The RSA was founded in England in 1754 as an “enlightenment organization” dedicated to bringing new ideas and debates to a mass audience. To aid in that mission they have been creating animations of talks given by academic and intellectual leaders and philosophers. Rather than using the TED technique of the PP slide show, RSA creates fun animations of doodles on a whiteboard to visually explore the concepts of the lectures. The animations has gotten more and more sophisticated over time, going from still drawings in the first videos to complex assemblages and animations recently.
Above is a recent animation of a talk given by education and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson. He covers such topics as standardized testing, ADHD and arts education.
From infanthood, today’s students have been exposed to an incessant supply of visual stimuli via television, books, video-games, and computers. Some studies are even showing that as a result of the continual stimuli, the visual pathways in children’s brains are actually changing. Though this influx of visual stimuli is certainly a controversial topic – one side of the debate arguing that children should be taught to learn the “way they used to,” the other that children are now better multi-taskers and problem solvers; the fact is, that regardless of which side of the fence we’re on, today’s culture is cultivating the visual learner. Stimulating imagery is now the language we communicate with on a global level. We gather most of our information from a visual source. Whether it is a highway billboard, a monitor or an iphone, visual communication is the medium that children are using to gather (and retain) their information as well. If our education system won’t learn to speak their language, we risk the chance of not only leaving students disinterested in the classroom – we run the risk of leaving them behind completely.