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Britt Griswold <[log in to unmask]>
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SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 1 Aug 2008 16:41:13 -0400
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Chuck makes the case for "the New learning style" pretty effectively.  And sometimes the haze of history makes the past look better than it really was.  It is surely different. And the recognition on a more formal level that there are different styles of learning is a good thing for many, many people who fall through the educational cracks.


Have you ever studied the amount of information and concepts that are actually transmitted in a hour of fact based television?  It is appallingly low in my opinion.  The effort expending in keeping it entertaining is huge. One talented person with a word processor can do wonders in passing on information for a hundredth of the cost.  When you add a talented illustrator, and a book results, you have covered a vast majority of the learning population. It would take ten times the viewer's time and a hundred times the cost to try and get that same information imparted by video.

Chuck, I wonder if the circles you run in expose you to only the cream of the raw youthful talent that does amazing things with digital art? Those are people with the curiosity and drive that would not let them be stopped no matter what had sparked them (race cars, mountain climbing, chess, etc.)  I worry that for every one of those you see, there are 99 out there whose motivation and curiosity has been sapped by endless hours parked in front of the TV and play station, so that they have wasted 10 years not learning how to find out what they need to make a rich and fulfilling life for themselves.  I am not claiming this is the case, but it is my worry.  I feel I could have been one of those 99, but Art pulled me through, even with just a modicum of talent.  Maybe I am selling the 99 short, but maybe the distractions of an infotainment culture are in fact an overload to the orderly training of the human brain, at least on a mass scale.

The human brain is probably coping by prioritizing the inputs differently. I personally have found the ability to look up almost anything on Google makes me look a whole lot smarter ;-) It is like adding a memory module to my brain. So I don't think about memorizing details as I did when I was younger.  That might not be a good thing in some cases. It can slow execution speed down. But I have enough background acquired the old fashion way to have some judgment on when to believe what I read and when I should suspend judgment and get more information, and when to say it is bunk.  Plus if you don't know what to ask Google, you don't get the answer you need.  That last part is the background you have (by knowing what "EU" stands for.) - that came from reading.  I could not recommend a student substitute 10 times as much video for reading matter as a efficient way to get an education.  Maybe interactive learning could substitute, but the development costs seem much higher than a good book, maybe that is changing?

I think studies have show that the brain goes into a different mode when being fed video information. It is passive, not active searching. That does not sound good to me.  

So I am in a position where I am suspending judgment and seeking more input...