When I set up my website, www.quantumboffin.com, it was not intended to replace experimentation in the classroom but merely to present a means of sharing good practise with colleagues in other schools. Shortly after posting my first videos, however, I stumbled across something potentially very interesting: When, on an occasion, an experiment failed to work as I had intended I turned to one of my video clips. To my surprise my pupils seemed more engaged in the video then they had been in the original experiment, even though the video was one of me performing the very same experiment in the very classroom we were in.
Now I have absolutely no intention of ever abandoning experiments, nor do I suggest that other people do the same, but this experience does suggest something very revealing: In this media obsessed age do pupils respond better to videos of experiments than to experiments performed live before they're very eyes? Perhaps it's worth giving this a little thought.