In this YouTube video segment of Secrets of the Mind, Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran, an expert on neurological deficits, explains his research on why phantom limb pain occurs. He offers a neurological explanation in the somatosensory cortex for feeling or pain in a missing limb. The video (12:34) includes the personal experiences of his patients. It can be used for supplementing reading assignments in introductory Psychology, Biology, or Neuroscience classes, or as an in class video assignment to stimulation discussion.
Type of Material:
• This can be used as an in class presentation to spark discussion (lecture + team) or as a supplement to the textbook reading assignment (homework, individual).
• The video would be useful in Introduction to Psychology, Physiological Psychology, Sensation & Perception, Clinical Psychology, or Health Psychology to address the complexities of phantom limb and the plasticity of the brain.
The learning object is a Youtube video with auto-generated closed captioning in English. Viewers will need Internet access and any browser capable of accessing and playing YouTube.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The learning goals for this video would be for learners to describe what happens in the phenomenon known as phantom limb. They should be able to discuss how the brain is capable of rewiring itself during the process of losing a limb, and name the brain regions where the process occurs.
Target Student Population:
The video is appropriate for learners at the introductory levels of psychology, biology, or neuroscience. It would also be valuable for individuals who have gone through or are going through the process of losing a limb.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
• This video narrates the seminal story of how phantom limb came to be understood today. It is an excellent short history of the subject matter, filled with relevant, accurate, and first person accounts of the disorder. It is an excellent demonstration of the concept.
• The presentation is brief yet provides enough information for follow up appropriate at the course level of the student. The explanation of the effect in the somatosensory cortex is clear.
• The video itself is somewhat dated (17 years old).
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
• This video could be embedded on a class learning platform very easily, along with the relevant information concerning identification of learning objectives, prerequisite knowledge, how it can be used in the course, or how it could be integrated into course assignments or assessments.
• Students can watch this video on their own for later discussion or it could be presented in class. The explanation is accessible to undergraduates at many levels.
• Since the video was not produced as a class activity, instructors will need to develop the activity or assignment into which the video would be embedded.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
• The material is engaging and presented in a way that introductory learners could come away with an excellent understanding not only of phantom limb pain itself, but the story about how it was initially explored in a research setting. The purpose of the material is easily conveyed and the YouTube interface is easy to use. It has closed captioning for people with hearing impairments.
• The video itself is not high resolution.
Other Issues and Comments:
The MERLOT peer reviewers suggest that any course that uses this video embed it in the course's online learning platform (Blackboard, Moodle, etc.) so that the relevant information regarding its use as a teaching tool can be displayed (including learning goals, how it could be used in an assessment, what concepts it reinforces).
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