March 18th, 2013 Punya Mishra Posted in Creativity, Design, Good | Bad Design, Learning, MAET, News, Online Learning, Philosophy, Publications, Research, Science, Stories, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading No Comments »
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 »
March 5th, 2013 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Online Learning, Personal, Representation, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Video, Worth Reading No Comments »
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 »
February 7th, 2013 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Philosophy, Teaching, Technology, Video, Worth Reading No Comments »
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.
August 9th, 2012 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Representation, Research, Worth Reading No Comments »
I have been a great fan of Baskerville, the font for a long time. I love the manner it looks on a page and most importantly I love its italic ampersand! Check it out below… isn’t that beautiful.
I remember setting my doctoral dissertation in Baskerville and receiving grief from the University of Illinois dissertation formatting police because it was not in the listed list of fonts. I believed in this strongly enough that I fought it – and won! My dissertation remained in Baskerville.
Anyway, I had always assumed that my preference for Baskerville was a matter of personal taste (of course my taste was better than that of others… but still). But now there is scientific evidence of how Baskerville is better than other fonts. Read the rest of this entry »
September 8th, 2011 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Good | Bad Design, Learning, MAET, Philosophy, Publications, Research, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading No Comments »
I am extremely proud of what we do as a part of our Master’s in Ed Tech (MAET) program. It is a unique program and over the years we have worked hard to make it a multi-faceted and unique experience for your students. Over the next few weeks I (with some help from doctoral student Laura Terry) will be posting examples of the excellent work our students do in this program. (See here for the first post about representing educational tensions with photography.)
The design of our program is very carefully thought through—driven both by powerful theoretical ideas grounded in the pragmatics of teaching and learning. Just this week I found out that a paper we had written about the kinds of activities we do in the MAET program just got published. If you are interested in teacher education and teacher professional development or specifically in the MAET program please check out: Read the rest of this entry »
September 1st, 2011 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Good | Bad Design, Identity, Personal, Philosophy, Teaching, Worth Reading 1 Comment »
Steve Jobs retired as CEO of Apple this past week. The Wall Street Journal marked this event by creatingSteve Job’s Best Quotes compendium. There are all worth reading – but a couple stood out for their connection to this course.
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did 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. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. [Playboy, Feb. 1, 1985] Read the rest of this entry »
May 30th, 2011 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Representation, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading 1 Comment »
TPACK is huge in Australia (for instance see this note TPACK underpins Aussie Teacher Ed Restructuring). I am hopeful that one of these days this interest will translate into a trip down-under… It would be great to travel around the continent, giving talks, meeting some cool educators, and maybe even get to see some cricket! How cool would that be.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 29th, 2011 Punya Mishra Posted in Design, Engineering, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Philosophy, Publications, Research, Science, Teaching, Technology, Worth Reading 6 Comments »
I have been a huge fan of Don Norman ever since I first ran into his book on the Psychology of Everyday Things (which he later renamed as The Design of Everyday Things, and the story behind that name change is worth reading as an excellent example of design). Don Norman also was the inspiration behind my collection of examples of good and bad design, something that ended up in the CEP817, Learning Technology by Design seminar.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 1st, 2011 Punya Mishra Posted in Creativity, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Mathematics, Online Learning, Philosophy, Representation, Research, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading 3 Comments »
As I go around the country talking about the TPACK framework, one of the questions that is always put to me is, about which comes first when planning a lesson, content, pedagogy or technology. The standard answer is that content comes first since it is only after we decide what it is that we want our students to learn (the content) that we can speak of how we are to teach it (the pedagogy) and what tools to use (the technology). Read the rest of this entry »
February 6th, 2011 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, India, Personal, Representation, Worth Reading 5 Comments »
I just came across this sign on a wall in Bhubaneswar. Check it out, nothing less than “Tension free shiting!” All you have to do is dial a number!
Here is the sign cropped close
Here is the complete sign.
