At some point, it all congeals – books, movies, visual arts… and mediums as yet undiscovered.
Some of my best teachers have been excellent storytellers. I’m presently enjoying another class through Coursera, www.coursera.org , Introduction to Art. This is my fourth or fifth class through the on-line format and it just keeps getting better. The course, shared by more than 50,000 students around the globe, is one more notch in a bar that keeps getting raised higher and higher. The content is rich, but the mode of delivery has begun to engage all the senses: visual, sound, touch through the techniques of frottage, but why can’t it involve the other senses? Smell? Taste?
In the Introduction to Guitar course, listening is essential. In the Nutrition course, taste was a pleasure. And I plan to introduce both senses into my current work-in-progress, an exploration of fantastical art.
Traditionally, students are taught through lecture, reading, practice, and mastery is confirmed through testing. But why can’t learning and storytelling include all of the senses?
With the I-Pad, the “reader” becomes a participant in the story, Khoya, http://vimeo.com/27045415 In the Apple store, Khoya is referred to as an app, but it is, at its heart, a story designed for teens and adults – an adventure in which the reader engages in opening doors through touching the screen, inciting action by tipping the I-Pad to release a jar of lightening bugs, filling a shared glossary by taking photos and adding them to a database.
Most of us are familiar with a child’s attraction to computer games. But with an Xbox Kinect, the player becomes a physical participant in the game. The only limitations at present are the quality of the available games. Presently, the Kinect games treat the player like a participant in an obstacle course. But why couldn’t this technology be used to inspire “players” to exercise by moving through a museum, or exploring a castle? What are the possibilities if this technology were partnered with a class? What if a “reader” were able to move through the setting of the “book” in search of the hero, or in order to explore history through a recreation of primary documents?
Now, Microsoft’s “holodeck” begins to bleed the setting into the participants’ living room.
Part of the enjoyment of a book, of reading text, is world building, recreating the words as images inside our heads. But slowly, we begin to take control of the words, building a richer and richer environment, more connections, more sensorial. And art begins to infiltrate every aspect of life… and the way we learn… And the way we learn… is through story.