1 post tagged books
by Emmanuel Quartey
This post is the result of three things.
Firstly, after years of watching from the sidelines, I’m using DC Comics’ massive reboot as an opportunity to get into comics for the first time. As part of the reboot (all DC titles are reverting to issue #1), the digital versions of the comics go out on the same day that physical versions hit the stores, so I’m following the Justice League, Green Lantern and Aquaman on my iPad (you can do the same through Comixology).
Secondly, I read this old Brain Pickings round-up of 10 great examples of graphic non-fiction. These are books which discuss serious issues (the aftermath of Katrina, a biography of the Dalai Lama) through the medium of sequential art.
Brooke Gladstone’s “The Influencing Machine” is a graphic novel that explains the history of the media.
It all got me thinking about different ways of learning, and how mobile devices might evolve into massively popular, viable learning tools.
From what I can gather, it seems that when people talk about disrupting the textbook market, they’re essentially talking about taking the same content and putting it on a screen. This lack of imagination is absent in other discussions about the future of books. Craig Mod’s fantastic essays on the future of publishing should be required reading for anyone who cares about words (you should start with Books in the Age of the iPad) and Wired magazine’s iPad app has been applauded for being a truly multimedia experience. All this, and yet when it comes to textbooks, we seem unable to do more than wish that all our ConLaw books came in one huge PDF.
While we’re rethinking the nature of textbooks, why don’t we go ahead and question whether acres of text is actually the most effective way to convey information in a memorable way?
I imagine that some subjects lend themselves to being taught through prose rather than other media, but I truly believe that if we allowed ourselves to think beyond prose, we could hit on some very interesting learning solutions. What does it mean for the next chapter of your microecon textbook to be in the form of a massively multiplayer online game? What happens when the next unit of orgo chem is a choose-your-own adventure story?
Maybe I’m being infantile in assuming that everything should, by necessity, be fun. Maybe some things are just unpleasant, and that’s just how it goes. Maybe. All I know is that while I love reading on my iPad, reading black text against a white screen hurts my eyes, at any font size, but I can legit read comics on the same device for hours.