Graphic literature and the other side of short attention spans.

This week I had a conversation with a woman sitting next to me at a cafe here who noticed that I was reading The other side of the wall, an engaging graphic memoir by Simon Schwartz.  Schwartz tells his personal story about the trials and tribulations of escaping from East Berlin to the West, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Although written for HS students, it is engaging enough for college and post college, as supplementary reading.

She and I discussed the Berlin Wall, this particular story, and of course, comics and graphic novels. As I told her about my dissertation, she looked up an me and said, “Of course those books are for people with a limited attention span.” A limited attention span.

In all honesty, I needed to run to an appointment, so I was unable to continuing our chat, as well as educating her about graphic literature. I am not even sure where to begin with this. Perhaps with Howard Gardner’s books about multiple intelligence, and that not everyone learns or processes information the same way. Some people are very numbers-oriented, so some are text-hounds, others are visual thinkers, who may not have appropriate skills for dense readings and books. This type of thinker may excel at a number of other disciplines, but not reading. Since I am a strong believer in the notion that learning and education are not tasks for bean-counters, but are very, very messy endeavors that require educators to translate and convert ideas about specific disciplines into others. For example (and I mentioned before), not every learner can or will read the philosophers such as Nietzsche, or others, but that can all benefit intellectually and practically from being exposed to the great thinkers in ways that address their natural way of learning, such as through graphic literature for visual thinkers. such as Nietzsche, a graphic guide by Laurence Gane, or any of the other 15 books in the collection that cover topics such as Freud, Psychology , Post Modernism, Logic, Critical Theory, Philosophy, Marxism, Capitalism, Quantum Theory, and Chaos. One need not be a student of philosophy (or even a formal student) to be able to learn and enjoy from these books, that are not for the short of attention.

Titles in graphic literature address philosophy, history, personal memoirs about war, science, immigration and refugees, and many more critical topics that are needed for an understanding of where and when we live. For those who say that comics are either for short attention spans, or for simpletons, or any other excuse, I say that one of the causes of these ideas is from the change to core curriculum, or standardized testing and learning. There is nothing standard about teaching- it is an art with lots of different tools, and processes that educators learn, adapt and use in their own work as educators- teaching to the different kinds of learners in different kinds of disciplines. If a student is perceived to have a short attentions span, then the teachers need to find a way to reach out to them, to bring them into the conversation, with a text book, a song, or a graphic novel, among other things. The short attenti0n span is then made longer as students find their way, their language to understand the discipline being taught.

Posted in Comics, Constructivist learnng, Education, Graphic Novels, Learning, multiple intelligences, Pocketbook philosophers, Science, Social Justice | Leave a comment

The search for super heroes at LB ComicCon

As I recently walked in to Long Beach Comic Con, I contemplated my tradition of identifying and searching for one specific thing. When I saw my first SpiderMan, I knew that I wanted to look for super heroes. Not the super heroes of our collective imaginations, but the real ones here, the writers and artists who create stories and books about real life, and culture- the things that can make society a better place for everyone. These are stories about a broad definition of social justice-  personal memoirs about big issues such as war, hate, racism, sexism, the environment, health, usually told in first person, as a memoir or personal narrative. Or genres such as graphic journalism, or medicine, or teaching language to improve multi-cultural communication. And even though the majority of the conference was about heroes of out imagination, I found some real-life heroes who write, draw, publish, distribute about real issues, making them real-life super heroes.  Below are just a few of the people that I met. I tried to get everyone’s name, but sadly, my main notes were blown away by the wind (long story), so I did the best that I could. Below are several of the people and organization that I discovered. Also, please contact me if you see your image without identification so that I can fix it.

ECF Art Centers, “Empowering Gifted Artists with Developmental Disabilities”

The Exceptional Children’s Foundation provides art classes for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities so that they can explore and develop their creativity and self expression, which helps these individuals gain self-confidence to communicate, work and interact with life and society. The art classes are taught by professional artists in several centers around Los Angeles, with a gallery Downtown. And, they are starting to teach the students how to make their own comics!

