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Creating Videos To Teach Neuroscience

Creating videos that teach complex topics like how neurons fire is a challenge for content creators. That’s one project that Oberlin College intern Carlos Armstrong faced when working with Nancy Darling on 1step2life – and app designed to help teens living with chronic pain get out of bed and take back their lives.

Intern working on computer to create video

Creating videos that teach complex topics like how neurons fire is a challenge for content creators. That’s one project that Oberlin College intern Carlos Armstrong faced when working with Nancy Darling on 1step2life – and app designed to help teens living with chronic pain get out of bed and take back their lives.

After doing research from a range of sources to find the most accurate information, we need to ask ourselves one key question:

What do our users need to know?

What teens and parents living with chronic pain are interested in is very different than the kind of information needed by a neuroscience student. After we do our research, then comes hard the part – writing clear accurate descriptions using words that everyone understands. Over and over again we ran into the same problem.

“The terminal axis releases neurotransmitters.”
“What’s a terminal axis?”
“What’s a neurotransmitter?”

“Can you tell what is what in this picture?

Spelling out the basics clearly so viewers would feel smart and interested rather than confused or talked down to was a challenge. It also taught us a lot, because it made us really dig into details that we’d just glossed over before. Both Nancy and Carlos finished our writing sessions knowing a lot more about about how action potential work than we did when we started. And a lot more about good scientific writing. icate.

Then came the drawings, simple animations, and sequencing. Laying out ideas in the right order in clear, accurate words was a great exercise in how to write well. It’s always harder to express complex ideas in fewer words than more!

Script done! Animation done! Next steps: Voicing and final editing.