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 :
- 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.
- the application of this knowledge for practical ends.
- 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!