Richard Harding, Chairman and CEO of End Malaria Now

End Malaria Now is doing critical work in Africa to eliminate this terrible disease. The director is producer Richard Harding (Hotel Rwanda) is a native of Sierra Leone and has personally seen the devastation of this disease, and their mission statement states “End Malaria Now’s mission is to raise consciousness and funding to fight and eradicate malaria, the largest known killer of children under the age of 5 in Africa. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say – it is by far easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it happens. Malaria IS a preventable disease. By providing the tools and information necessary to ensure that they are used properly, we CAN and we WILL save lives, one bed net at a time.”

Backpack from End Malaria Now

An important element of EMN’s work is in education for children in African countries that are hard hit by malaria, and part of the way that they do this by distributing backpacks with school supplies, as well as posters about children (and their families) need to do to protect themselves, as well as their local environments, and they too are starting to use comic books to accomplish this.

 

 

 

 

 

Prism Comics

Prism Comics is a “non-profit, all-volunteer organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and LGBTQIA-friendly comic books, comics professionals, readers and educators. In 2003 a small group of comics fans and professionals gathered together to form Prism Comics – an organization and website where LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly comics creators could network and share their comics and readers could find works that spoke directly to their experiences and lives.

 

 

 

 

DaVinci School teacher Ralph Villalobos, and one of his students.

There was a whole section dedicated to students from the Da Vinci Design High school and their amazing teacher, Ralph Villalobos.

Da Vinci is brilliant group of schools and programs that reaches out to the natural ways that students learn. I’ve visited the schools and have not seen anything less than

One of Mr. Villalobos’ students at DaVinci School

100% commitment to learning and the palpable sense of excitement that goes with it. Mr. Villalobos taps into this, teaching his students about graphic narrative, and the formal elements of a comic book, and guides the students through the process of them making their own books. It is very cool!

 

 

 

 

 

L to R: Writers, artists, and musicians Patrick Martinez, Peter Mellini, Andres Cervant, the organizers of East LA C.A.P.E

East LA C.A.P.E (Comic Book Art & Pop Culture Expo) is ” …the premier comic book show in East LA. Formerly The East LA Comic Con, The East LA CAPE is a community based show that features local and independent artist and creators as well as a love of mainstream pop culture.” C.A.P.E 2019 promises to be fun, entertaining and educational, especially for exploring the work of and about Chicano graphic artists and story tellers!

Dan Taylor, author of Donald of the Dead.

I could not resist this- Dan Taylor, author of Donald of the Dead is one of the first (if not only) comics that tackles the issue of trump head on, with his book Donald of the Dead, which poses the question, “What would happen if donald and his followers were all actually zombies?”. It is irreverent, graphicly gory, and very funny, in a sick and twisted kind of way. Dan is a nice guy, and signed my book (which came with a bumper sticker and selection of donald of the dead trading cards!

 

 

 

 

Andrea and Alex Dandino, creators of Stalkings

Alex Dandino is author and his wife Andrea is the muse for the book Stalkings, a story about the women who acted as spies and secret agents for the Allies during World War II. This is as important story as those of the WACS.  WAVES, and Rosies (as in Rosie the Riveter), women who had critical roles in the American war machine, replacing men who were fighting on the land, air and sea. The jobs that these women did were dangerous, and important and their stories need to be told.

 

 

 

 

Seol Lee and Mike Ahn

In Out of Order, artist Seol Lee, and her husband Mike Ahn tell a very intense and personal story about a couple dealing with the serious mental condition of the husband, which is based on their own lives. Comics and graphic novels are an excellent way to educate the public about the pain, challenges and successes of people living with a variety of conditions, that surly will help people to not be afraid, as well as learn to be more empathic and supportive of the for members of that community.

 

 

 

Artist and writer Que Lico.