It is part of an advertisement for a packing and moving company. The painter droped the “f” in the word “shift!” I love the fact that this service is available through dialing a single phone number, from anywhere in the country and you can use any mode that you like to dial it in!
November 19th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Economics, Engineering, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Philosophy, Psychology, Representation, Research, Science, Teaching, Technology, Worth Reading No Comments »
The Dubberly Design Office has created a series of models of innovation, play and design. These are terrific resources and I just found out about them by chance. I see these as being quite significant in the classes I teach, including CEP817: Learning Technology by Design; CEP818: Creativity in Teaching and Learning; and CEP917: Knowledge Media Design.
I am including links to a couple of their models – but I do recommend visiting their site to see more…
What is cool is that they have created a whole series of posters that can be downloaded as pdfs.
I haven’t had the time to look at all their work in detail… I but I anticipate going back there multiple times in the future.
October 21st, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Ambigrams, Art, Blogging, Creativity, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Personal, Puzzles, Representation, Worth Reading 3 Comments »
A few weeks ago I had shared a few triplet-ambigrams I had designed. For the uninitiated a triplet ambigram is a 3-d shape that cast different, and interesting, shadows depending on where you shine light on it. For instance here’s a triplet ambigram that casts three different shadows that read A, B & C!
Yesterday I received an email from Alex Ruthman, a self-proclaimed regular reader of this blog who had been inspired to create his own triplet ambigrams. Alex is a music educator and researcher at UMass Lowell with an interest in creativity, music technology, web 2.0 and learner agency (see his home page here). Now, Alex has taken the design of such triplets to their next logical level. He does not just prototype them on paper, he designs them in Google Sketchup and then 3D prints them in plastic! Here is a photo he sent to me…
As you can see this shape casts the shadows of L, P & C (depending on where light shines on it). What is more, Alex does not just do this for fun. He has actually found an use for it in his teaching. As he said in his email:
I use these with my music education methods and research courses illustrating multiple perspectives and three modes of engaging with music: listening, performing and creating.
How cool is that!
October 1st, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Psychology, Representation, Research, Science, Teaching, Technology, Worth Reading 3 Comments »
Slate Magazine is running a series on Creative Pairs, or why Two is the Magic Number! Written by Joshua Wolf Shenk the series seeks to understand:
What makes creative relationships work? How do two people—who may be perfectly capable and talented on their own—explode into innovation, discovery, and brilliance when working together? These may seem to be obvious questions. Collaboration yields so much of what is novel, useful, and beautiful that it’s natural to try to understand it.
The series is an excellent introduction to the research on creative collaboration has most interestingly has a series of case studies of creative pairs. The first pair studied were John Lennon & Paul McCartney and followed their careers over time and how the “push-pull” between these two creative personalities led to some of the greatest music of the 20th Century.
The next set of profiles focuses on Matthew Swanson & Robbi Behr, the couple behind Idiot’s Books. Joshua Shenk inflicts on them “a series of experiments, stunts, and adventures” with the goal of shedding “light on the nature of their collaboration—and on the broader questions of relationships, psychology, and creativity.” So far the couple has been given a battery of psychological tests, tolerated a tour of their home and studio, sat on a couch for a psychoanalytic session, and finally, created a verbal/visual map of their creative process. As Shenk says, “What they came up with turned out to both nicely illustrate how they work and to perfectly embody their Idiocy.” I completely and totally recommend anybody interested in creativity to take a look at this somewhat interactive feature: Idiot Books, Creative Process Diagram.
September 15th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Design, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Philosophy, Teaching, Worth Reading No Comments »
Shelly Blake-Plock over at TeachPaperLess has a great post about homework and how it can be structured to act as a “cliffhanger.” As he says:
These days, the homework I give isn’t based on some arbitrary idea of how much work a kid should do ‘at home’ to reinforce something we did in class, but rather it’s a matter of asking the students to do something necessary to prepare themselves for the next class. Homework becomes an act of preparation — and hopefully sparks some anticipation not for seeing what you ‘got right or wrong’, not for seeing if you can jump through that next hoop, but anticipationfor taking part in the next day’s discussion, activities, and learning.
