Elephant in the rearview mirror

Marshall McLuhan:

The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.

People need metaphors to understand unfamiliar concepts. We tend to talk about new things using metaphors, similies and analogies. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that – in fact, it can be helpful!

David Wiley:

Say your friend buys you an Amazon or iTunes gift card for your birthday. When your friend buys the gift card, they are required to provide your email address, both so that (1) the store knows where to send the gift card and (2) the store can verify you’re you when you come to claim the gift card. After your friend completes the purchase, you receive an email containing a special code. To redeem the gift card, you go to a website, verify your identity, and enter the code. After you enter the code, a certain amount of credit appears in your account, which you can spend however you like.

I think that’s rather a useful simile for Open Badges.

What do you think?

Image CC BY exfordy