Que Lico is a friendly and delightful artist and writer who works in two genres- A PG one, with smiling faeries, and other characters, and an X rated genre with the same characters, but in more adult-themed escapades. Her work is generally happy, and the x-rated is sex-positive, celebrating sexuality with joy, rather than shame.

One of Que LIco’s X-rated drawings (she put the black bars on)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a cool poster of the new catch phrase of Supergirl, that really highlights the new and needed sensibility of contemporary comics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, it would not be a Comic Con without Cos Play and costumes, and here are some of my favorites!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we say a fond farewell to the 2018 Long Beach Comic Con, we come across these 4 bad-ass fairy tale heroines, as they continue their exploration of all publications graphic and fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Art, Civil rights, Comic Con, Comics, Education, Graphic Novels, Innovation, Learning, Multi-cultural America, multiple intelligences, Social Justice, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So you want to be an artist?

It has been a rough week so treatises or lectures this week, just some of my art work. Oh yes, besides being an educator, technologist and innovator, I am an artist. Actually, I started out as an artist. Well, I still am. It’s funny, but the evening before I was discharged from the IDF, my base commander called me to his office for an exit interview. This was not usually the case with soldiers about to leave. But as I was one of 6  Americans on the base, and the only one teaching 81 mm mortars, he was curious. After some chit-chat, he asked what I was going to do, and I replied, “go back home and study art”, which is what I did, and do (although not as much as I used to, or want to. But I am still being creative!). So here are a few selecti0ns from the past 3.5 decades.  I’ll be adding more details later and in the mean time, I hope that you enjoy!

Golem 1, 2018

Ivree, 1996

Reflection on a Summer Night

After the Akedah, 1989. 6′ x 10′

L.A. Phone Book

Sorrow

Untitled Sphere

Truth

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Desert Sky

Posted in Art, David Greenfield Art, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The long and winding blog

Today I was downtown and bumped into a friend who is an adjunct in education at USC. We had not seen each other in awhile, so after some catch-up, we returned to our ongoing dialogue about education. It seems that over the summer, he has been consulting for the LAUSD. One of the areas of his work is to help teachers to recognize the many practical applications for the classes and theories that the students are exposed to and try to learn. We agreed that for lots of reasons, teachers do not always get the opportunity to do this, and also for many reasons, students do not always understand why they need to learn a particular subject. We both agreed that one of the main reasons that hinder students is the lack of context of the material- it just sort of stands out there with no real, and personal meaning. Creative teachers understand this and try to present content in a contextual setting that helps engage students in learning and understanding. Sadly, there are many creative teachers who cannot really do this because of core curriculum guidelines, standardized curriculum and testing, having a lot of students with no assistance in their classrooms, as well as other reasons beyond their personal control. But these issues are for another time, and another rant.

After we parted, I continued on bus and bike on my journey home, and continued to reflect on the the issues of providing context in the classroom, theory and practice. One of the ideas that always comes to mind when I contemplate these three issues is Gardner’s work on multiple intelligence. People learn different things in different ways. Some speak and understand the language of math, others history or language, others art or music, or sports or any of the other types of intelligences identified by Gardner.  This does not mean that because a person understands one or more things in a natural, relatively easy way, while struggling with others that they lack the ability to learn. It just means that they speak certain “languages” naturally, while others, well not so. For example, I am a natural liberal arts kind of guy- history, literature, art, philosophy and things like that. Some sciences too. But math was the bane of my existence throughout school. As far as I was concerned, my teachers all spoke Martian (with the exception of my 10th grade algebra teacher who knew how to teach to students like me.  Math was all theory for me, which was difficult for me to understand and contextualize. But things happened, I was exposed to practical math, and I began to understand.

