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July 12, 2008



Two Responses:

1. What if the text that appears with the image was a little more cognitively disruptive? You mention sky with the image of the airplane and then glass with the picture of the child in front of the broken window. That seems a little to easy and tried-and-true for me. Does it need to be this straightforward? Would a phrase that is a little off work better?

2. Abandoning the idea of using a picture and going with a movie, something like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY5hBd8_Q-E seems to be such a harsh jolt to the teacherly and schooliness sensibilities that it could be a nice entry point for discussing that it will mean to learn and live in a networked world.

Laura Deisley


Thanks for your insights. I think you are on the mark about the text and the image--they shouldn't be so straight forward. They need, I think you said "cognitive dissonance." I agree. This is something I always struggle with--that gem of a saying that is enough out of context to catch your attention (and make your brain work) but not so far out there that it can't be "caught" quickly. It reminds me of work you were doing on that other blog of yours...which I miss as much as I love your new work. Time for both??

I watched the movie just now, and I like the notion of this movie (and others) that are useful "background" info to prime the pump for a conversation. (Fisch's work, Wesch's work are good examples as well.) However, from a marketing/general public awareness perspective, I think these have limited appeal and application.(Even though in each case a few million people have viewed them, the main line public hasn't viewed them. Can't tell you how may people--educators mind you--haven't see or heard of any of them.) In all these cases, there is a documentary feel to them, without compelling imagery that makes it human and real and personal. It becomes overwhelming for them--what is the message and what does it mean for me? What am I to DO with this?

I believe that in order to get someone's attention--a real "wake up call" that influences their behavior-- there needs to be a story line that has emotional and personal appeal to it. (See Pink, Gladwell.) This is where my conversation with David Jakes comes in. Jakes and I spent some time re-considering (on my part) this bucket that is being thrown around as "digital storytelling." Having spent time out at the Center for Digital Storytelling and then crafting his own practice--and watching what students can do--Jakes convinced me that digital storytelling is a medium that is very specific. And it succeeds for both the person crafting it and the viewer because it is intensely visual; auditory; and the story line/narrative has been honed in writing exercises that highlight "what the story really is" and then bottling it in no longer than a 5 minute presentation.

Further, what Jakes and Shareski emphasized in their broader discussion of presentations at NECC (alluring to the general public under the title "One Hour Powerpoint"), is the need to emphasize the visual impact, drastically minimize the text, and support with audio.

All of this to say, what I'm after is something that is so easy to grasp--a Seth Godin gem--that correlated with the visual and one line text is a door-opener. The rest can then "come in." The movie you suggest, the research, the change mandate (with a clear statement that is broad enough to gain consensus and constructed with the specific strategic initiatives and tactics so schools/systems can have a pathway to effect the change) would all be pieces of that campaign.

Whew. I didn't anticipate writing all that here, but you got my brain started with this comment. I'd love to explore more of this when you and I have some time...

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