A NEW definition of creativity: Next article in series

August 27, 2013 § 1 Comment

Creativity AmbigramThe latest in our series Rethinking Technology and Creativity in the 21st Century is now available. The article was co-authored with Danah Henriksen (and the Deep-Play Research Group) and it titled: A NEW approach to defining and measuring creativity. In this article we seek to provide a definition of creativity, and in turn offer an example of an ongoing research project in which this definition is being used to develop rubrics for evaluating the products of the creative process. Here is a link to the full article

Mishra, P., Henriksen, D., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2013). A NEW approach to defining and measuring creativity. Tech Trends (57) 5, p. 5-13. 

Here is a key quote from the article: « Read the rest of this entry »

The search for pattern, beauty & intelligent life…

August 22, 2013 § 1 Comment

Connecting birds nests to “crop circles under the ocean” leading to some thoughts on perception, beauty and finding intelligent life in the universe (or maybe even on this planet).

The other day I found a bird’s nest on my front lawn. Most probably it had fallen down from the tree above. Here it is. It is a tiny thing. One regular egg would fit snugly in it.

nest « Read the rest of this entry »

Speaking of leadership

August 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

Matt and I were invited to Sydney, Australia a year ago as a part of the Teaching Teachers for the Future (TTF) project. You can see a report in the New Educator: TPACK takes hold in Australia. As a part of this visit we were interviewed to speak a bit about leadership. I just found the video online… so for the record, here it is. Enjoy (or not).

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Why don’t students like school… In 30 mins!

August 8, 2013 § 11 Comments


One of the challenges faced by all instructors is ensuring that students actually read the textbook. This summer we came up with a innovative assignment to address this issue. The book in question was  Daniel Willingham’s Why Don’t Students Like School? A cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom. 

We called it the 3 x 3 x 3 project since their task was to create a video overview for each of the chapters in the book under the following guidelines:  the video should be no more than 3 minutes long, it would provide 3 key ideas from the chapter and 3 practical implications of these ideas for educators and for teaching (hence 3 x 3 x 3!).

Beyond that we provided no constraints on the technology to be used, style to be followed. SInce we had 5 groups and the book has 9 chapters and a conclusion, each group got to create two of these short videos.

Here are the 10 videos the students created. In essence these 10 videos are a video summary of the book in 30 minutes! Enjoy.

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Design thinking, some resources

August 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

I teaching CEP817, Learning Technology by Design in the spring semester. This is a course I love but it also one that needs to be redesigned. So I am always on the look-out for new resources that can help me rethink the class. I just came across the following website: Design Thinking Resources for Educators that seems to be just right for what I do (plan to do). So here it is… merely for archival purposes.

Living words, MAET Summer 2013

July 31, 2013 § 1 Comment

Steven Jobs famously said,

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

This summer the students and instructors of the East Lansing cohort of the MAET program created a short video around this quote.

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How not to conduct research

July 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Note: This post has been edited somewhat to (a) clearly hide the url, which I had not done a good job of before; and (b) to add a few suggestions in the last paragraph for some strategies to make it easier for the participants to take part in the study.  (September 18, 2013).

There are many pitfalls one can face while engaged in conducting research with humans. For instance, if you are designing a survey it is important to make it easy for participants to actually complete it. Matt Koehler pointed out to me one person who just got it totally wrong.

Here is a flyer, recruiting participants for a study on college students’ use of social media, that has been posted near the elevators here at Erickson Hall.

survey « Read the rest of this entry »

Website problems

July 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

hardhat image removed

My website has been facing all kinds of problems over the past few weeks. We have been working on figuring out what went wrong and trying to ensure that it doesn’t recur – but it has taken a while and it’s not clear to us whether we have it all figured out. So the site is up now (with a default template), but in essence I am not sure if it will crash again. So apologies to all who have tried to access the site and here’s to hoping that we have it all figured out.