I want homework to be a cliffhanger. I want it to be the device at the end of the chapter of every thriller that won’t let you put the book down until you’ve read the whole thing.
What a cool idea. This makes homework which is often quite predictable into something postdictable (See my previous posts here, here and here). The idea of postdictable is “something that is surprising initially, but then understandable with a bit of thought. I quoted Daniel T. Willingham who said:
… interest is engendered by an appraisal process: that is, a process by which we evaluate the potential interest of something before we delve into it. If we perceive an event to be novel and complex, but also comprehensible, we find it intriguing and worthy of continued thought. Tasks that lack complexity seem too easy. Tasks that lack comprehensibility seem too hard.
It seems to me that this perception of homework by TeachPaperLess is exactly that. It lies at the sweet spot between order and chaos, understandability and incomprehension. Homework then becomes a way to get students to confront new ideas, to prepare the mind to engage with learning. It is forward-looking in the best sense of the word. Again surf over to his site and read the whole article: Homework, from Chills to Thrills.
August 13th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Fun, Games, Good | Bad Design, Learning, MAET, Representation, Research, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading 3 Comments »
There have been various descriptions of the TPACK game… some of which I have written about earlier.
Finally, Matt Koehler has mocked up a version of the game online. He created it for the EPET Hybrid PhD program he was teaching this summer. Though he isn’t sure the game is really ready for “prime-time” he does have it available on his website. Check it out: The TPACK Game, Matt Koehler version. The instructions are simple:
In the TPACK Game, you consider how Technology (T), Pedagogy (P), and Content (C) work together by randomly choosing two of the three (C, P, and T), and thinking deeply to find the third that makes them all work together in a pedagogically sound way to teach the content.
July 11th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Good | Bad Design, Identity, India, Learning, Orissa, Personal, Philosophy, Poetry, Representation, Worth Reading 2 Comments »
My daughter on her blog has a new poem / haiku called Sweat, a haiku with one glich. She is in India right now where the temperatures are easily in the 90′s – which I guess explains the genesis of the poem. What was more interesting, to me however, was the manner in which she, quite instinctively, breaks up a word in the poem. Interestingly, she regards that as a “glich!”
Here is the poem.
Sticky, icky, ew!
I wipe it off, and it trick-
les, right back again!
See the neat little trick of breaking up the word “trickles” so that it actually
down the page. Reminds me of one of my favorite poets, e.e.cummings and how he plays with words. For instance here is a poem by him
It takes a bit of effort to read but it is worth it. With some thought you will see that in the parenthesis is the phrase “a leaf falls,” broken up so that it runs down the page, rather than across it. So instead of “a leaf falls” you read
Of course breaking it all up forces you (the reader) to read the lines in slow-motion, with pauses as it were. Also the shape of the letters comes through now as do the alliterative / symmetric “le” “ll” and “af” “fa” sounds. There is a visual and audio pattern here… a verbo-visual pun maybe. Sort of what Shreya did with the word “trickles.”
But there is more…
Outside the parenthesis is the word “loneliness” broken up so that you can see the words “one” sandwiched between two “L’s.” The “L” is written in lower-case, which again makes it look like the number “1″ or capital “I.”
So the repetition of the idea of “one” or “I” (once as “one” and twice as the number or the “I”) emphasizes the solitary nature of this experience. It could be 1 leaf falling, or one person watching one leaf fall… And all the pieces come together to set up a sad mood of one lonely person watching one leaf fall
How clever of mr. cummings. And how cool that Shreya, discovered something similar in breaking up “trickles” into two parts, showing how the sweat actually
To me it is an indication of her increasing comfort with language. It is only when we are comfortable with the rules that we start to break them, and it is there that true creativity and one’s one “writerly” voice emerges. So I would argue, despite Shreya’s thinking that it is a glitch, that it is not. It actually her noticing a pattern, imposed on her by the syllable count required by the Haiku structure itself, and then using that constraint for a creative purpose.
