Great Explanations: Technology in Plain English

By Marilynne Rudick on June 7, 2010

I’ve spent a lot of my career explaining technology to non techies. After many years, I’ve gotten to think I’m good at it. Writing about technology in plain English is, in many ways, an unappreciated skill. If it reads so easily, people think, how hard could it be to write? And if it’s short, how long could it have taken to write? Take my word for it. It’s hard.

I’m not here to sing my praises, but to acknowledge Lee and Sachi LeFever, the brains behind Common Craft. Their genius is taking on often mystifying web technologies and explaining them not only simply and clearly but also making the topics fun. What’s more, they do it in three-minute videos. And they do it using the most primitive of technologies–paper cutouts pasted on a white board.

Common Craft videos are often my first stop when I have to explain a web technology. After a few attempts at writing about something they’d explained so clearly, I realized that there was no need to reinvent the wheel. Just link to their videos. You can see that many of the “Learn More” listings and Resources in WebOver50 posts are to Common Craft videos.

In addition to explaining technologies I know something about (blogs, RSS, social networking), they’ve done videos about topics I didn’t know much about (cloud computing) and topics that I didn’t even know I didn’t know (augmented reality!).

Take a look at their catalog of Videos on Technology in Plain English. There are 20 or so. At three minutes a pop, you can be totally web savvy in about an hour!

You can view Common Craft videos for free on their website, or on YouTube.

Categories: Blogging, eLearning, Fun!, Social Networking, Video
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