GeoBookStudio again attends IBHA Conference

IBHA 2016: Building Big History: Research and Teaching

The GeoBookStudio Team attended the third IBHA Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands and were honored to give several presentations/lectures.

President and principal author Wendy Curtis lectured on GeoBook’s latest project, called "The Little Big History of Flight." Principal illustrator and co-author Evan Penn Serio gave a presentation on the use of technology in the classroom, titled “The Education Revolution will be Cross-Platform.” Together, the two co-authors presented a lecture on the synergistic nature of creating flagship and mini-projects in tandem, called “The Writing of Little Big Histories can Facilitate the Writing of a Flagship Big History and Vice Versa.”

Fred Spier gave the keynote address, "Unexpected Goldmines," to the conference.

View the program for the 2016 IBHA Conference here.

Special thanks to Lowell Gustafson, Fred Spier, Donna Tew, Melanie During, Esther Quaedackers, the Universiteit von Amsterdam, the IBHA, and everyone who made this conference possible.

Presentation Abstracts:
The Little Big History of Flight
Both an asset and an obstacle, gravity guides objects gliding through the topography of space, but humans will not use this tool in space travel until they have first overcome this hurdle to terrestrial flight. The first animals to fly are the insects, at a time when tetrapods are struggling to even stand on dry land. Pterosaurs fly before the birds, but fail to survive the extinction event caused by an astroid. Mammals also survive and bats soon evolve flight. Millennia later, humans learn to sail boats and dream of flying. Finally humans achieve flight in lighter-than-air ships, which are soon eclipsed by airplanes. Interaction of the airplane with the wartime industrial economy creates astonishingly rapid further development.
How quickly we have moved from spears and fletched arrows to intercontinental ballistic missiles, drones, satellites and cell phones. What comes next, a menace of drones or flying cars or new space discoveries that lead to a revolution of physics?

The Writing of Little Big Histories can Facilitate the Writing of a Flagship Big History and Vice Versa
While presentations of Big History must give proportionate weight to a whole spectrum of events and ideas, the requirements for Little Big Histories are less arduous. Little Big Histories are easier to write because only the specific topic must be covered adequately and although there must be some tiebacks to earlier cosmological, planetary and other events, it is not necessary that all of these topics be covered comprehensively. Although Little Big Histories are more limited, they must still follow the Big History format of having to start at the beginning and progress along a timeline. This acts as a guide and facilitates the construction of the new work.
This paper will present various techniques for assembling Little Big Histories and then merging several to create a Big History work, as well as using a preexisting Big History work as a guide and information reservoir for shorter works.

The Big History Education Revolution will be Cross-Platform
Big History as a genre shows the interconnectedness of seemingly disparate subjects as a synergistic structure. If Big History is to indeed shatter the single-silo, niche nature of academia, then this synergy and structure must also be transposed onto methods of presenting this information. Evolution has equipped humans to be exceptional visual learners, a trait which traditional approaches to education and information presentation often don’t make the most of. Instead of relying chiefly on text, with only a few other supplements -often presented as standalone items- multiple methods that interrelate with each other should be used. Humans are pattern seekers; separately developed modules can later be analyzed for patterns and relationships and integrated into new structures. An approach of this kind engages more parts of the human brain, produces a more holistic learning environment, is extensible in its design, and can be tailored to a wide variety of audiences.