Friday, September 16, 2011

Are you hot or cool?

As time goes forward, I'm finding that my interest in a variety of topics is expanding.  One topic that I've always loved to read about are theoretical discussions about human development, learning theories and play as a scientific discourse.  As my business and faith in this journey grows, I've yet to find the book that explains why I am so compelled to invent and market my handmade children's products.  Until now. 

As a college student, my art teacher handed out a packet of learning theory and told us it was the course "bible."  Nearly everything we learned had a meaning that could be drawn from that work.  If Knees and Paws has a bible besides the Christian Bible, it is David Elkin's The Power of Play

I was particularly interested in the following explanation of the impact that media has on children, but I realized that all people might relate to this (so I'm sharing it today).  Elkin references the work of media mavin Marshal McLuhan who explains the spectrum of media as hot to cold:

         Any hot medium allows of less participation than a cool one.  As a lecture allows for less participation than a seminar, and a book for less than dialogue...high definition or intensity engenders specialization and fragmentation in living as in entertainment, which explains why any intense experience bus be "forgotten" or "censored" before it can be learned or assimilated.

From that springboard, Elkin further explains,

     With respect to content, high-definition, high-intensity, "hot" content is more fully engaging but demands less viewer participation than does low-definition, low-intensity, "cool" content..presentations that are stimulating, visually arresting, and passivity inducing are at the hot and end of the spectrum.  Presentations that are slow paced, quiet, and visually interesting are on the cool, activity inducing side of the spectrum.

    So, what does this mean for people like me?  Well, it explains quite a lot about who I am.  I guess it's now a scientific fact that I'm cool!  I love cool media...the low intense kind.  For example, it is uncomfortable for me to go to the movies and watch Transformers because of the intense action.  People who like hot media loved it, while those who like cool media would not.

It's an interesting personal discovery to understand that I am attracted to cool media such as watercolor paintings,  children's books and television with cool content such as Little Bear or Milne's Winne the Pooh, or lovely pastoral themes in movies such as Fly Away Home. 

This concept also explains why I believe in Knees and Paws.  They are playthings that promote imaginary play that exists away from media and screens.  They are accessories to play that can be used to "weave a story tapestry of the child's own invention."


If you're still with me, thanks for sticking it out.  I wanted to share this information to explain how I'm expanding my inner courage and potential on this journey of creating work from scratch.   

And so I'm off to school at here at home (in the next room)...but I wanted to ask this question:  Are you hot or cool?


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