[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
Dinosaurs in Media and Education
What I would like to see sometime is a television program aimed at the
public that is as good as some of the recent books aimed at the public.
In many ways, I think David Norman's book _Dinosaur!_ that came out as a
"companion volume" to the A&E's series of the same name was much better
than the series itself. Do I have a poor memory, or do I remember
correctly that none of the recent popular TV documentaries ever explained
how the Mesozoic era is divided into the Triassic, Jurassic and
Cretaceous? Did any of them do a good job explaining how a living
dinosaur becomes a fossil?
Imagine David Norman's _The Ultimate Dinosaur Book_ or Dougal Dixon's
_Dinosaurs_ as a well-done documentary. And why not get a paleontologist
as a host for the show rather than a celebrity? (Is there anyone for
paleontology what Carl Sagan is for astronomy?)
What I would also like to see is a project by Industrial Light and
Magic in which the computer generated images are used sans humans for an
educational video or cd-rom. One would think that it would be easy enough
to take the existing computer programs and modify them slightly.
As to the accuracy (or inaccuracies) in Jurassic Park or Paleoworld --
I think a suggestion from Ken Carpenter is good. Have the kids look for
the mistakes themselves. (This would be a special home project; neither
Jurassic Park nor Paleworld to my knowledge may be shown in schools,
although two episodes of PW were recently approved for Cable in the
Classroom.) (I can put up with inaccuracies in fiction and movies,
although it still bothers me to hear Klaatu remark that his astrophysics
equation "works well enough to bring me 20 million miles.")
I'm a member of the Dinosaur Society, but I've never seen the
educator's package that was described in the membership renewal package.
Maybe it will be described in a forthcoming catalog. Maybe some of us on
this list could make a gift membership in the Society for a local school.
That might go a little ways toward helping improve the quality of
information available to students.
As was pointed out a couple of times on this list, sometimes
inaccuracies are perpetuated by people/institutions who should know
better. The Optical Data Corporation produced an interactive videodisc
program called "Windows on Science" that included a section on fossils
with images of swamp-bound sauropods and Allosaurus misidentified as
Tyrannosaurus. Museum stores sell posters and books that span the
complete range from ridiculous to sublime... and how is the uninformed
museum visitor to tell one from the other?
I heard Ray Bradbury a couple of years ago comment on the quality of
science education in America. In effect, he said the best way to improve
the quality of science education is to teach children to read. There's
some truth in that. If kids know how to read -- and use libraries -- they
can better evaluate the accuracy of information presented by any interest
group, whether it be teachers, scientists or politicians.
3) The Return of "Sigh"
Just thought I'd mention that I stumbled across a set of 50 dinosaur
"trading cards"... based on the artwork of Brian Franczak. The only
information I have on the company that produced it is the name, city and
zip code: Redstone Marketing, Inc., Fort Lee, NJ 07024.
----- Amado Narvaez