Who the heck is this Plaid Avenger character that keeps getting mentioned in conjunction with Boyer or World Regions or textbooks or high fashion? This tartan titan and colorful character is helping educate the next generation of students about what is happening in the world...and he is doing it with an adventurous sense of style. So here's the insider info on this international man of intrigue....
- The Evolution of the Plaid Avenger
- The Textbook & Website
- Download sample chapters pdf
- Visit the Plaid Avenger's Website
- The Comic Book
- Plaid Avenger in the News [list of hotlinked news stories, from master list]
- Plaid Avenger Sightings Photo Album
The Plaid Avenger is an international fighter for freedom, a defender of democracy, and an enlightener of American students on all things global. A meek, well-mannered college professor by day, by night the Plaid Avenger roams the planet to fight international injustices and solve instances of international intrigue...and educate the reader along the way about the real-world facts behind the real-world situations the Avenger finds himself in. To protect his powers as an ace investigator his true identity must be kept a secret and the university that serves as his home base/crime lab must never be divulged.
How did this come to be? Well, in this increasingly globalized world, 'The Professor' became more and more discouraged at the international ignorance displayed by the average American student, and the general public at large. He understood that the world had changed rapidly in the last couple of decades, becoming ever more irrevocably interconnected than ever before...at precisely the same time that the premier role of the US as the sole superpower was on the wane. Like it or not, economies and politics, health and environmental issues, and even societal cultural practices from across the planet are increasingly affecting each other every day and in every way.
Americans now live in a global community....but most students know nothing of their neighbors! This international incompetence must end, and soon, as the success of our future generations-- and the great USA itself--depend on a literate, confident, and comprehending population that is not just aware of the world, but is engaged in it. But how can we immerse and interest an American population long-trained to be self-absorbed and globally disengaged?
The Professor decided to take a bold stand by going out and actually facing the world's issues and problems head-on...experiencing and learning about what is really happening in the world instead of just listening to the blathering babble from politicians or the ten-second sound bites from news pundits. Thus, in turn, he can better relate these stories and situations to students back home in succinct and meaningful ways they can understand, spoken in the vernacular, with all the political correctness and national propaganda stripped away.
Simultaneously being a global citizen and covert operative collecting the facts, the Professor must always be able to blend seamlessly into any society or situation, and his true nationality must remain cloistered...thus his secret identity was born. Enter: the Plaid Avenger. This masked alter ego can cunningly chameleon himself into any culture with his stylish use of retro 1970's menswear, find out the facts, and then devise devilishly clever ways to captivate his students with the in-depth knowledge they need to understand the world when he returns to the classroom...
And that is really what we are all about here! Educating and illuminating students about what is happening out in the world, getting them fully engaged in the globalized 21st century, and instilling a lifelong curiosity to keep up with planetary happenings. In this pursuit, the Plaid Team has experimented with radical new concepts in education, and the delivery mechanisms for material itself. How so?
Well, The Plaid Avenger's World is a radical departure from the boring, painful to read, encyclopedic-style tripe that students have come to accept as the only option for textbooks. This book is a titanic tool for international enlightenment, but with a twist: the narrative is presented in first person, straight from the Avenger’s mouth, in the vernacular of the street, with gritty detail that students seem to relish. Yes, it is presented in a light-hearted, 'unacademic' fashion; yes it has humor; and yes, it may even be offensive to the stuffed shirts and traditionalists that would like our society to revert to the “good ol' days” of the 1950's. However, that ain't gonna happen, and we think students in 21st century America are excited to be presented information in this refreshingly candid and honest fashion.
But wait! It's not just the down-to-earth, pragmatic, and realistic read of the textbook: oh no, there are other plaid products pushing this practical paradigm into other educational avenues as well! At http://www.plaidavenger.com the educational menu is choked full of daily specials including: plaid podcasts, graphic novels, plaid professor video lectures, on-line student forums, live streaming on-line interactions, and a plethora of other premier plaid projects in development to expand educational opportunities to all types of learners, from the unsuspecting undergrad to the continuing ed professionals, all across the planet.
And these plaid products are also embracing the evolving communications technologies, and shifting information-access habits of students as well! The shift away from standard media sources (newspapers, TV, radio) to on-line formats has happened at a blistering pace, and Team Plaid is on the forefront of this shift, striving to revolutionize the education industry for this new generation of learner that absorbs information in new ways...how?