As for the mis-spelling of “glich” – I hope she doesn’t correct it. Because the poem now does have one glitch, the mis-spelling of the word “glitch.” How self-referential!!
All in all, what a wonderful way to begin a Sunday, reflecting on creativity and writing, inspired by a poem written by 11 year old Shreya. How very cool!!
July 6th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Biology, Creativity, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Identity, Learning, Personal, Philosophy, Representation, Science, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading 5 Comments »
I just spent a day at MICDS in St. Louis talking with a small but select group of teachers about creativity in teaching, the role of big ideas, the meaning of TPACK, the importance of trans-disciplinary learning (among other things). What a wonderful way of spending the day! This visit was organized by Elizabeth Helfant at MICDS. Apart from the workshop, it was also wonderful to finally meet up with Mr. Nashworld, Sean Nash himself. Sean and I have been blogging buddies for a while now and it was great to finally meet up with him.
As a part of our activities today I had all the participants crate i-Images. I have written about i-Images on this blog before (see here and here).
i-Images are the brainchild of David Wong and you can find his page on i-Images here.
Anyway, here are some of the i-Images created today. I do think they are pretty cool and thought provoking, each in its own way. Click on the images below to see what the workshop participants created. Enjoy.
Kristine M Kamper
June 30th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Conference, Creativity, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Personal, Representation, Research, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading 6 Comments »
I have never been able to make to the ISTE (formerly NECC) conference since it falls bang in the middle of my summer teaching. This year was no exception. The only problem is that, this year, Matt and I had been invited to a special forum by SIGTE (titled “Considering the “C” in TPACK: Curriculum-based Technology Integration”) neither of us could be there. (Bummer!) So instead, we were asked to make video!
The idea of a 15 minute video of the two of us speaking into a camera was not very appealing… So we did something different. Doing something different was appropriate given our interest in creativity and the fact that our talk was about TPACK! So 4 days and untold hours of work later, here is the video that was presented at ISTE. [Halfway through this I realized that it may have taken less time to have just flown to Denver and made our presentation!]
I should also take moment to thank Sarah McPherson, New York Institute of Technology, for organizing the session and the rest of the panelists (Glen Bull, Judi Harris, Ann Thompson and Denise Schmidt) for their support. Ann Thompson and Denise Schmidt deserve a special thanks for stepping in at the last minute to cover for Matt and me.
Thanks also to Leigh Wolf for narrating and hosting the radio show, and providing her office to shoot the UPS commercial; Mete Akcaoglu for starring in the faux-UPS commercial; Soham Mishra for narrating the faux-Mastercard commercial and Shreya Mishra and her friends for starring in it.
Just a warning, the video is 15 minutes long and a 21 MB download.
June 23rd, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Creativity, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Representation, Science, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading 2 Comments »
Determining the shape of the earth is something I have written about previously. For instance, see this post on seeing the shape of the earth using eclipses. (A somewhat similar effect could be seen in my photo of the moon during a lunar eclipse). On the web, I found another way of computing the shape of the earth through studying the turbulent wake of a ship.
An interesting challenge that remains has to do with how we reconcile projections of the earth with the actual shape of the earth. For instance the Mercator projection distorts what are straight lines into curves and vice versa. Of course complicating all this is the fact that what we think of as straight lines needs to be reconfigured somewhat to meet the demands of a spherical surface i.e. the whole idea of a great circle.
I recently came across a very cool web site which uses Googlemaps to map a straight walk on the surface of the earth. Check out map.talleye.com
The moment you try this out you realize just how complex a process it is to go from the Mercator projection to understanding the same path on a sphere. This also reminded me of the maps of the earth that show the demarcation of day and night on its surface. Check it out at daylightmap.com.
[More information on the Mercator projection can be found here and on great circles here.]
