American Elephants


Wow! I Didn’t Know Africa Was So Big! by The Elephant's Child

(Click to enlarge, you have to see this big)

This handsome graphic representation of the continent of Africa gives us a whole new understanding of the size and potential of the continent in a way that verbal descriptions cannot. Many kinds of graphic representations become easier on the computer and more shareable. The right combinations of visual and text can add to learning in new ways that we don’t understand well yet.

For example, there is a YouTube video that is a representation of wars throughout history and the change that the wars bring about, that really impressed me. It is much too brief, and too fast in the speed-up of centuries, to be very useful; but there is a tantalizing glimpse of the potential for a new and better understanding of history in seeing visually the sweep of armies and population shifts. Bill Gates is involved with something like this, but the little I have seen is different but interesting.

When my youngest was in high school world history, the teacher called everything to a halt and inserted a class in geography. He found his class was clueless about basic geography which made any attempt to explain history meaningless.

We were being transferred frequently, and my oldest missed telling time completely.  He left his old school just before they reached that section, and the new school had already completed it. Took ages for us to discover that he had no idea how to tell time.

In any given group, we do not know what knowledge is missing unless some accident exposes the missing information. If we know a thing, we assume that those around us do as well, and it is not always apparent that they do not. Kids especially have lots of missing knowledge, but as they are unaware of it, cannot tell anyone that they don’t know.  And we don’t think to ask.

If you have school age kids, have you read their books to see what they are learning and what is missing?




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