The first time that I realized that I could understand math was after I was drafted into the Israeli army (another long story). I was sent to an infantry unit, where I walked and walked and learned distance in kilometer (lots of kilometers), which I learned to convert into feet and miles (lots of miles). Learning range and distance is a critical skill, especially after I was assigned to 81mm mortars. I was exposed to range, distance, ballistics, arcs, and more, and in a practical setting. I learned and understood so well, that I became a trainer to both regular soldiers as well as officers, teaching both theory (including exercises using more complex algebra, geometry and even a bit of trig).  Later, after returning to the US, I worked as a house framer, where the need to understand math was again critical. But I learned. It is easy to see the difference between school and military and carpentry. In school, I was exposed only to theory, with no context. In the military and carpentry, I was exposed to the practical application of theory, or the context. It made sense. The same thing happened when I was learning how to read topographical maps- the theory made little sense, but in the field (especially walking lots and lots of miles), it made sense.

The  questions then arises about how to contextualize content as much as possible in classrooms that often have a strict set of one-size-fits-all learning guidelines? Two of the methods that provide both an answer and a process are Project-based learning and constructivist learning. And both can provide different contexts to address the different needs and abilities of all of the students.

One example that came to mind today was a project that I put together when my son was in primary school and I was working as an instructional technology analyst at Loyola Marymount University. I learned from my son’s teacher that they besides having old, and out of date computers, there was no time to really present the dinosaur module in class because of time constraints caused by the administrative need to prepare students for standard testing, and the lack of teachers’ assistants in the classroom. I started a conversation with the classroom teacher, my supervisor and some of my colleagues to develop a solution, which we did. Once a week for about 6 weeks, three of my colleagues and I would gather 5 or 6 laptops, go to the school and lead a project-based learning module about dinosaurs and computers.

We approached the students and told them they each of them was an expert on dinosaurs, and that they were about to research and present on their favorite dinosaur questions. We introduced them to basic research on the web (guiding them to age-appropriate web sites), then showed them how to capture images, and place images and text in a PowerPoint presentation. They chose the questions, images and wrote the text. We also provided a video camera and instructions on how to use it (most had already learned at home) so that they could video interview each other for their assignments. Everything was contextualized- they learned what they were interested in, helped out their friends, learned how to make a presentation, all based on dinosaurs.

At one point, the district computer guy, who went around teaching at different schools, heard about and got excited about the project, so he came to one of the sessions to teach the kids computers. Sadly, he did not have a good time or do a good job. He approached this lesson by focusing only on the computers, without any meaning or context. The kids were not interested, did not pay attention, and drove him a bit mad. He later complained to me about the lack of discipline, somethings that my colleagues and I did not experience. There were several actions and activities that he could have done that would have better engaged the students in learning computers and dinosaurs, the main one being to contextualize the content, and make it personal. In other words, to do what good teachers always strive to do.

The title image of the kid’s movie!

By the way, the project was a success. I edited all of their presentations together, made a movie so that each participant would have a copy of their work, and the teachers, principal, parents and especially the students all love it (and the students had the extra benefit by learning about dinosaurs and computers.

 

 

(And I did not even mention graphic literature, although there are lots of parallels. But that is for another blog…)

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Well, here I am late again. I really am trying to post a blog every Sunday night, which I usually do. But the digital dog at my virtual homework, or in this case, there was a glitch in my blog’s host, and I could not access the admin page. All is well now, so stay tuned my faithful followers to next Sunday’s blog! And thank you for reading!

 

Posted in Constructivist learnng, Education, Learning, multiple intelligences, Project-based learning | Leave a comment

August 6, 1945

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barefoot_Gen

Posted in Comics, Education, Graphic Novels, Hiroshima, Peace, Uncategorized, War | Leave a comment

Travels with David, or the good neighbor policy in action

I grew up on the east side of Los Angeles, in a town called Montebello, a pretty cool place to grow up. It was primarily a middle-class town, filled with working class people. There were attorneys, carpenters, carpet people, clerks, clergy, doctors, drapery people (my dad was one of the latter) dry cleaners, druggists, electricians, garage door installers, garbage men, jewelry stores, mechanics, machinists, radiator repair people, painters, pet stores, plumbers, restaurant owners and staff, sandwich shops, secretaries, teachers, and a whole lot of other important people. There were some people who had more, some had less, but there was not the discrepancy extreme wealth or poverty that we see today.

