Rethinking Reading | “Do you read me?”

Before we begin this post, an urgent note for those of you who are into comics – Halftone 2 is the App Store’s App of the Week. If you haven’t gotten this app yet, now is a good time to get into it!

Which brings us to today’s topic – Reading! Following on the theme of Divergent Thinking in a Convergent World, today we tackle ‘reading’. I mean, we read books, read comics, read a chart, but do we read a painting? As media converges, what will reading look like in the future? How can we prepare today’s learners to cope with its evolution?

“Do you read me?” – funnily enough this is radio talk… You can read about its history and significance here. Reading applies to more than just words and books. It can mean many things. So, why when we mention reading we automatically revert to the idea of reading a book and little else?

As the world of reading converges because of multimedia, innovative ways to communicate and sub-culturalism, a lateral approach to reading is required. Are our learners being educated to embrace and wrestle with this?

Reading will become more interactive and lateral

Instead of just reading words and sentences, the future of reading will become more lateral. iBooks and interactive books for example now present information in new ways. Learners will now need to ‘read’ not just literal words but also graphics, colors and ‘actions’. Pictograms and other graphical elements become the new universal language. Information can be presented multi-dimensional and layered – meaning, like an onion, information can be layered and you can take a different perspective as you digest and analyze information and go in different directions. And (scary thought for some), reading becomes non-linear. Like websites, pages don’t have to flow in a straight fashion anymore. You can have multiple sources of information AND choose to multi-read at the same time! Have you heard of De Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats?

Some examples that stretch the idea of reading include

Reading will become more nuanced

Apart from media and new delivery methods, reading will also become more nuanced and personalised. One of the biggest trends in education today is personalized learning. Educators are beginning to see the inadequacy of ‘batched learning and teaching.’ Learners do not conform by age, demographics or psychographics. Because every individual is unique, his/her personal combination of nature and nurture will present a huge challenge for any system that reduces learning into a fixed, rigid and narrowed curriculum. Learning will become more outcome based, with building blocks that can be mixed and matched into countless combinations to suit the personal learning preference of each individual learner so he/she can each learn more effectively. Hence, reading becomes nuanced – while some learners ‘read’ books, others ‘read’ by listening to audiobooks, and others ‘read’ by playing a game. What is important is that learners understand there is no right or wrong way to read, just ways that are more effective than others depending on the goals and the media involved as they comprehend and engage with their world.

Some ideas to think about include

Writing and reading are obviously intricately related to one another. We sometimes take reading for granted because when the writing is done well, it just flows. That’s one of the reasons why I like movie scripts so much. They are writing that need to read well enough to be translated into a visual narrative that engages the audience and make them see, hear and feel the story. Wow, that’s one sentence that helps us see how many things converge when we talk about writing and reading!

Now, all we have to do is bottle that thought and take reading to the next level. Do you read me?

PS : Here’s a link to an article about how challenging it is to create something that reads well… Enjoy!

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What we believe…

Religion Cheat Sheet Source: ChristianUniversitiesOnline.org   Have you seen this infographic before? I think this is absolutely marvellous. It definitely helps put you in the right box, doesn’t it? Frankly, I’ve had many people go through this and guess what? We didn’t quite realize when we bravely put a label on our foreheads and defended what we believe, we were fighting for the wrong ’cause’ – so to speak… How many times have we fallen into fiercely emotional debates about this or that and realize half way through, ‘Hang on a minute! Am I meaning what I am saying here?’ Know the feeling? How should we teach our children? To defend an ideal to the death, or to leave yourself an escape route in case you have to graciously retreat and humbly repent? Interesting times, indeed.

Habit #3 : Know Yourself

Habit #3 : Know Yourself – Whenever I see or hear this phrase I always recall a quote by St Augustine

“The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance” – St Augustine.

Incidentally, this quote is also featured abundantly in my fave book, Dune. This quote pretty much sums up how difficult it is to change oneself, especially when it comes to mental and habitual (or behavioral) change. Highly spiritual people know that change is something that God wants to do in us, as evidenced in the popular verse from St Paul,

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:2

So how does personal change work (especially mental change)? Where does one begin?

Well, if you log onto iTunes U, look up John Medina‘s (author of brain rules) Brain Rules series, you’ll get a kickstart! The series is entertaining and enlightening, a bit offbeat but very insightful once you get it. You can get to the free video series in iTunes U either on iTunes on the computer (search for ‘John Medina’) or using the iTunes U app on the iPad. Subscribe to the series and it’ll start downloading. There’s about 20 short videos in different bite-sized chunks so it won’t overwhelm you if you take it one video at a time. Definitely worth a look.

If you’re looking for another good book for personal change with a bit more of a spiritual slant, try ‘Battlefield of the Mind‘ by Joyce Meyer. It’s a bestseller and now comes in a different version for teens as well. So, you can read it, then recommend for those teens to read!

To recap Session 1 apps, try these for personal change

1. Last Time Log
2. Focus of My Day
3. Optimism
4. Life Balance
5. Daily Tracker

These apps will help you reach out and influence others – just by being and sharing 🙂

1. Facebook
2. Path
3. WordPress (start blogging!)
4. Google+
5. Amen

Another good app to try out if you’re into interactive storybooks where you choose different actions in the plot and end up in different situations, is ‘Choice of Kung Fu‘. It’s got a pretty cool spiritual slant to it too!

Lastly, here are a couple of videos I like about personal change and influencing others… some of them are ads, while others are pretty long and ‘deep’ but all good. Enjoy and share them around!

On Challenging Self

Award winning short film – Validation

And here’s one I saw today that’s pretty funny about change…