Teaching, Thinking, and Playing: Day One

Today I attended day 1 of this year’s amazing Cultural Studies conference at Teachers College – Popular Culture in the Classroom: Teach, Think, Play.

The morning kicked off with a Keynote by Taylor Mali, a spoken word philosopher-poet who perpetrates lyrical homicide against those who judge others according to their salary instead of the difference people are making in the world. I highly recommend taking a listen to some of his work, as he is working to inspire 1000 new teachers, and is only up to ~160.
I presented a hybrid of my SXSW talk, Teaching in the New Vernacular, and Chris Blizzard’s OLPC introduction in a session called:

Portable Culture Machines: One Multimedia Studio Per Child (the proposal had been published on OLPCNews).

The talk was well attended, and the conference attendees were very excited to see/touch/feel/smell the XO device I borrowed from a friend.

Ernest Washington gave a great session on teaching w/ hip hop, but for me the real takeaway was a perspective on education as the “cultivation of emotions” – this talk really connected alot of dots I have been working on lately, especially the “chemical swaddling” conversation I have been having with Philip Dawdy of Furious Seasons.
The Media About Youth Consortium, a group print and film journalists (Alissa Quart, Jennifer Dworkin, Maia Szalavitz, Joie Jager-Hyman) spoke about their work and issues they are facing on the publishing front.

Jan Jagodzinski gave a fabulous and fun (but substantive and deeply critical )reading of everything from Borat to South Park, and of designer capitalism through the eyes of a Kynic (not to be confused with a cynic).

Art Spiegelman, the creative force behind Maus gave a wonderful history of the comic strip (and more generally, the genre of narrative storytelling with text and images) and his wife, Francoise Mouly, the Art editor of the New Yorker, gave back to back talks.

Finally, Will Pearson the President of mental_floss (a magazine in the spirit of highlights which entertains while it teaches) closed out the day with a lively talk explaining their history, and why Einstein appears on every cover.
And tomorrow’s schedule is jam packed too!

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