P.S. (added March 3, 2014): I received a note today letting me know that I had been using an image on this page without giving proper acknowledgment. I truly do know better. So my sincere apologies to MySafetySign.com for not giving them due credit, and I have removed the image from the page.  

New ambigram: Motivation

June 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Just as the subject line says, new ambigram design this time for the word “motivation”

Trans-disciplinary creativity takes root (slowly)

May 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

I wanted to bring attention to two articles that came across my desk today. The first was in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled Creativity: a Cure for the Common Curriculum on efforts at range of universities seeking “to train students in how innovative thinkers …[and] use the tools of creativity to solve problems.”

The second article in yesterday’s Washington Post was titled Engineering students learn how to swing dance during class to help with problem-solving skills.

I have been thinking and writing about this for a while now – and it is good to see some of these initiatives taking root. These are difficult issues to deal with mainly because the return on investment, as it were, for teaching creativity is hard to measure. But that just makes the task all the more interesting.


New ambigram, Algebra

May 29, 2013 § 3 Comments

I have been thinking about the relationship between ambigrams and mathematics – instigated in no small part by an email conversation with Gaurav Bhatnagar. That inspired me to create ambigrams of words that are related to mathematics. There are a few ideas percolating but the first one that came through was the one below— a mirror reflection ambigram of the word “Algebra.” I like this design particularly the manner in which the “e” separates the left-hand-side from the right-hand-side of the equation. This effect is heightened (at least in my mind) in the fact that the “E” looks like an equal-to sign (except with an extra stroke thrown in).

Here it is


2 diagrams: 21st century knowledge synthesized & 7 trans-disciplinary skills

May 10, 2013 § 3 Comments

As I go around presenting my work around 21st century learning I get requests for some of the visuals I show. In particular, I have been receiving requests for

  • Synthesis of 21st Century Knowledge
  • 7 trans-disciplinary skills for creativity in the 21st century

If you choose to use these diagrams in your work please credit it as follows: © Punya Mishra | punyamishra.com 2013

So for future convenience, here they are…

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New Gandhi ambigram

May 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

The quest for a better design continues… Much better, I think, than my previous attempt

New ambigrams for AERA

May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

I was invited to give two talks at the the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Francisco. One was a Ignite presentation (5 minutes, 20 slides set to move at 15 seconds per slide), and the other was an ED Talk (sort of like a TED talk just without the tea). I chose to speak about creativity and technology – though in very different ways in each of these talks. I think both talks went well… While I was preparing for these two talks, I got inspired to create a bunch of new ambigrams. I recently posted four new designs, and now here are three more. I think all three are pretty good, though I am partial to the last one (the 3rd design).  « Read the rest of this entry »

4 new ambigrams (STEM, STEAM, Research & Gandhi)

April 25, 2013 § 4 Comments

Here are four new ambigrams I have created over the past few days. All related in some ways to things I have been thinking about. The first two are for STEM (an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics). The next two are for Research and Gandhi. Why I have been thinking of Gandhi is a long and complex story that I shall leave for a later date. Anyway, here are the new ambigrams.

« Read the rest of this entry »

CEP917 receives AT&T award, update

April 17, 2013 § Leave a comment


I had written beforeCEP917: Knowledge Media Design, a course taught by Dr. Danah Henriksen and myself, in the Fall semester of 2012, received First Place (in the Blended Course category) in the2013 MSU-AT&T Instructional Technology Awards Competition. The awards ceremony was a couple of days ago, and sadly I had to miss it because I was/am out of the country (busy doing this). 917 was well represented at the awards ceremony by Danah as well as William Cain and John Bell (representing the CEPSE/COE Design Studio). Here, for the record, are a couple of links if you want to find out more about the course and the award: « Read the rest of this entry »

New ambigram book, with 3 of my designs

April 3, 2013 § Leave a comment


Ambigrams Revealed: A Graphic Designer’s Guide To Creating Typographic Art Using Optical Illusions, Symmetry, and Visual Perception is a new book edited by Nikita Prokhorov. The book showcases the works of ambigram artists from around the world. It includes commentary, writing from some of the world’s top ambigram artists as well as case studies and tutorials.

