Depictions of the Immaterial
The Thirst for Knowledge
Magazine Assignment

Young minds have a natural affinity for learning and it is a teacher's job not only to supply the facts, but to allow them to flow at the rate which they are needed. For this article in a major western university magazine, the writer proposes that teaching is a technology, but that it does not require technology in the modern sense of the word, meaning computers. Learning happens naturally and the technology of instruction seeks to harness, enlist, divert and transform this energy stream.

Conveniently for the illustrator, the writer opens the article with a quote comparing computers to irrigation. This metaphor vividly manifests in the mind as it is easy to imagine electrical current as a river of electrons, being pumped, diverted and stored by the circuit. The writer argues instructional technology does not require modern software or hardware, but is an age-old technology of orchestrating the natural learning process.

For this assignment I initially responded with two rough drawings based on the irrigation concept. In one, a figure stands in a field of seedlings. Holding a book in his outstretched arm causes a resemblance to the wind powered water pump in the background. The young seedlings are vaguely human with leaf-arms out and reaching upward.

In the second rough, which was chosen, a small figure representing the teacher controls a sluice gate. From the student's mind srrpouts a colorful bouquet of imagination. Next, the revise round rough was based on author input and adds student control of the sluice to show the participatory nature of learning. The teacher is shown digging a new channel to add to the sources that the student controls and draws from. [dr]
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