Why do posters and notices in computer labs have to be so serious? Surely it just deters people from using the stuff?
I recall one school in which 10 seconds in the computer lab had you nervously looking around for the heavy mob: the walls were covered in posters telling you what was forbidden – forbidden! The general ambience was not improved by the bars on all the windows. Understandable, but even so….
Anyway, I’ve been sorting out my mother’s stuff and came across the poster shown above. My ma and pa had a shop, and this was one of two notices they had on the walls. The other one, which has disappeared over the years, announced, in huge letters, “This is a non-profit organisation”. Underneath, in a much smaller font, was the sentence “It wasn’t mean to be, but that’s the way it turned out.”
I remember a cover of MAD Magazine which had emblazoned across it in huge letters “Last issue!”. Close up, what it actually said was “If you thought our last issue was bad, wait till you read this one!”
What each of these posters did was to make you do a double-take, and read it properly. In the case of the credit rating one shown here, it gets the point across that the shop doesn’t offer credit, but in a lighthearted way. It’s a positive message, saying we do give credit – as long as you meet the conditions stipulated (which I think these days is almost a real possibility, but that’s beside the point!).
So, by way of a challenge, can you – or your students, of course – come up with humorous posters that get across ideas like not printing off a copy of your 30 page document every time you change a comma, or not to share their passwords with anyone else? Could the students doing Art come up with some eye-catching designs? Does your school have a photography club whose members could come up with something good, or could you devote some ICT lesson time to taking photos and processing them to come up with something that people want to look at and actually read?
Everything I’ve said here goes for instructions you write for using digital recorders or digital cameras, or laptops or tablets.
Why depress everyone who wants to use educational technology, when it is just as easy, and almost certainly more effective, to make them laugh instead?
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may like In Praise of Silliness as well.