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Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Comics

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Friday 11th March 2011

  • Interactive Comics: Techniques to Enhance Math Education

    by John Baird

    Comics have a long history of use in education and promoting understanding in a wide range of topics from English to history to public health. This presentation covers multiple levels of the employment of comics in math education, beginning with simple classroom activities, moving into mathematics pedagogical research methodology, and delving into advanced cognitive research to explore the mechanisms of how comics reinforce instruction. As a teaching tool, comics are inherently well suited for patterns, geometric shapes, and visual representations of data. They can be a form of stealth teaching - engaging students to think creatively about mathematics, helping instill intrinsic motivation and improving long-term retention. Accurate assessment of math attitudes and learning environments is a key challenge in addressing discrepancies in knowledge and performance. Comicvoice, a research method using comics to collect individual perspectives and has demonstrated utility in exploring similar public health topics, has strong applicability to this problem. Navigating the symbolic language of math is a known barrier for many students. Current research into how the brain translates concepts and similarities suggests that comics provide a pathway for alleviating this barrier through the very nature of being “sequential art.” By traversing through each of these stages, a holistic picture of comics’ place in the development of advanced math pedagogical techniques becomes clear.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Rio, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown

Saturday 12th March 2011

  • What Comic Books Can Teach Mobile Application Designers

    by Anjuan Simmons

    Mobile application design is a conversation that allows the developer to speak to the user. While manuals are able to guide this conversation, nothing is more immediate and enduring than the user interface of the application itself. The small size of mobile device screens requires developers to create user interfaces that communicate to users in ways that are concise yet easy to understand.

    The comic book medium offers many design standards that mobile application developers can use to improve the effectiveness of their graphical user interface designs. Comic books have evolved through the years to maximize their ability to tell a story while confined to two dimensional static images. Comic book legend Will Eisner published “Comics and Sequential Art” in 1985 in order to document his mastery of using graphics to tell a story. This presentation will explore the design principles Eisner shared in his landmark book and specifically apply them to mobile application design. Scott McCloud’s book “Understanding Comics”, which built on top of the foundation laid by Eisner, will also be covered as well as McCloud’s later work “Reinventing Comics”.

    Film makers have used comic books as the blueprint for blockbuster movies like “Spider Man” and “Batman Returns”. The comic book medium can provide a blueprint for blockbuster mobile applications as well. When attendees leave this session, they will know how to throw some Eisner onto their mobile application designs!

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

Sunday 13th March 2011

  • Comics Meet Up

    As the SXSW Interactive Festival continues to grow, it often becomes harder to discover /network with the specific type of people you want to network with. Hence a full slate of daytime Meet Ups are scheduled for the 2011 event. These Meet Ups are definitely not a panel session -- nor do they offer any kind of formal presentation or AV setup. On the contrary, these sessions are a room where many different conversations can (and will) go on at once. This timeslot is for registrants to network with other SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum registrants who are interested in Comics. Cash bar onsite.

    Comic book readers are encouraged to stop by this meet up to interact with other attendees and talk about their favorite books. New readers, as well as old, are welcome to attend. After all, comics are now cool.  Hollywood celebrity Megan Fox says she reads the Avengers (citation needed).

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Victorian Room, Driskill Hotel

  • Of Fanboys & Fidelity - Adapting Comics For Broad Audiences

    by Howard Gertler, Robert Rodriguez and Greg Rucka

    As the film industry digs deep into the world of comics and graphic novels for source material, how do writers, directors and producers assess the best way to get it to the screen to entice fanpeople and newbies alike? For some of the indie, more idiosyncratic books, how do you retain that uniqueness while broadening access to it? Director/writer/producer Robert Rodriguez (“Frank Miller’s Sin City”) and comics creator/writer Greg Rucka (“Whiteout”) will discuss the challenges and pleasures in going from panel to screen.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Your Caption Here: How-to Manipulate Images Without Photoshop

    by Jessica Hagy, Austin Kleon, Drew Dernavich, Ross Nover and Maris Kreizman

    We all know how easy it is to doctor an image with Photoshop, but there's an even easier and low-tech way to alter an image's meaning: just change the caption. It turns out that pictures can say whatever we want them to say, provided we use the right words. In this session, we'll get the lowdown from a panel of bloggers and cartoonists who have elevated captioning to a brilliant, often hilarious art form. We'll learn why the old writing adage "Show don't tell" is useless, and how a picture might be worth a thousand words, but when it's paired with a caption that deepens, expands, or redefines its meaning, it can be worth a million.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In TX Ballroom 5-7, Hyatt Regency Austin

  • Speaking to Geeks

    by Joanne Yang, Jenny , Brian Kelley, Joveth Gonzalez, Kellie Parker and Justin Rojas

    Being geek is “in” today but how do companies and marketers talk to these currently-hip-but-not-hipsters and become part of the pop culture landscape themselves? Representatives from the pillars of geekdom: anime, comics, videogames and films share how they use social marketing to reach and win over the smart and the skeptical and reap the benefits of nerd word of mouth.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom F, Austin Convention Center