The Theremin

This past Sunday on CBS Sunday Morning, I learned many interesting facts about Halloween, but one particular story struck me as purely educational technology genius.  It was scripted to teach about a very unique subject that many of us have overlooked even though we have all heard it played.  CBS presented a story about the theremin, one of the oddest musical instruments known to musicians.

Controlled without physical contact with the actual instrument, the musical technician intercepts electronic signals between two antennas to produce electronic sound on the Theremin.  The theremin created by the Russian spy of the same name is frequently heard in eerie and/or out of this world type movies, and it has even been adopted by The Beach Boys‘ in “Good Vibrations”  and various electronic guitar creations by  Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.  Even Bob Moog, the creator of the first synthesizers, credits the theremin in helping him understand and create digital keyboards with varieties of electronic sounds.

But I am writing not so much to discuss how very tricky it is to master this instrument as it is to describe a great educational technology story about technology.  CBS Sunday Morning knows how to tell at story and teach at the same time.  This short segment taught more about history, culture, electronic music, and politics in four minutes than most of us can teach in an entire week or month.  It reaches the audience, it adheres to academic goals, and it cleverly speaks to the learner.  It is the type of video that we should strive to create.

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