Demonstration: Visualisation in Class

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Demonstrating specific learning content often makes that content more clear.  

What is a Demonstration? 

As a lecturer you can demonstrate a situation, a device, a test or other technique. It is an excellent opportunity to activate your students, e.g. by having them imitate the demonstration or by letting them participate in it. 

A demonstration supports the students’ learning process by visualising specific concepts. Because students see what happens, they visualise those concepts correctly. This visualisation then triggers associations, making it easier for your students to remember the concepts. 

When to Rely on a Demonstration?   

Use a demonstration to: 

  • help your students understand an abstract fact, concept, connection or method; 
  • help your students understand how a particular technique works; 
  • help your students memorize the learning material better because it allows them to both see and hear it; 

What Points to Consider in Planning a Demonstration? 

Perform a Trial Run 

Make sure to practise the demonstration in advance. Do not make the demonstration too long (15 to 20 minutes). In this way, the students will stay focused. 

Consider all the Steps of the Process 

What feels like a routine action to you is new to your students. So be explicit about everything you do during the demonstration. 

Consider the Timing  

Take into account the following practical elements: do you want to surprise your students with the demonstration, or is it a planned activity? Is it important to first offer your students a clear framework, or do they only need it afterwards? Is the classroom suited to carry out your demonstration?  

Plan the demonstration at the beginning of class or after the break. This gives you plenty of time to set up and prepare the material. 

Actively Engage your Students in the Thought Process 

Encourage your students to play an active role in the demonstration. Ask them about potential problems that may arise, what conclusions that can be drawn, etc. If possible, allow them to experiment during the demonstration. 

Choose a High-Quality Demonstration 

There is no need for wild ideas or spectacular materials. What is important, is that you choose the material with the utmost care. This may take time. 

End your Demonstration with a Conclusion 

Be careful to leave the demonstration open-ended. Explain your/its intention, how the demonstration relates to the learning material, and what the students can learn from it. 

Make your own document reader

If you want to film a certain action or write something out on paper, you can use a document reader. In some faculties you can borrow one, but if you don't have one you can easily make one yourself. 

What you need:

  • Smartphone (preferably with power supply)
  • Smartphone holder (e.g. selfie stick or something similar)
  • A glass with a stone or weight inside to prevent the glass from falling over.

Foto opstelling documentenlezer 1 Foto opstelling documentenlezer 2

This set-up allows you to make a video that you can put on Ufora, but it also allows you to do a live demonstration during class. 

In an online class via MS Teams or Zoom, for example, you can attend one online session with two devices: One time via your computer and one time via your mobile phone by using the MS Teams or Zoom app. This way other participants will be able to see the sheet or your hands through the camera of your mobile phone. 

Another possibility is to use an external app such as Iriun webcam. (Free software, does not work on the eduroam network for example). This allows you to 'operate' everything from your computer, but your mobile phone becomes an extra wireless webcam, which also allows you to switch between all the webcams that are connected.

Want to Know More? 

  • Bijkerk L., van der Heide W., (2006) Het gaat steeds beter! Activerende werkvormen voor de opleidingspraktijk, Houten, p.152-153 
  • Standaert R., Troch F., (1997), Leren en onderwijzen, Inleiding tot de algemene didactiek, Acco: Leuven, p.126-128. 
  • Expertisecentrum Hoger Onderwijs, (2013) Vijftig onderwijstips. Garant, Antwerpen. 

Last modified Sept. 13, 2021, 9:56 a.m.