June 23rd, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Economics, Good | Bad Design, India, Technology, Worth Reading No Comments »
A great article titled the: The Subtle Technology of Indian Artisanship: From saris to hand-painted signs, design thinking is an unacknowledged force in Indian craft by Ken Botnick & Ira Raja. I have written about ideas such as these earlier, particularly in the context of Jugaad (aka situational creativity). (Thanks Babitha George for the link). This is of course connected to the idea of Everyday Creativity (that Lawrence Bruce had shared in a comment on a previous post).
For instance see these posts:
There are lots of cool examples in this article but the one that stood out was this one:
This underwear sign presents an example of innovative thinking about space. Finding a drain
opening in the path of his endeavors, the artist spontaneously incorporated a navel (and home for a mynah bird)
How wonderful is that!! Read the entire article for more…
June 21st, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Creativity, Design, Economics, Good | Bad Design, Learning 7 Comments »
This presentation of a talk by Daniel Pink has been making the rounds on the Interwebs. I am including it here just as a personal reminder for me to use in my teaching AND as an example of a wonderful presentation style. Check out
RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us
The three key factors that Pink describes as being inherently motivating are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Now think about school… How much of these three do we present our students? Too often school is about doing things someone else as prescribed, not for mastery but rather just to get it done, with little sense of the broader purpose for doing so. Is it surprising that school is demotivating?
This is not an issue of whether or not (or how) we should be using technology – but rather a more fundamental issue of why we have school in the first place.
What can we do to bring in these three into the classroom?
June 9th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Teaching, Technology, Worth Reading No Comments »
We have all heard the statement that “less is more” and in many instances that may actually be true. Good design, for instance, often is based on the KISS principle, which, come to think of it, maybe an example of Less is More. That said, there may be situations where more may be more. Wes Fryer has a great post on those of us who want to inspire creativity: Want to Inspire Creativity? Invite LOTS of Opportunities to CREATE.
It must say though that this idea of more from more will not necessarily work in most contexts. If it is busy-work we are talking about, more often just means more boredom. Think of the task the teacher had assigned in the quote that Wes provides, it was an open-ended creative task, one with fuzzy definitions about what “quality work” meant. It is here that just creating (and unconsciously learning from experience) allows students to learn, in a risk free way. Failure is not a problem, it is just a step along the way. Failure is an option.
How does it connect to Gladwell’s idea of 10,000 hours of effort to become an expert and the movement from incompetence to mastery? What does it mean for what you do in your classes, and the assignments you give your students? What does this mean for me as an instructor preparing to teach MAET courses this summer?
June 7th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Film, Good | Bad Design, Learning, MAET, Representation, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Video, Worth Reading 8 Comments »
Back in 2007, I was second author on a paper titled Teacher as Filmmaker, in which we described an approach to teacher professional development that involved teachers creating short, evocative movies, which we called iVideos. You can read the paper and abstract (below).
Wong, D., Mishra, P., Koehler, M.J., & Siebenthal, S. (2007). Teacher as Filmmaker: iVideos, Technology Education, and Professional Development. To appear in M. Girod & J. Steed (Eds.), Technology in the college classroom. Stillwater, Oklahoma: New Forums Press.
In our Masters program in Educational Technology at Michigan State University, K-12 teachers create “iVideos” – short, two-minute, digital videos designed to evoke powerful experiences about educative ideas. For example, an iVideo might enable viewers to experience the vastness of space, the interconnection between people and their environment, the timeless themes in great literature, and other compelling subject-matter ideas. How might these teacher-made iVideos serve as catalysts for teacher technology education and professional development? We describe the conceptual foundation of iVideos by building on the metaphor of teacher as filmmaker – an idea that highlights how teachers and filmmakers both strive to create powerful experiences for their audiences. In doing so, we argue that teachers are enabled to transform ideas and practice by immersing themselves in deep pedagogical consideration of subject-matter, significance, audience, learning, epistemology, and aesthetics. We also discuss how this approach develops teachers’ competency and efficacy with technology.
