>Do you ever demo clay under your Elmo for your students?
For about the same money as a limited use Elmo style camera, you can
purchase a pretty good quality mini digital video camera and a light
weight tripod. I have used the Elmo style podium cameras for some
things, but if I had budget for only one or the other, I would opt
for a small digital video camera because of the increased
versatility. Video cameras now come with remote controls. The
little cameras have a swing out LCD view finder that pivots so you
can see your own demo in it. It is self-focusing. The remote can
zoom it so the students can see things sharp and close.
I no longer believe so much in the use of demonstrations, but there
are still a few things for which I have failed to devise a better way
for a beginner to learn a process. I think many things can be better
learned by having students do some preliminary hands-on practice in
response to teacher coaching. However, I still find demos to be the
best way to begin the teaching of throwing on a wheel. I insist on
practice as soon as possible after the demo because students miss so
much from a demo and what they see they forget very soon.
I have often rigged up a mini digital video camera above my head so
the class can see from my vantage point as I work. It can take a bit
of wire and/or duct tape to hang a little tripod from above. The
camera comes with wiring to hook it up to a video projector or
monitor (placed beside the teacher). Often I just tape the tripod to
the top of TV monitor and cantilever the camera over my head at an
angle so it can see what my hands are doing. Small cameras are
easier to secure this way. As a bonus, you get a video tape (or a
DVD with some cameras). Students who miss class can watch it.
Students who were only half there can also review the tape when their
own efforts indicate that they must have missed a few essentials.
The tapes can easily be copied to DVDs or VHS if it is something to
be frequently reviewed.
A video camera can also be used for animation projects. For those who
have student teachers, they can use video tapes of their class
presentations and and interactions for their own learning and for
their DVD resumes. I learned quite a bit when I first watched myself
If you teach throwing, the essence of my intro to throwing demos from
the overhead camera angle is at this web site. The web site is not
video, but you will see the same camera angles that I used with video
in clay classes.
Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526
studio phone: 574-533-0171
"You can't never know how to do it before you never did it before."
... a kindergarten boy working with clay for the first time.