Three of my designs made it into the book! I think for someone who does this sparingly, and as a hobby, it is just fantastic to be sharing pages with artists such as John Langdon, Scott Kim, Douglas Hofstadter and more. The three designs that made it into the book are the following:

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Creativity Symposium at SITE2013

March 26, 2013 § 1 Comment

We just completed our symposium at SITE titled: Breaking Disciplinary Boundaries in 21st Century Learning: Creative Teaching with Digital Technologies. The symposium consisted of 7 presentations followed a summary by Teresa Foulger (of Arizona State University). In brief, we argued the following:

The past few decades have seen a tremendous burst of creativity and innovation fueled by digital technologies.  From Google to YouTube, from cloud computing to mobile devices, new technologies have had an immense impact on how we live, work, play, and thereby how we teach and learn (Florida, 2002).  Given the relationship between creativity and technology, it is not surprising that educators have argued that teaching and learning in the 21st century must emphasize both the issues of technology and creativity (Mishra & The Deep-Play Research Group, 2012).  This symposium suggests that a new framework for creativity – trans-disciplinary thinking – provides an invaluable set of meta-level cognitive skills for flexible use in creatively teaching with technology (Mishra, Koehler & Henriksen).  Presentations will describe the framework, present a broader context for 21st century skills such as technology and creative thinking, and discuss a range of examples of ways this framework has been used by skillful, creative K-12 teachers.  The symposium will conclude by describing new directions for research relating to trans-disciplinary thinking among teachers learning to use the framework.

The complete set of slides that went with the presentations can be found below, as well as brief descriptions of each of the presentations.   « Read the rest of this entry »

EPET at SITE 2013

March 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

SITE2013 (the annual conference of the Society of Information Technology in Teacher Education) is being held in New Orleans starting next week. The Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at MSU has a significant presence at the conference. This includes presentations and symposia organized by faculty, graduate students and graduates of our program. Thanks to Josh Rosenberg, we now have a list of all the various events EPET people are involved in. Here it is, arranged chronologically:

« Read the rest of this entry »

Of Art and algorithms: New article

March 18, 2013 § 1 Comment

The latest in our series Rethinking Technology and Creativity in the 21st Century is now available. The article was co-authored with Aman Yadav of Purdue University (and the Deep-Play Research Group) and focuses on the art and science of computational thinking. We offer a slightly broader frame for thinking about computational thinking, a frame that includes artistic creativity.

Here is a link to the full article

Mishra, P., Yadav, A., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2013). Of Art and AlgorithmsTech Trends, (57) 3. p. 10-14.

This article continues the series of papers that the group has been writing. Here is a complete list « Read the rest of this entry »

EPET in the Spotlight!

March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

The current issue of TechTrends (Volume 57, Issue 3, March 2013) is a special spotlight issue, and the spotlight this time around is on the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology Programs at Michigan State University! This special spotlight issue was edited by myself with help from Laura Terry and Danah Henriksen. A special thanks to Abbie Brown (former editor of the journal for starting the process) and Dan Surry and Chuck Hodges for all their help and hand-holding to bring it to fruition. Thanks also to all the authors for being thoughtful and prompt and dealing with our idiosyncratic editorial demands.

Most importantly thanks to all our faculty, staff and students without whose hard work and creativity we would have no programs, assignments, or achievements to write about.

Here are the articles: « Read the rest of this entry »

CEP917 wins MSU-ATT Award

March 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

CEP917 (Knowledge Media Design) a course I co-taught with Danah Henriksen, in the fall semester 2012, received the First Place (in the Blended Course category) in the 2013 MSU-AT&T Instructional Technology Awards Competition. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention John Bell and William Cain as being part of the design team that made 917 possible. You can read our proposal (here) AND see the video that we made as a part of the proposal below.  