A week or so ago I received an email from Dr. Matthew Kearney, from University of Technology, Sydney informing us that, inspired by our work (as laid out in the above paper) students in their “pre-service teacher education elective class chose to make some ‘idea videos’ on a range of current issues in K-12 education.” You can see these movies by going to
It feels great to know that our work was useful (and even inspiring) to others. Dr. Kearney adds that:
I would like to invite any interested student teachers at MSU to view an ‘ivideo’ of interest from our gallery and leave their reactions as a ‘comment’ at the bottom of the relevant page. (Our student teacher ‘filmmakers’ will be monitoring these pages for any feedback / comments / questions on conceptual or technical aspects of their iVideos.)
PS Please feel free to forward this invitation to any other teacher education institutions / staff who may be interested in this exercise.
Please take a moment to check out these videos. They are quite well done and worth a moment of your time. Drop a comment if you can, it will mean a lot to the students.
June 1st, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Fun, Good | Bad Design, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading 4 Comments »
I have always been interested in the manner in which people use (or re-use) everyday things for purposes they were never intended for. Be it a piece of red tape to mark a glass door so that people don’t slam into the glass (as I see at the MSU clinical center every time I go there) or use a chair to prop open a door—these are examples of everyday creativity. I have used different phrases or words to describe this phenomena (particularly in the context of educational technology), everything from situational creativity to repurposing to jugaad.
So imagine my pleasure at serendipitously chancing upon a book titled Thoughtless Acts?
This book by Jane Fulton Suri and IDEO
invites you to notice the subtle and amusing ways that people react to the world around them. These “thoughtless acts” reveal how people behave in a world not always perfectly tailored to their needs and demonstrate the kind of real-world observational approach that can inspire designers and anyone involved in creative endeavors.
Its a neat little book, filled with photographs of different “thoughtless acts” i.e. (to quote from the book):
… intuitive ways in which we adapt, exploit, and react to things in our environment; things we do without really thinking.
Some actions, such as grabbing onto something for balance, are universal and instinctive. Others, such as warming hands on a hot mug or stroking velvet, draw on experiences so deeply embodied that they are almost unconscious. Still more, such as hanging a jacket to claim a chair, have become spontaneous through habit or social learning. Observing such everyday interactions reveals subtle details about how we relate to the designed and natural world. This is key information and inspiration for design, and a good starting point for any creative initiative.
What the book emphasizes, for me, is the the value of “learning to see” – a distinction between recognition (which is seeing the world through existing frameworks) and perception (seeing the world as it is!). (Related posts here.) I have argued that this distinction between recognition and perception is the crux of true creativity. To quote myself (see original post here):
Perception is about seeing things for what they are, while recognition is about seeing things for how they have been labeled or how we have seen them in the past.
In this way of looking at things (if you pardon the pun) a toilet seat can be an aesthetic object!
Anyway, the book, Thoughtless Acts? is a pleasure to browse and a quick Google search revealed (no surprise there) a website that goes with the book. What else but thoughtlessacts.com. The website allows you to preview the book as well as contribute observations of your own.
And if you wonder what this has to do with education technology, take a moment to follow these links. In brief, I have argued that there is no such thing as an educational technology. What we have are a range of technologies that we can repurpose, re-see, and re-envision as being educational technologies. Be it using a audio editing tool such as Audacity as a data analysis tool or a GPS device to teach mathematics, teachers are designers of experiences for their students. Experiences that allow them to engage with the world, with deep ideas of content! (TPACK anyone?). But these technologies don’t come as a given, with their pedagogical purpose stamped all over them. Educators have to work on “re-seeing” them for their own selfish (educational) purposes.
April 30th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Personal, Philosophy, Photography, Representation, Teaching, Technology, Worth Reading 1 Comment »
Excusado by Edward Weston
I have written earlier about the idea of veja du (which ended up becoming an assignment in my creativity class). To recap:
… if déjà vu is the process by which something strange becomes, abruptly and surprisingly familiar, véjà du is the very opposite. It is the seeing of a familiar situation with “fresh eyes,” as if you have never seen it before. So if déjà vu is about making the strange look familiar, véjà du is all about making the familiar look strange!
