December 31, 2014 by Mike
Ever since their inception by Michael Faraday way back in 1825, the annual Royal Institution Christmas Lectures have been one of those traditions that remain fresh as ever. A staple part of the British festive television diet for decades and, even if now relegated to BBC4, this year’s series have been a particularly good illustration of just how to make science accessible to everyone.
Presented by Newcastle-born Danielle George, Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering (and Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching) at Manchester University, the series has really brought modern technology to life as well as providing a fascinating glimpse into its likely future. From turning members of the audience into a musical instrument to using an entire London office block as a games console for a giant game of Tetris, Danielle has brought the ultra-moden into the stuffy historic setting of the RI to enthral her audience in what has to be the quickest half-hour of each day’s TV viewing.
With the continued explosion in the classroom use of learning technologies and all the hype (including from me!) surrounding the blended approach to delivery, it’s very easy for critics to falsely proclaim that the old-fashioned lecture format is dead. If she has taught us anything over the past few days, Danielle has illustrated beautifully why this simply is not – and should not – ever be the case. Done properly, as this masterclass in teaching shows us, the lecture still has a valid place in modern education and I for one hope it always will.
If you’ve not seen these lectures, here’s a taste of what you missed!