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Gadgets and Gizmos

Category: Methodology

To be truthful I’ve never felt any special inclination to have the latest gadgets and gizmos. In fact I think I was the last kid on the block to get a mobile phone. Now usually if you’ve got a class in a company they’ve got a CD player around somewhere you can use, but not this company where I taught today, so I bring along these portable speakers and, get this, a CD player. Gasp!

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I hope you’re not shocked, this obviously being ancient, caveman technology. It actually belongs to my daughter, who of course now wouldn’t be caught dead with it. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll use it in my class. But I guess it had already expired, reached its planned obsolescence, because today it sort of moaned, closed its LED eyes, and went on to a better life.

Luckily I was saved by the abundant supplementary material I lug around with me everywhere I go, this would be photocopied supplementary material, happily not dependent on transistors and laser beams. I do try to keep things simple.

After this class I had about an hour and a half free before my next class, and being a beautiful sunny day, I was walking around the streets of Madrid and popped into an electronics shop. On all of the screens there was some cartoon movie with, I guess they’re called, synthetic people along the lines of toy story. It was amazing.

So off I go to the academy where I teach, which as it happens has computers with internet access in the classrooms and projectors. So I start thinking that today we’re doing a reading on the use of technology in the cinema, and I realize a film like the one I just saw would be a perfect lead-in. I kick myself for not asking the shop assistant what the film was.

But I think, no problem. I’ll get to class a few minutes early and see what I can find on youtube. So I find something that looks pretty cool. Some woman is running along a planet and gets to what I suppose is her spaceship-like home. But it’s really impressive, very realistic looking, but I only have a chance to watch the first minute of it. So class starts and finally it’s time to show the film. So the woman gets to her home and starts talking to the others, in French! It was a French cartoon!

Well, that was just a little embarrassing, but I guess it served the purpose of reminding the students of the changes brought about by technology in the field of animation, especially the introduction, but the French was embarrassing. In any case, with youtube you can just click on something else, which I did. It didn’t really go that badly, it just must have been obvious to the students I was improvising. In any case, I believe in living dangerously. What I did was much more entertaining than just going straight to the reading if I’d been too chicken to do something more imaginative because I wasn’t a hundred percent sure of myself.

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