Pinky and Perky and Swedish Topless Model Caught in Use as Learning Objects
Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 4 December 2008
I introduced Pinky and Perky in a recent blog post and I used them when I presented my paper on “Library 2.0: Balancing the Risks and Benefits to Maximise the Dividends” at the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference. And recently I used the dancing and singing pigs from the days of my youth when I gave the final invited plenary talk on “Realising The Potential of Web 2.0” at the “Nordlib 2.0 – Get Inspired by Web 2.0 for Libraries” conference held in Stockholm.
In Stockholm I used the video clip to illustrate how the dangers of an over-managed approach to popular culture wasn’t introduced in the Web era – Pinky and Perky were banned from the BBC in 1996: there was a general election about to be held and I assume the BBC were concerned about “pinko lefty” sentiments which they might try to influence young and impressionable minds (after all, where do you think the term pinko came from :-). This reference is available 47 minutes into the presentation (see Google Video or the Zentation link- where its synched to the slide on “Inappropriate Content“).
On the day before the conference I visited the Nordiska Museum where I saw a cigarette case (I think it was - I couldn’t read the Swedish description) which featured a topless model – from the 17th or 18th century. Again I felt that this provided a useful example I could use at the conference to illustrate my point that use of new technologies for ‘pornography’ is nothing new.
Now these two examples meant something to me and where likely to be new to the audience, thus avoiding reuse of cliched presentational devices. In the talk in Stockholm I also updated my slides a hour or so before delivering the talk, using a tweet and subsequent blog post from Karen Blakeman in which she commented that PageFlakes had added advertisments on its Web site overnight, without prior notice. “How would you respond if that happened to a Web 2.0 service you used in your organisation?” I asked the audience.
Non of these example made use of learning resources from a learning object repository. And for the objects I used (a YouTube video of Pinky and Perky, a photograph I had taken in a local museum and an interesting discussion point I’d came across a few hours previously) it would make little sense for me to deposit for reuse by others. Their value, I feel, comes from their relevance to me and my style of presentation, their (regional) links with the place I’m talking at and their timeliness. In fact I also made use of a Barack Obama image and the “Yes we can” slogan which again will time out very quickly.
Do we need repositories for learning objects, I might ask. Or are such repositories for the chore presentations (yet another talk on the same old subject to a large group of undergraduates), which won’t be used by speakers who want to provide fresh and relevant talks? On the other hand, perhaps this is mere indulgencies on the part of the speaker. After all, will a group of Nordic librarians ‘get’ Pinky and Perky? Mm, maybe I should have used the Swedish chef from the Muppets? or Abba, perhaps, if I want to go for the more popular British stereotypes of Swedish culture?