Sunday, October 15, 2023

The Erratic Tik - Tok Brain Embraces Entertainment

To continue my ongoing discussion of “Solid learning factors”, including focus, many articles today discuss concerns about the current 1-minute Tik Tok brain instilling erratic focus for our young people. 

Poor focus interferes with listening integration sorely needed for sequencing, learning, retaining and applying new material.

 Artificial Intelligence (AI) cannot compensate for learner cognitive deficiencies. Actually, AI can make matters even worse.

 Scrambling for Focus through Entertainment:

Historical Impact:

 No matter how poor an individual’s focus capability has become, one thing is certain: Entertainment will be embraced.

 What entertainment?

 Answer: Anything that excites the nervous system and brain, i.e. – video games or circus acts, and sporting events of all types. (Regarding the latter, erratic focus on the football game plays fails, when looking for Taylor Swift in the press box).

 Additionally, entertainment focus includes amusement parks, stage comedy, mime, ventriloquism, and magic tricks.

Subsequently, it stands to reason, that speaking, looping, puppet faces might provoke staring, leading to focus.

 The learning concept of looping, filmed faces emerged from a long puppetry/ventriloquism history.

 To begin – “The Entertainers”:

 1893 – Professor “Doc” Brown, living with a family of three, growing children, in rural Tonganoxie, Kansas, decided to carve some amusing vent figures. He liked to entertain rural area folks, who stared at the strange, wooden, talking faces. 

Professor Brown becomes a local “hit" for a few people, so decided to hike to the New York Stage with a backpack of puppets. 

Although it took him awhile to travel such a distance, he was well received on local city small vaudeville stages, making some income to feed his family. They have been surviving on buttermilk and popcorn in rural Kansas.


1923 - 1955 “Doc” Brown’s two sons, Fay and Foy E, are soon carving wooden faces like their father had done earlier. They perform for local Kansas folks and are well received at holiday organizational holiday events, needing entertainment.

1935 – 1955    Roughly in the same time frame, Ventriloquism was becoming a hit comedy act for night club entertainment on the East and West coast areas. Many tried to perform in Hollywood films but failed to succeed in that medium.

 1960 - 1972 – 1979    Jan, with a teaching background in Des Moines, Iowa, training children to emulate science, math, and reading units learning into writing poetry and comedy scripts for parental shows. Parents were thrilled with their children’s’ learning prowess obtained through the arts, science, and music.

 The Erland family now moves to Kansas City, and later to Lawrence whose school district finds arts and science creativity learning incompatible with their educational philosophy. The local district employs The University of Kansas’ “strategies,” paper and pencil methods. 

Jan is applying the puppetry into her University of Kansas master's degree’s learning disabilities project “Following Oral Directions” with peers and puppets. 

The final outcome of the “Peers and Puppets” experiment was that team students’ TIED with the puppetry methods. Both groups focused on a peer role model and the teaching cloth puppet. All win-wins.

 Jan Erland is soon introduced to Foy Brown, the wood carver and former entertainer, who is a fire fighter, by trade. He carves, as a hobby, during –fire call lapses, at the fire station.

Jan meets with Foy, in 1972, purchases two ventriloquist dummies, and soon is applying puppetry comedy routines for advertising with her three children as musical and speaking performers. It becomes a summer activity for the three children, who are musical.

 Soon, Foy introduced Jan to Lucille Elmore, the noted 1940’s to 50’s stage performer. retired in Topeka, Kansas. Jan purchased her “Lily” (then called Snoopy) vent figure, and Lucille later bequeaths her 1935 carved “Butch O’Malley” puppet to Jan. Butch becomes filmed, as Lucille desired, for his final destiny.

1980 – 1981 – 1996 Jan forms Mem-ExSpan, Inc. and Innovative Learning Stratagems, a 401 c3, nonprofit, as teaching/training entities for creative methodologies. Data collections become paramount in establishing creative puppetry for learning change.

 Milestone filming years: 1986 – 1988 – 1997 –2007 – 2012 – 2017 ­­­­– 2023 – converting wooden figures to a film format laced with data collections. (Five filming/audio recording generations applying puppet vocals).

 Foy E. Brown witnessed the film transfer just before he passed in 1988 and was astounded. What would our “Professor –Doc Brown” (Foy’s father) think if he saw his wooden figures able to transfer easily, streamed online, rather than walking to New York City?

 Do we have a valid conduit for focus and mental coding transfer applying the puppets’ looping faces and voices? Continuous data confirms that we do. But, will anyone apply it in a world of advancing technology forces with an erratic one-minute Tik Tok brain focus?