Portrait of the blogger as a   young robot.

One of the coolest attributes of the town, and neighboring towns are the attributes that truly made, and make America great. There were people from all over the world- immigrants and first and second generation born. My people, the Jews (both Ashkenazic and Sephardic), Mexican (and one family of Mexican Jews), Chinese, Japanese, Armenians, Russians, Lebanese, WASPs, and all sorts of others. Alas, there were no African-Americans that I knew of. Not sure why, but that is the way that it was. Even though there were some tensions amongst some of the groups, it was more personal rather than ethnic based. We went to school, played, and celebrated with each other. And we helped each other out, such as during the Jewish New Year, when we Jews would spend the days in the Synagogue. We all received notes from our Rabbi, excusing us from school, and we always took some extra notes to give to our non-Jewish friends who wanted to ditch. It was always funny to see them in line at the admin office, trying to explain that they were in synagogue too!

For many years, I wondered why that all worked. I traveled a bit, lived in Israel, then Santa Cruz and San Francisco, which had even larger, and more diverse communities. And there was more division. It wasn’t until 1988, when I returned to Israel as an artist-in-residence at the northern town of Ma’alot-Tarshiha. There, I led collaborative art workshops with 4-6 graders in three neighboring towns- Jewish, Moslem and Christian. Each week, all of the students would meet at the school in one of the towns. We all played learn-each-others-names games, toured the town, visiting homes and places of worship, before returning to the school to work on collaborative art projects where the students would start a painting, and then pass it on to a neighbor to continue work. This way, each artwork was touched by members of each community.

New friends- Jewish (on the left) and Moslem (on the righT)

One of the amazing things that happened was the sudden awareness of each communities’ similarities: the kids rooms all looked alike, with the same celebrity posters on the walls (singers for girls, sports stars for boys); the hospitality of the host families, and the food and sweets that they served us, and even the basic tenets of the four faiths (there were a few Druze kids with us), especially the golden rule and treating each other with respect and loving kindness. What made this so interesting is that these three towns were all within an 8-kilometer radius, close enough to walk to. Although there was some interaction amongst the parents, for the most part, they all lived apart and never stepped foot in each other’s towns, except for those three visits.

Upon reflecting on my experiences growing up in East L.A., my work in Maalot, and the current state of affairs in the world, I came to the obvious conclusion that what was special about growing up in Montebello was that despite some tensions, there was little to no fear of the others. We grew up, learned, fought, kissed and pretty much accepted each other. This was pretty much missing in the three towns near Ma’alot. Despite the proximity, very few ventured into the towns of the others. That is until art brought them together. Now we have “leaders” playing the fear, hate and paranoia cards, instead of preaching acceptance of the other. Happily, there are exceptions, but there is so much more work to do. One action that is necessary is with our language- branding others as the enemy, or lesser people does no good to anyone. Many of us know that, but not all. I am always bothered by the right-wing members of the Jewish community who insist on calling all Palestinians “terrorists”. One response that I have is to ask these people if they have ever really met any Palestinians for a conversation, or sat for coffee in their homes. Sadly, the answer is usually no. The hate is based on fear and ignorance.

How do we change this? How do we teach that we do not need to fear the other- they are more similar then we realize and accept. There are lot of ways to do that- religious and social functions, cultural activities, schools, and so many more activities. And of course, how can I write a blog without mentioning comics and graphic novels! The number of books and stories about cultures, personal experiences, history and more is expanding daily. Comics and graphic novels are relatively inexpensive, promote knowledge, and literacy, which plants seeds of understanding and acceptance. The fruits of these trees will not be ready and ripe for several seasons, but nurturing them daily brings us closer to better lives for us all.

