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Peer Review

Blue Man Group Rods and Cones from Venetian (HQ)

by Blue Man Group


Overall Numeric Rating:

3.5 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 30, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: “Blue Man Group Rods and Cones from Venetian” is a short video of the Blue Man Group performing while a narrator describes basic components of the visual system. The video is short and lasts four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Concepts introduced in the video are the functions of the rods and cones of the eye and persistence of vision. The video could be used as a tool to introduce those topics in a physiology or neurology course and to create excitement for the students. This YouTube video combines artistic elements of color and music by the Blue Man group with basic concepts of vision. It is engaging and accurate.
Type of Material: YouTube video.
Recommended Uses: In-class introduction to vision or reinforcement of concepts Could be used to integrate science and artistic presentation This video could be used as an introduction to the neurophysiology of the eye to create excitement for the students.
Technical Requirements: Browser and best with a wide band internet connection, either hard wired or wireless.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
  • Explain how eyes detect light
  • Explain how eyes detect color
  • Understand the basic processing of images by the brain and the phenomenon of visual persistence
  • Students will be able to describe the basic functions of the rods and cones
Target Student Population: High school and lower level college to professional school.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No prerequisites required.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
  • The content described is accurate.
  • The video does not attempt complicated explanations--focuses on three simple concepts in vision--rods, cones, persistence
  • Concepts simply and accurately presented
  • Method of presentation will engage students
  • Students will need to focus on the concepts rather than being immersed in the artistic presentation. Hopefully they will do both
  • Concepts presented are very limited and without significant detail
  • The educational content is weak and lacks substance
  • Some of the words used are not scientific such as “Hellawhack Shiznit” and “Brizzle”
  • During the description of which colors the cones detect, the words “Naked People” appear before the word “Blue”. This may not be appropriate for all audiences
  • The last minute of the video is just the Blue Man Group performing and contains no educational content

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars
  • The presentation will engage students. It is only 4.5 minutes long and could easily be viewed several times in succession
  • The combination of a small chunk of content embedded in a visual and aural presentation will engage multiple senses and keep student interest
  • The video is short and provides a general introduction to rods and cones of the eye
  • The video could create excitement to learn about the eye
  • Multiple senses are engaged during the video including audio, visual, and text
  • There is minimal factual content
  • The video is not interactive
  • There are no objectives listed
  • The video lacks flexibility or versatility of use

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
  • Easily viewed by anyone with an internet browser and sufficient bandwidth to download
  • The video is well done
  • The video is visually appealing
  • None

Other Issues and Comments: We frequently read that engagement of multiple senses will improve both student engagement and retention of knowledge. This learning object will do both. However, it will need to be used in proper context of the material being presented in a course.