The Plaid Avenger website incorporates live office hours streaming of 'The Professor,' pre-recorded lectures on the major global themes and world regions, interactive student forums, and current events video blogging...that is, the Avenger himself appears on a video blog on-line 1-2 times weekly to explain and elaborate on current events as they are unfolding! Students from anywhere in the country can tune in and get turned on to what is actually happening out in the real world, as the man in plaid makes the connections from the page to the planet.
Additional web resources such as World Leaders Profiles, on-line versions of The Plaid Avenger's Comic Book adventures, International Interviews offering insights from students from around the world, interactive student forums, and Plaid Avenger Film Community have been developed for, and with input from, actual high school and college students....just as the original textbook was developed too. It is a product of the peoples! As such, students can learn from each other, and also have a voice in future topics as well: all Plaid Avenger current events missions and website content is based on user requests! Want an explanation on a hot topic or to see an additional world leader of note? Just drop a line to the Avenger and it will happen!
International enlightenment for Americans, in a vibrant, accessible, fun forum. This is the passion of The Professor. This is the mission of The Plaid Avenger. This is the excitement the the Plaid Team incites. So travel along with our hero in the fun while learning the fundamentals, and simultaneously get yourself hip to global issues of great consequence to the globally literate.
But it's not just about the textbook! The Plaid Team also embraces the use of other, more radical and non-mainstream forms of eduction, like the graphic novel! Forever accepted and relegated to being simple entertainment for kids, we have embraced the concept of the 'comic book' and repurposed it for international education aimed at the high school to adult crowd...using the Avenger as a vehicle to explain critical, real-world situations happening around the globe in our time, with appealing artist flair! An educational picture book for adults? Absolutely, and a whole lot more!
Two globally-themed adventures have thus far been created elaborating on important issues of our times. Our first foray into the full-on graphic realm finds our hero traveling north of the Arctic Circle to investigate and illuminate about the geopolitical and economic impacts of the retreating permanent ice cap at the North Pole. A major territorial fight is festering up there, with major world powers in the ring! Russian President Vladimir Putin guest stars.
In the second installment of our series, the Plaid Avenger travels to Burma in a brazen attempt to secure the release of Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and Burmese democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi...all while explaining the sad state of affairs in this once promising Asian nation due to the oppressive military dictatorship which has crushed it for decades. Senior General Than Shwe guest stars.
(And how fortuitous that second edition turned out to be! The Burma adventure turned out to be ultimately more timely, as events in Burma are changing fast, and Boyer's World Regions class had the ultimate honor bestowed on them by getting an audience to live skype with Aung San Suu Kyi herself in Nov 2011! Check out the entire event here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_U7krILSoQ)
Here is what others have had to say about the Plaid Avenger's foray into the graphic format:
Interactive educational comic/app: Plaid Avenger in Mexico!
Kickstarter fund raiser
License to Teach: The Plaid Avenger
Comics Waiting Room Review of Plaid Avenger #2: Battle for Burma
Comics Waiting Room
Marketing a Super Hero
Comic Book Bin Review of Plaid Avenger #2: Battle for Burma
Comic Book Bin
Behind the Scenes With The Plaid Avenger
Comic Book Bin
Comic Critique Review of Plaid Avenger #1: Arctic Antics
Comic Critique .Com
Comic Book Bin Review of Plaid Avenger #1: Arctic Antics
Comic Book Bin
'This is learning in action'
The Roanoke Times
Geography book stir controversy
From time to time, even a top secret super-heros antics make it into the public eye and become part of reported current events. The Avenger does his best to quell these occasional investigative inquiries, but not all are successfully stymied. Here are a few stories that the Avenger was unable to subvert:
The Plaid Avenger strikes again
Crafting an Academic Screencasting Persona
Convenience or Convention: Publishers, Tech professors are making the switch to alternative textbooks
Virginia Tech professor's artwork used in Libyan protests
Blacksburg man's pen mightier than the sword
The Roanoke Times
While the Avenger does a decent job of remaining aloof and behind the scenes of major world events, even his evasive powers of plaid are sometimes captured on camera, much to the chagrin of the CIA, FBI, MI6, KGB, Interpol, and multiple other government agencies that regularly deny his existence.