Yeah, I know, I am an optimist, perhaps a blind one, but it is far better to be on this road than not.
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Also, I apologize for missing last week. I had a very sick computer. Actually, it still is sick, but a good friend lent me an extra of his. Thanks Rick!

Posted in Civil rights, Comics, Education, Graphic Novels, Innovation, Israeli Christians, Israeli Jews, Israeli Muslims, Jews, Language learning, Learning, Middle East Peace, Multi-cultural America, Peace, Social Justice | Leave a comment

Not so random thoughts about education for all

What a worrisome week…

It’s been an interesting, and challenging week for people who think  and feel, what with the DC and Moscow connection becoming clearer, and scarier. I think of the scene in the movie Airport, where Lloyd Bridges states “What a day to give up drinking”. What a week for educators, struggling with low budgets, lack of support, and feedback from so many people who do not understand, or have a clue about education, especially the hard work that goes into learning, planning and presenting. So many people feel that teaching and education is like making widgets or bean counting- one size fits all, and anybody could do it. I find this particularly true with business people, always concerned with the bottom line. This is rightly so- after all, they are in business. But learning and education does not always fit that model. In fact, it usually does not. There are those who feel that the success that they have achieved in their particular endeavor or field will automatically make them experts on education, learning and teaching. Sometimes this happens, mostly it does not (without learning how to teach). Many of these same people view students from box-colored lenses, and that all students will learn the same way.  Sometimes they throw around the term “out of the box”, but in reality, they are still in a box of teaching all students in the same way, expecting all students to understand in the same way. This, of course is to benefit the teacher, and make it easier for them, but it usually does not translate to the students understanding of the material. I am always surprised that there are those who think that everyone learns the same way. Yet these same people accept that some people enjoy golfing, some enjoy tennis, and some enjoy biking. Or how different people enjoy different styles of music, or food, or anything, yet continue to be under the impression that we all have interests in the same subjects and all learn the same way.

Sorry to break the news to those people who think that way, hut it’s not the case. In 1983, Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard described how different people have different ways of natural learning and thinking. Some learn numbers, some colors, some sounds and so on. This translates into some students think in terms of math, others in terms of music or art or any of the other types of intelligence  (for more details, check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences). One type of intelligence does not necessarily preclude that a student will only learn one way, but often, one type is the strongest.

This sure explains why I did better in literature than in math, or that I am a very visual thinker, hence my passion for painting (and graphic novels). This also explains what happens in classrooms and training centers at all levels. Practically, this means that to be really effective, a teacher needs a lot of tools in their pedagogical toolboxes, so that they can reach out to as many of the different learners as they can. Teachers use different methods such as lectures, demonstrations, collaborative learning, etc. and different learning media, such as books, boards, cameras, music, movies, and yes, graphic novels and comics too. Learning how to do all of this does come naturally to a few, but most need to learn how to do it, just like a businessperson needs to learn about business, or a carpenter needs to learn how to make things. These methods (and tools) work in education as well as in corporate training, as educators and trainers need to be able to identify the types of learners, the types of content, and then match them to the actual learners.

Doing this helps to promote knowledge and understanding, as well as critical thinking. Call me a crazy optimist, but these are some of the important skills that can help prevent, or at least stymie the kinds of unsavory connections that are happening now. Maybe not, but I still prefer to be a hopeful optimist, despite the news.

Posted in Comics, Education, Graphic Novels, Innovation, Learning, multiple intelligences, Social Justice, Training | Leave a comment

Comics and Educational Technology?

That was the gist of question that a friend asked me this week. A meandering conversation at a cafe led to me THE question: What’t the connection between my professional activities as an educational technologist, and my dissertation about teaching about social justice in schools using graphic literature.