I was, this morning, provided and excellent example of veja du by one of the participants in my CEP817, Learning Technology by Design seminar. Steve Wagenseller pointed us to the photograph above, Excusado by Edward Weston and also linked to an essay by Marco Bohr on this photograph. I would strongly recommend looking at some other photographs by Weston (the tight closeups of vegetables are fantastic) and reading this essay “Excusado by Edward Weston“. A couple of key quotes. In this first quote Bohr places Edward Weston’s work within the broader context of art (and art movements) particularly drawing attention to the similarities and differences between his picture of a toilet and another (more famous) toilet that featured in the history of 20th century art.
Just like Marcel Duchamp eight years earlier, although this stands in a completely different context, he gave character to a toilet with his own recognizable ‘handwriting’. Duchamp had said that the perception of his urinal instillation was transformed by putting it in a gallery and calling it art. Weston transformed the perception of a toilet by capturing its pure aesthetic value in his defined style…
The next quote (and this is how Bohr finishes his essay) captures, for me the essence of the veja du assignment and takes it one step further, to comment on all that we do.
‘Excusado’ means to look at your object from different perspectives. For me it also means to get closer to the center of interest. It means that the light shapes the form and the form shapes the light. ‘Excusado’ means that there is no excuse for not making a beautiful picture even if it is toilet.
Think about that last sentence for a moment:
Excusado” means that there is no excuse for not making a beautiful picture even if there is a toilet.
Wow! What does that mean for me as a teacher? As a parent? As colleague? There are no excuses …
March 8th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Good | Bad Design, Puzzles, Representation, Worth Reading 1 Comment »
I just came across this page of excellent logo designs. Some of the designs may need a moment or two to truly register. Check out 20 Unique and Creative Logo Designs.
Here are couple of my favorites.
March 1st, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Design, Economics, Engineering, Good | Bad Design, Representation, Stories No Comments »
Slate magazine is running an interesting series by Julia Turner on signs and their design. Two articles are now up
This is looking to be a fascinating series with four more articles forthcoming.
February 22nd, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Good | Bad Design, Learning, Personal, Philosophy, Representation 1 Comment »
Just came across this video about Milton Glaser. If you are interested in design you have to watch it for yourself. But here’s a quote that stayed with me:
The possibility for learning never disappears. Basically you have to admit you never learn it.
February 16th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Creativity, Fun, Good | Bad Design No Comments »
Just came across this great comment in an article titled Let us now praise the cliche
This Article “Let us now praise…the cliche” made me mad as a wet hen. The Article-Writer thinks cliches are the best thing since sliced bread. Well, I hate to take the wind out of his sails, but I’ve got a bone to pick with him. When it comes to cliches, he’s out to lunch and needs an immediate wake-up call so he can (what else?) wake up and smell the coffee. Sure, once in a blue moon, cliches may serve to spread the word to the great unwashed. However, as a rule of thumb, cliches should usually be avoided like the plague because, after all is said and done, a lazy resort to cliches sounds the death-knell for good writing. So, would I ever take the path of least resistance and fall back on cliches? No way, Jose! Never, not even if, word-choice-wise, I was between a rock and a hard place. And, you can take that to the bank.
February 4th, 2010 Punya Mishra Posted in Art, Creativity, Design, Film, Good | Bad Design, Representation, Teaching, Technology, TPACK, Worth Reading No Comments »
TPACK involves understanding the capabilities of technology – understanding how we make meaning with it, how we can manipulate it to communicate, engage and teach. I include below an extraordinarily powerful use of media, created with the simplest of tools, one camera, a couple of people and some music. No 3-d aliens, no fancy digital effects – but (and this is important) the designers clearly have a deep understanding of the nuances of meaning that can be generated through subtle yet powerful use of the tools at hand. Zooms and pans, dissolves and wipes, memories and meanings.
Think about this video when people ask of what value are these new digital tools? Tell them we don’t know – but maybe a few years from now someone will surprise us by creating something this touching and breathtaking.