“The Big Short” – The Best Educational “Media” I’ve Seen In Long Time

26 Jan 2016, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Children's Media, Distance Learning, Edtech, instructional design, Responding to RFPs, Software Engineering, women in technology
Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie explains sub-prime mortgages in the “Big Short“.

Years ago I worked for the Walt Disney Company in their Educational “Media” group.  Our mandate was to create workbooks, filmstrips (yes, filmstrips) and films for the school market. Our goal was to bring the Disney “magic” to learning and we had plenty of good examples to lead the way.

Walt Disney was a master communicator.  He knew how to introduce complicated concepts to the average guy and make them understandable and appealing. Of course, he also had large budgets to work with and amazing actors (including Mickey et al) to deliver the “courses.” Our little group did not have all of those advantages, but we had spirit and intellect and we did produce some very engaging content.  Still, we never could produce what we dreamed of doing….

Since then, in many different companies, I have cautioned colleagues and employees not to assume that people that make educational media are “boring” or incapable of knowing what makes content engaging.  Sadly, budgets restrict creativity enormously.

I suppose no one but someone with my background would have reacted to The Big Short as a an amazing educational triumph, but I did.

I loved the film for many reasons, superb acting, writing, etc. but also a highly effective way of communicating complicated content to those of us who do not have MBAs or years of financial experience.  If only we could use actors like that, writers like that, and budgets like that, to teach our kids.  What a difference it would make!

Please, please, Hollywood, take on more complex subjects, make them understandable, and start a trend!

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