Monday, September 12, 2005

More on Mathematics

I've gone back to Internet brainstorming with other math heads, trying to find a way to engage the media more successfully in high def, high bandwidth, prime time pedagogy, i.e. how do we live up to the promise of TV as a medium for education? Obviously it needs to be entertaining as well. The two go together, positive synergies are inherent.

Inventors always dreamed it might be used for good, even as they cringed, bracing for worse. Well, we know what worse looks like, but there's still plenty of bandwidth for better. And we've had a lot of excellent television. I've often been awed by the talent, the writing, the whole shebang.[1] Not on every channel nor every program mind you. But sometimes TV just blows me away, the way some books and movies do, or some dreams.

A lot of thinkers have focused on "symbol dances" as a genre to focus on, by which I mean multimedia language games that have, as their content, some of the alpha/numeric, iconic, ideogrammatic, and variously stylized glyphs of our or other cultures. Like, flash the ancient greek letters and say them. Sigma, phi, pi, theta. Ro ro ro your boat. But with Flash as in Macromedia, as in Shockwave, as in Sesame Street with Big Bird -- and Evil Bert (not really evil -- that was a joke from the political sphere, some kids won't remember).

I've played with Flash myself, and come up with primitive examples of what I'm talking about. But I'm no super incredible artist when it comes to some sophisticated art-making technologies. I write pretty well. But I'm no great prodigy when it comes to animation (I like to think I add to the team, but I'm not as good in all positions, obviously).

[1] "shebang." WordNet 1.7.1. Princeton University, 2001. GuruNet Corp. 13 Sep. 2005.