Actually, I see all sorts of natural connections. I suppose that the confusion may stem from an idea that educational technology always implies digital technology. But it is more than just digital. I felt that I had to look up the formal  definition of technology, and looked at dictionary.com :

  1. the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and theirinterrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects asindustrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.
  2. the application of this knowledge for practical ends.
  3. the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature

What an interesting and cool word! And no mention of “digital”. So I suppose that this is probably the first connection- digital and analog are both tools and ways that can be used separately or together to teach and tell stories.

Graphic literature and comics are great tools for learning: they are excellent ways to engage visual thinkers, as well as other types of learners in visual literacy and critical thinking. Comics and graphic literature can be used to teach languages, customs, medicine, philosophy, math, art, just about anything. The beauty and power of them is that they are a great medium to reach out across disciplines to provide and share basic understandings of each discipline. For example: there is a Manga introduction to statistics; a graphic pocket book series about major philosophers (I have Introduction to Nietzsche); an more recent and really interesting genre called graphic medicine; comics are used to teach ESL or any language. I’m sure that you get the drift. Comics and graphic literature are another great technology that teachers can use.

Now where does that digital technology part come in? Simple- in production and distribution. There are all sorts of really cool tools and apps  on mobile phones and computers  to make all sorts of different styles of comics. Some cost (not much), some are free and there are ways to mix and match tools and processes from one device to another. But that, dear reader is for next week!

Posted in Civil rights, Comics, David Greenfield Dissertation, Education, ESL, Graphic Medicine, Graphic Novels, Innovation, Language learning, Learning, Manga, Peace, Pocketbook philosophers, Social Justice, Training | Leave a comment

Late & Redbeard

Due to circumstances caused by aliens from beyond the 8th dimension, as well as a minor technology melt-down, I’m a bit late with this blog. Sorry, ardent readers…

I just finished watching  Kurosawa’s Red Beard, one of my three all-time favorite movies (the other two are still out to vote, but one is by Chaplin and the other by Tati). I’ve seen this great film a bunch of times, usually through one complete viewing at a time. But this time, I decided to savor it, and watch it over a period of two months. Red Beard is truly a masterpiece. The story, acting, cinematography- everything together create a compelling, engaging, beautiful film that celebrates the best aspects of the human  spirit living in a far from perfect world.

 

Posted in Akira Kurosawa, Cinema, Red Beard, Toshiro Mifune | Leave a comment

Learning with comics

I love to tell people that I wrote my doctoral dissertation on graphic novels and comics!

But I am not the first to do this (for example, Nick Sousanis wrote his brilliant graphic novel, Unflattening, a meditation on the relationship between text and as his PhD dissertation. I took a a different approach and investigated and wrote about ways that graphic novels can be used to teach students about social justice.  Yet, there is more to comics than philosophy, history and cognitive development. Studying graphic literature, specifically how to create comics provides many doorways to practical careers. The first, and most obvious is it teaches students how to make their own comics. Like other forms of art and literature, there is no guarantee to success. But, it is important to know that over the past 20-30 years, there is a steady increase in comic sales. Graphic literature is cheaper than making a movie, and easier to distribute than books (especially because of the web).

But there are other career options:

  • Storyboard artists for movies and TV.
  • Storyboard artists are also important for:
    • creating corporate and academic presentations.
    • Walkthroughs for large properties, amusement parks, architectural  models,  etc.
    • Other activities requiring planning for movement.
  • Graphic literature, especially comics are excellent media for creating training media for time and sequence based activities .
  • This media is also very effective for building learning material for visual learners.
  • Comics are excellent for teaching language (teachers can create their own learning materials based on the specific needs of their students).
  • Graphic journalism to record events and reflections.
  • Graphic medicine for medical students, practices and providing knowledge to different communities.

Using graphic literature and comics is similar to using other media (film, tv, radio, etc) for learning and training, but it is more intimate than a film (cheaper to produce too), easier to customize for different languages and audiences and other benefits. All that is required is an imagination, and a desire to teach.

Posted in Comics, David Greenfield Dissertation, Education, Innovation, Learning, Training | Leave a comment