On performing one’s identity: A thought inspired by Jonathan Miller

March 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

It is difficult, in a world buffeted by change, to know what to hold on to. I often wonder about this when thinking of teaching and learning, when thinking of the speed at which technology is changing the world we live in… What do we hold on to? What do we let go? How do we know that we are not throwing the baby out with the bathwater? (Some earlier writing that allude to some of these issues can be found here, and here.)

I was thinking of these questions in the context of the series on creativity and trans-disciplinary learning I am writing for TechTrends (see the latest article, with links to previous pieces, here). And yesterday, while speaking with my partner-in-crime, Danah Henriksen, I was reminded of an insight I had many years ago… and one that I had somewhat forgotten. Which led to some searches on google, a few steps back memory-lane, and this blog post. Bear with me here…

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Designing 917: A conversation

March 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

Danah Henriksen and I taught CEP917 (Knowledge Media Design) last semester. This was a somewhat unique class, with half the students being present here on campus and the other half online. We met synchronously once every two weeks and the rest of the class happened through the course website. We recently created a video introducing our experience in designing and teaching this class.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Square Peg, Round Hole, Good Engineering (new article on creativity & learning)

February 22, 2013 § 2 Comments

Our latest article on the series Technology, Creativity & 21st Century Learning  is now available (link and the complete reference given below).

« Read the rest of this entry »

New TPACK themed book on English Education

February 16, 2013 § 1 Comment

My friend Carl Young of NCState recently released an edited volume (co-editor, Sara Kajder a the University of Pittsburgh) titled Research on Technology in English Education. It is a volume in the series: Research Methods for Educational Technology, edited by Walt Heinecke, University of Virginia.

Just as an aside, I edited a book in this series as well (with Matt Koehler & Yong Zhao) many years ago. You can find out more about our book Faculty development by design: Integrating technology in higher education by going here

Coming back to Carl and Kajder’s book… the description and table of contents is given below: « Read the rest of this entry »

Books on visualization & info-graphics

February 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

There was a recent query on the PhD-Design-List regarding sources for designers on how to make good info-graphics and data-visualizations. I am collating the options being put forward by people here, just for the record. « Read the rest of this entry »

My Illusions on the web

February 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

There are a couple of websites that feature work done by me. I had written earlier about Brad Honeycutt’s website An Optical Illusion at (http://www.anopticalillusion.com/). He now features four different ambigrams created by me: You can find them on this page on his site devoted to my work.

More recently, I received an email from Leon Stein the webmaster for Optical Illusion World (at http://opticalillusionworld.com/) letting me know that our family new year’s video was featured on his site. (If you haven’t seen the video, it is embedded below.) I was pleased to read that he had promptly recognized that we were playing with anamorphosis (something we never really explicitly talked about in the video). As he said:

When I first saw this anamorphic video created by Punya Mishra I was blown away. I immediately played the video again so I could make sure I saw it correctly.

It is always great for one’s work to be appreciated–for it to be appreciated by someone with knowledge of how illusions work is icing on the cake. Thanks Leon. The only thing to add here is to give credit where credit is due. I was part of a great team (called my family) in creating this video. So Shreya, Soham, Smita take a bow as well :-)

Here’s the video:


Happy Valentine’s Day (new ambigram)

February 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Happy Valentine's Day (ambigram)


A quick and dirty ambigram for Valentine’s day, scribbled on the back of an envelope (literally), and photographed using my phone!

Have a great day everybody :-)

The future will not be a multiple choice test

February 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

From Chris Sloan, teacher at Judge Memorial Catholic High School and a student in our hybrid PhD program, comes a link to a TED talk. The description is as follows:

Creative genius Drew Davies and forward-thinking educator Jaime McGrath propose a new approach to classroom teaching: Turn curricula into design challenges, classrooms into workshops and teach students to think like designers.

Key quote:

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