Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Best 3:51 of Your Day: The Technology of Storytelling

Do you know Lothar Meggendorfer? You probably don't, but you most certainly have enjoyed his invention as a child and perhaps as an adult. This talented 19th century German illustrator is credited with inventing the pop-up book. The self proclaimed story telling artist and creator, Joe Sabia (on Facebook) gives us a brief and entertaining glimpse into the technology of storytelling. Using his own humorous style based in technology, he gives us a nice starting point for further conversation.  

Does technology harm our storytelling abilities? I would say yes, but it doesn't have to. 
Did we falter in creative storytelling when moving from oral tradition to written? How about to movable type, or radio, television, computers... These are all simply devices that are there for us to shape and use. A child can explore amazing worlds sitting in the pile of dirt with a stick, but having the majority of all human knowledge at their fingertips shouldn't be the limiter to that exploration. Shifting how we educate our children is what will preserve, and even grow our creative spirit and our storytelling abilities. 

Robert Sabuda "Wizard of Oz" 
It is crucial that we encourage freedom of exploration and allow kids to explore the full gamut of storytelling traditions. Give them the basic tools of language and grammar to fully tell their story and stop fighting so hard to confine their learning to standardized tests. We are already seeing that simple acquisition and retention of knowledge is not what sets us apart anymore. It is the ability to efficiently seek out knowledge, curate it, build off it, create new ideas from it and convey it to others. Funny enough, these are the same skills that most employers need to be looking for.

Once again, TED has given me fodder for exploring my own new ideas and storytelling. Thank you.   

Joe Sabia: The Technology of Storytelling


  1. Great post on one of my favorite topics! It's ironic that, while technology has transformed the way we share in an in the moment, real time, reality tv kind of way, somewhere along the line this throwing up of minute by minute updates has been confused with storytelling.

    To your point (if I may join you on your soap box for a moment), crafting a story that is emotional, memorable and thought provoking is an art. And it's those curated stories that live on and capture hearts generation after generation.

    Technology shouldn't be used as a crutch to tell our stories for us. However, if it is used correctly, it can be an amazing tool for bringing our stories to life.