Uncommon Instruction

050710_will_ilsmallInstruction and curricula come in many different shapes and sizes.  Long before the world of “Web 2.0” there were a variety of novel approaches to instructional materials.  I think it is interesting and stimulating to think about them.

Here are three:

The Soap Opera!

archers The Archers is a radio “soap opera” from BBC’s Radio 4.  The show is about country life in England and  has be on the air since 1950.

It started out having a specific educational aim.  Here is an excerpt from the show’s FAQ’s

How did the programme start?
In Whit Week 1950, the BBC’s Midlands Home Service broadcast five pilot episodes of a new, experimental drama series: The Archers. The producer Godfrey Baseley had previously worked mainly on agricultural programmes. He hoped that farmers would listen for the stories, but along the way pick up messages that would help them feed a Britain still subject to food rationing.

The “soap opera as learning experience” intrigues me!

I have been listening to The Archers since 2001 after reading this fascinating article about the “soap opera” format in Afghanistan.

The Comic Book!

Okay.  I’m a geek. (Not really news, I know!)  I have loved comic books (and it’s fancied-up cousin, the “graphic novel”) since I was a kid.  Saturday mornings meant a new batch of comic books to dive into!

Will Eisner, the “godfather” of the graphic novel and creator of “The Spirit”, also wrote instructional materials for the US Army.  Really.


From the Will Eisner website:

Will Eisner’s work on the Spirit was interrupted in 1942 when he was drafted into the Army for service in World War II. The Army took advantage of his skills as a cartoonist, and during the war he was engaged in producing posters, illustrations and strips for the education and entertainment of the troops.

And one of the most instructionally effective books I ever read (I mean ever!) is Scott McLeod’s 1993 book, “Understanding Comics“.  It is like watching the a super-engaging lecture.  But it is a comic book.  Hard to explain really. 🙂


His more recent “Making Comics” is pretty darned good too!


flocabularyI have come across some vocabulary building tools that use rap music.  Flocabulary is one such product.  Kind of fun!

I’ll see you on the web!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s