We just wanted everyone to know that we at the Maji Muku Forest Workshop are now making podcasts about children’s books and the creative process, and that we wanted to invite other authors of children’s book to become a part of it.
We believe that these podcasts can be really valuable in helping people become aware of what is happening in the world of children’s books, as well as to give publicity to the authors who are writing children’s books.
This is in step with our philosophy at the Maji Muku Forest Workshop about how children can be educated by reading books, even books that seemingly are above their age range. At Maji Muku we call this approach the “teaching up approach”. For more see our website. www.majimukuforest.com
You may already be aware of a recent Mircrosoft study that indicated that in our growing digital environment, our attention spans are actually becoming shorter. Supporting statistics indicate that the average attention span is down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to eight seconds now.
I happen to think this is frightening news for a number of reasons.
If we are to function in a society where we need the competence of professionals like doctors, lawyers, accountants, and engineers, I shudder to think that our society may face a shortage of those professions in the coming years because not enough people had the attention span to focus long enough to get the qualifications needed to complete the necessary professional training.
This may sound like an over exaggeration, especially as the medical and legal courses at universities are over-subscribed at the moment, but we are talking about a generation away where that may not be the case.
We hope that by doing podcasts and talking to authors we can not only keep attention spans growing but also to spark what we like to call “critical creativity”.
One of my concerns is that in a growing digitized world where apps and computer programs seem to rule, many people are being brought up to think that if the answer isn’t presented to them in the menu of the computer program then it does not exist.
A computer program menu is only as broadminded or as smart as its programmer, therefore if the programmer has left out some of the options for solving a given problem, then the person who blindly buys into the computer programmer’s view of the various possible answers for that problem becomes limited by the programmer’s narrowness and omissions.
But when a person is taught or inspired to think with critical creativity then they might approach problem solving in a different way.
One of the best examples of this problem I can think of happens when the customer of a company who has outsourced their customer service department where the person they speak to is only trained to respond by way of a programmed script. In many cases the customer in need of service will find that their question is not being properly understood by the customer service representative and as a result are transferred from person to person or department to department which can be long and arduous.
In a case like this the customer service person is reading from a programmed script and the script does not allow for the question the customer is asking and therefore the service customer representative cannot answer or sometimes even understand because the question the customer is asking may lay outside the boundaries of the programmed script.
My concern is that critical creative thinking in children needs to be continually developed and nourished. I am hoping that by hearing authors talk about their creative processes, children may be inspired to think beyond the programmed script. And that by listening to authors talk about their creative processes children and parents will be able to see how different each creative process can be. I think this is very important because the other thing that digitization and the internet has brought to us in a big way is the prescribed sanctity of the “How To Do This or That” approach.
By listening to different authors talk about their different approaches, listeners will understand that there is no one prescribed way for “How To Be Creative.”
They will also be able to understand how creative thought can unfold and develop into an idea and then be translated into a thing that can take many different forms like a drawing or story or character or song, a film, an equation, or computer game.
So if you are an author or know of any authors who have written children’s books please contact us and talk about getting you as a guest on our podcasts.