational materials really lets you take control of your courses. 

It was freeing to know it’s okay if a textbook doesn’t cover something to the degree that we want to, because we can teach it some other way. – Monica Thieu

Learn why it’s worth to create own learning materials:

Tailoring lectures to students’ learning styles

Reading printed text is not the best way to learn for everyone, and nobody knows that better than Monica, who quite literally specializes in how our brains process incoming visual stimuli. Luckily, 21st century edtech lets teachers and students choose from different, more tailored strategies and solutions, and video materials are definitely one of them. In fact, research shows that combining verbal and visual representations increases understanding as well as test results1

Really well produced video goes a really long way…sometimes watching something that’s been pre-recorded is actually going to be better than a live experience. – Monica Thieu

Recyclable, editable video materials

Monica’s videos can take a few hours to make, and it’s no surprise considering how detailed they are! Explain Everything’s flexible Timeline lets users scroll through their recording and select the precise moment when they would like to add illustrations or other objects to the canvas. This takes away the stress of having to try to get everything right in one go and lets creators really take their time. And they can come back to old videos and add/remove/edit parts of their recordings as needed, too. 

Unsurprisingly, Monica gets a lot of compliments on her explainer videos, but she is quick to point out that anyone could do it!

People in my department are sometimes like, how do you do that? It’s so nice, I could never make something this nice! But you can – because you don’t need to get everything right in one go! – Monica Thieu

Listen to Monica explaining how important it is to be able to edit your videos:

Create explainer videos like a pro!

Would you like to start creating explainer videos like Monica Thieu?

Check out the full EdTech Talks episode to watch her do it and learn from the best!

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Anastasia Procner Explain Everything

Monica Thieu talked to Anastasia Procner – Explain Everything Online Instruction Specialist, ESL Instructor and Psychology student.

See more stories from educational experts.

1Mayer, Richard E., Anderson, Richard B. The instructive animation: Helping students build connections between words and pictures in multimedia learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 84(4), Dec 1992, 444-452