Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Seeing is believing

So what does one show?

Still photos are by definition a very poor way of capturing movement. They can totally miss its essence – or out of a single frozen instant, they can create a wholly misleading impression. When one uses still images to help communicate about communicate about Conductive Education, for technical or propagandising purposes these problems come swiftly to the fore, and can be used for good or for ill. I recall from twenty-plus years ago the agonising that we used to go through over whether we should use particular photographs – 'Yes, this one is a brilliant image but No, look at that position' etc., and of course, 'That's not a laugh, that's a spasm'. One can often tell today when looking at collections of photos, particularly now of course on websites, when there has been just such agonising – and when there has not.

I remember too when the first clunking video cameras became available. As far as movement per se is concerned, moving pictures go quite some way towards telling how it is though they can still misportray the whole picture as far as human movement is concerned. The basic problem still remains, however: what is good to show, illuminating and explanatory and what is thoroughly bad practice with with the added advantage (or further cause for confusion) of sound?

Now video cameras are no longer clunking great things and they come cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. Alongside this, it has become easier and easier and easier to upload a video sequence on to one's website, or on to YouTube etc, even if you have no site of your own. It will become cheaper and easier still, with as yet unforeseeable effects.

And the technological has advanced at such a rate! Only a couple of years ago, videos of Conductive Education on line were so rare that Conductive World used to list them the DIRECTORY on the left of this page. There came a point last year by which videos posted on line (and this includes of course professionally made stuff, usually from local TV newscasts) had become so two-a-penny that it was longer possible or even functional to list things in this way. If you want to find an online video of something that somebody calls “Conductive Education”, go to YouTube and take your chances. This morning, such a search came up with 156 hits:

And that is before you look elsewhere. Go to Google Videos and you will find 172. Search elsewhere, and on blogs and websites, and you will find yet more...

The good, the bad and the indifferent

Make no mistake about what is being said here, video is a brilliant medium for conveying Conductive Education, and free video on line for all is a most remarjable boon. Some of the stuff available on like is wonderful, especially sequences that link moving imaged integrally to informed and sensitive commentary. When such materials come to light, then Conductive World does its best to draw them to wider attention.

And there are some truly awful examples of practice up there waiting to be downloaded, to mislead parents and others with personal interest and to lend weight to the criticisms of those who oppose Conductive Education.

A general Internet problem then rears its head, one that is specific neither to Conductive Education nor to videos. We have a situation in which the indifferent and the outrightly bad are two a penny, the good are as rare as hen's teeth. The former just bury then latter and, when people who want to see and understand Conductive Education do shop around, the two-a-penny bad or indifferent coin can drive out the good.

What to do?

Who knows? Certainly not the gurus of the wider Internet. The little world of Conductive Education is stuck with the same emerging contradictions over Internet access and what it is going to do to our lives as is everyone else on the planet.Wthin the tiny world of Conductive Education, problems over duff videos on line probably pale into insignificance alongside some of the other potential effects of the Internet.

One ought, however, to be aware of some of the issues around online CE videos. Conductive Education may not have much 'literature', nor much research and academic enquiry relevant to the realities of users and providers, but there are occasional conferences, there are initial conductor-education courses, centres and programs surely have in-service training activities, and there are all sorts or channels to express things on the Internet itself. I have had conductors personally expressing very grave concern about some of the practice that they see portrayed in online videos, on the verge of tears even at what has been shown. Why is this not a topic for more public, explicit consideration?

Probably because there are so many other important matters about which one could ask the same question. How to prioritise? And anyway, this particular problem has come upon us so quickly that it may be particularly hard for institutions and the people who run them to recognise what is going on, never mind to adapt.

Again, nothing unique about the particular issue raised here!

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