I love this demo, but it’s one of those oddly bimodal ones – you can interact with it in two different ways:
- You throw marbles at it yourself, and stare at them. This is delightful, though rarely very informative.
- You’re led through a structured exploration by a demonstrator, as here. This is informative, but less delightful.
The challenge for the demonstrator is to balance their audience’s natural inclination to roll the marbles themselves with their inclination to retain control and direct attention. That is: play vs. lecture, or perhaps more appropriately here, interactive exhibit vs. demonstration.
We explore this a little in the forthcoming Demo film, which starts with a candle flame. We all love staring at the flames of an open fire, but we don’t necessarily learn very much about combustion by doing so. How we use a demonstration is perhaps more important than the demonstration itself. That’s certainly the case for teaching, and I suspect also true for storytelling.