Ġorġ Mallia

Author, cartoonist, and instructional technologist

 

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Directors General of Higher Education Meeting

Dr Ġorġ Mallia participated in the Dirctors General of Higher Education Meeting, held as part of Malta's EU presidency. The two day meeting was held on March 13 and 14, at the Dolmen Hotel, Qawra. The theme of the meeting was "Pursuing Digital Technology in Higher Education".

Dr Mallia gave a talk on Learner centred education and then led a lively workshop about the subject.

Dr Mallia's participation was invited by Ms Edel Cassar, chairperson of the meeting.

A group photo of the delegates and speakers at the Directors General of Higher Education meeting held in Malta in March, 2017. Dr Mallia is in the front row, third from left.

Sigurd and the Tree of Life

Ġorġ Mallia’s latest children’s book is in English, and draws visually on the Scandinavian “tomtenissar” (Santa’s elves) that are so popular as decorations over the Christmas season.

But there’s nothing Christmasy about Mallia’s Sigurd and the Tree of Life, as it’s a tale that involves the last wizard on Earth searching out the tree of life before a poison that’s been fed into its roots kills it, and with it all of life in the world.

The book, aimed at children that are between eight and twelve years old, came into being when Mallia, well known for his cartoons and illustrations, drew a picture of the traditional “tomtenisse”, lamp in hand, looking out at the reader. The “tomtenissar’s” faces are usually hidden behind long hats and very long beards, with the nose peeking out. Mallia has stuck with this depiction of his characters, going for a puppet-like rendering of figures, populating the bare forests of the cold north.

In fact, Sigurd lives on the edge of one such forest, and is visited by the spirit of an ancient wizard who tells him of the danger to the tree of life. The rest of the book is Sigurd’s dangerous quest (with evil wizards creating huge obstacles in his way) to save the tree.

There are quite obvious hints to ecology and the way the environment is slowly being corroded by those who are too selfish to think of the future, but this is a subtle, understood message in the story that creates a world full of wonders, dangers and a quest that needs to succeed.

Sigurd and the Tree of Life is published in hardback by Horizons, and is illustrated with nineteen full colour drawings by the author. It is being launched at the Malta Book Festival next week.

The cover of Sigurd and the Tree of Life, published by Horizons

Talk and discussion panel on Freedom of Expression and Online Defamation

On February 26, 2016, Dr Ġorġ Mallia, as Head of Department of Media and Communications, led a panel discussion following a talk by UNESCO Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Professor Guy Berger. Professor Berger had been brought over by the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences to give a research seminar to the staff of the Faculty. The talk on Online Defamation was given at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra, in collaboration with the Tumas Fenech Foundation for Journalism Education. The panel discussion went into the pros and cons of criminal libel and the extent and nature of defamation, particularly in an age of social network diffusion. The panel included, apart from Professor Berger himself, Professor Joe Cannataci (UN Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy); Mr Karl Wright (chairman of the Institute of Malta Journalists) and leading libel lawyer Dr Joe Zammit Maempel.

The discussion panel on Online Defamation at the Dolmen Hotel, Qawra on February 26, 2016

Il-Professur Għasfur

In June, 2015, one of Malta's best publishers, Merlin Publishers, published Ġorġ Mallia's first book for children in six years. The book, which he also illustrated with twenty three black and white cartooned images, introduced a new character to Maltese juvenile literature, Il-Professur Għasfur.

Merlin's official press release for the book reads as follows:

Ġorġ Mallia is a name intimately connected with the world of books and reading. A researcher, academic, author and illustrator, he is rarely far away from a book. Various other commitments have, however, kept him away from writing children’s books, so his return to children’s fiction this year is a very welcome comeback after a six-year break.

His new novel, Il-Professur Għasfur, is also his first with publishing house Merlin Publishers.

The book sets out to be a ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ of multidimensionality, where an 11-year-old girl – Katrin – finds herself in the laboratory of a very peculiar scientist, nicknamed Professor Bird (il-Professur Għasfur).

Together with a very special tortoise, she ends up whizzing from one dimension to the next on board the professor’s unique and experimental dimensional-travel platform. Each alternate reality presents a ‘what could have been’ version of the world, much to Katrin’s amazement.

Even as the professor is intent on mapping all possible dimensions, the three adventurers find themselves in unexpected, sticky situations and need all their wits to find their way out and safely back home.

Mallia is a cartoon artist. Readers of Il-Professur Għasfur are also regaled with his illustrations for the book. Drawn in a cartoony style in lush blacks and grey, the 23 illustrations complement the writing, often adding detail to the many characters and contexts that is not evident in the narrative itself so that the words and drawings work hand in hand to tell the whole story.

Il-Professur Għasfur will not only appeal to fantasy and science fiction fans, but also to all those who like a fast-paced adventure story written in crisp contemporary Maltese. Il-Professur Għasfur is available from all bookshops or online.

Ġorġ Mallia's first children's book in six years, Il-Professur Għasfur,  published by Merlin Publishers

The Social Classroom

Early in 2014, a collection of international papers exploring Social Media use in education were edited by Ġorġ Mallia and published as the book, The Social Classroom: Integrating Social Media Use in Education. The large book was published by the prestigious American academic publishing company IGI Global, of Hershey, PA. The book went on to be widely used as a reference work in this topical area of study, with quite a few universities around the world adopting it as a standard text.

A mini-website dedicated to the publication can be found HERE.

This was the description of the book provided by the publisher:

As technology is being integrated into educational processes, teachers are searching for new ways to enhance student motivation and learning. Through shared experiences and the results of empirical research, educators can ease social networking sites into instructional usage.

The Social Classroom: Integrating Social Network Use in Education collates different viewpoints on how social networking sites can be integrated in education. Highlighting both formal and informal uses of social interaction tools as learning tools, this book will be very useful to all educators, trainers and academic researchers in all aspects of education looking for a theoretical/practical approach to resourceful teaching.

Reading a copy of The Social Classroom, a huge 570-page book that explores different viewpoints on using Facebook and other social networks in educational practice

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© Ġorġ Mallia 2017