No hugs, no harm…


Over the Hedge

I’m sure there are many people out there who feel the same way as Sammy and RJ – that the studio is a soul less entity. But even if you buy into those “set painter” PSAs that the studios ran a while back, reminding us that there are real people impacted by piracy. It seems that in light of ACTA and the feeling that many, including myself, get that this agreement would further remove the finished product from those that create it… it would almost seem laughable to think that piracy impacts the “boots on the ground” in any real way anymore.

More epistimology from Over the Hedge

Over the Hedge
It seems that both the Tree and Verne have a point, everyone has a right to an opinion, even when we believe certain topics are immutable and absolute truth. Just take a look at the Stop Fox News North blip over the past few days.

Over the Hedge
But it seems to me that Tree has got it right… there is a balance somewhere between ignorance and intellect, science and superstition. On the whole it will lean toward Science and Intellect because our societies need systems to function, not only microwaves, but other mundane things like governments as well. But we also need some of the “other” side… without it, I think we lose some of the wonder in our world. We’d lose pregame rituals, letting kids grow and learn according to their needs. It seems we have gotten very good at over thinking things and trying to measure everything, because we can. I don’t think we’ve often stopped to think about if we should. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, and that lucky coin is really what got things done.

Only informed opinions matter?

Over the Hedge
According to RJ and Verne, that seems to be the case. It also seems to be the case that anyone can have an informed opinion. I guess it really only matters where one sets the bar. Beyond the comedy of the strip above, it suggests that the ages old debate that happens in Education faculties the world over on “secret” or “alternative” curricula, is still out there.

Almost anyone can be informed about any given set of topics, but who is it that allows those topics to be worthy of study? Can it be said that the childish distractions that existed in the early ’80s are not worthy of being studied today? I’d say not, because those children who were distracted are now the ones who are doing the studying. Those children saw something in their world, learned about it and then systematized it to a point where they could share, or teach it, to others. So Verne’s lament may not really be appropriate as teachers could be anywhere, as long as there is a topic to observe.

Anyway, a few deep thoughts for this first day back to school, or first day of school period.

All hail the Buckycord!

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really like the “e” or the “digital” that gets tagged on an older technology to define it as “new” – especially when that “new” is now over a decade old. It seems that Bucky Kat has picked up on this and has come up with the next modifier, but unlike the others, I think I can really get behind this one.


Get Fuzzy

The Manga Bible and other Communications that cause grief


I’m not a very religious person, and I’m certainly not about to align myself with any given religion, but I think what is mentioned in this quite two minute report about the Bible is something that has analogues to many other systems that are experiencing change. Szwedowska “warns” that this version of the Bible is only one individual’s interpretation of the document, causing me to think… isn’t any given edition one “entities” version/interpretation of the document? It’s not like there is an officially sanctioned version that has been crowd sourced and bound for use is there? It seems that the change that the people who object to this are having problems with is the presentation and interpretation of information that was common an familiar in another form. The Bible as a document has been changed many times from gilded pages scribed by monks to black and white editions that are available on the iSlate platform. Through each of these transitions, the core message has been delivered by the text, and there has been some augmentation provided by the decoration on the page. This is the first time that the decoration of the page seems to have really taken center stage.

Manga uses art as one of the major content vectors and as a unique art form, it has certain strengths and weaknesses and lends itself to stories in different ways. This version has been criticized for being too violent by some but some (Manga Life) say that this is the first time that the comicification of the Bible has been done right:

As a child that was raised Lutheran, I was exposed to some truly awful Christian comics. They were poorly written affairs with bad dialog and no sense of humor, pacing, and no knowledge of what youths like to read whatsoever. The comics preached and left the reader feeling depressed. Every so often, such as in the case with the comic book adaptation of Hal Lindsey’s hallucinogenic, paranoid apocalyptic bestseller of the 1970s, The Late, Great Planet Earth, they could even traumatize.

So far, the Manga Bible doesn’t do any of that. Instead, it tells a complicated story as simply and as optimistically as possible and with as little preaching as a religious comic can get away with. It didn’t have that slimy feeling that usually comes when a religion starts using a form of entertainment for propaganda purposes, which already puts it miles ahead of most Christian forms of “entertainment.”

So what are the other communications that cause grief? Well any that are moving into a new media with the assumptions that they can use the production sensibilities of the old media and still succeed. They fail to realize how those who succeed with new media forms are those that invest into the new form while taking the best or relevant elements from the old format. Regardless if this change is moving a course from f2f to online, or if it is moving school communications from a flyer to an RSS feed. Moving into the new media space is going to require effort and resources to deal with the elements that are at the core of it’s abilities.

So what is the bottom line of this post? If you are going to change the way you communicate, you have to know your audience and you have to embrace the strengths of the new technology by bringing forward only those elements that are essential from the previous format. There will always be those who will use the metrics of the previous form to judge the new form, but those critiques are likely from slow or non adopters who are not the target audience. With each new format, there is a new audience and those are the people who’s feedback should be valued. Teachers and communicators of all stripes will have heard this many times before, but is seems that it is worth repeating, even if it is ad nauseum.

Scott McCloud on Comics

If you have 20 minutes, take a look at this TED talk on comics. It is interesting how he explains how comics gain their power – channeling all elements through the visual media that they use. It is really interesting how he takes a look at how ancient glyphs worked and how the first CDs didn’t.



I think there are a couple of take home messages from this talk that can be applied to how instructors can make their content better adapted to the new media that will emerge over time… and for those who are still locked into 18th century technology – a way to get into the the 20th (or maybe the 21st) century.

Comics in Education

I’ve been a fan of Larry Gonick since I found one of his books many moons ago. So when a colleague of mine, who was trying to use comics in Science education was let go at the end of 2008, I was rather disheartened because I was really keen on working on the project. But I guess that was not to pass. Thanksfully however, there is some evidence to support that we were on the right track in thinking that comics and science education are a good combination, there is now another author (ok well authors) (Wired) who is putting ink to paper to explain things that the tired old text just can’t make interesting. If you want to try your own hand at things like this, but don’t want to, or can’t install on your system, try Pixton.