A few months ago I was invited (by the Educational Technology & Management Academy, an Indian educational organization) to write a series of short practitioner-oriented articles for a new educational e-magazine they were starting. The idea was to introduce to a wider audience of educators current research findings in the fields of educational psychology and educational technology research as well as their relevance to practice. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
My poem on imaginary numbers (The Mathematical “i”) was published in the March 2013 issue of At Right Angles, a school mathematics journal. You can download the entire issue here (it is a large download) or view the magazine in sections here with a link to the poem as a googledoc.
Over the Christmas break my daughter and three of her friends got together to make a music video. The idea was simple, what if there were a version of Guita Hero (Sitar Hero anyone?) for Bollywood songs. Out of this idea emerged a 5+ minute long music video – with a story-line about 4 bored Indian kids, deciding to have a good time. Shot over two days in our basement, the music video was recently screened at the annual cultural program of the Indian Cultural Society of Greater Lansing. The video was great fun to make. Here it is. Enjoy.
Over the past year I have been involved in an exciting new initiative – a partnership between the College of Education at Michigan State University and the newly set up Azim Premji University in Bangalore, India. (A previous post about our ongoing work can be found here). The International Studies and Programs at MSU recently released a video about this work, featuring yours truly. You can see it here…
There is also an article in their magazine – but that’s not online at this time.
The Hindu god Ganesh (the elephant-headed one) is celebrated across India, and the world, around this time of the year. The Hindu community in Lansing is no exception. A couple of days ago I was asked to take pictures of a music program at the local temple. Read the rest of this entry »
To understand the significance of April 2, 2011, I have to go back 28 years, back to the summer of 1983.
I had just finished 10th grade, and that summer I took a trip to the hills of North India, as a part of a social work volunteer effort. I remember sleeping on the floor in this little unfurnished hut up in the hills, spending the days digging what would be the foundation of a village school. We had no electricity, no TV, the our toilet was to go out in the woods.
The International Conference on Indian Education: The Positive Turmoil. is being held at the India Habitat Center in New Delhi. This Habitat center is a rather cool building and, apart from academic conferences (I saw two different conferences going on at the same time), it also hosts open-air sculpture and art galleries. One of the galleries right near where the IEPT conference was being held was a photography exhibit by Sanjay Nanda. Sanjay is a graphic designer by profession and a passionate photographer in his spare time. He also runs IndiPix Gallery, what he described as “a space for contemporary art photography.” I can’t find an easy way to embed any of his photos here, so you will have to visit their website to check out Sanjay’s work. Trust me, it is will be worth your time.
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!
I am heading off to India tomorrow and will be gone for approximately two weeks. The main reason for this trip is to attend the International Conference on Indian Education: The Positive Turmoil in New Delhi. I am scheduled to present and act as a resource person for a Round Table on Reforms in Teacher Education. I think this will be an extremely interesting conference and I look forward to learning a lot, as well as getting to meet some interesting people.
I will also be going to Bangalore to meet with people at the Azim Premji Foundation (I had blogged about a recent visit by the CEO’s the Foundation here, and you can find out more about what they do in this news story). We are putting the final touches on a collaboration between the College of Education at Michigan State with the upcoming Azim Premji University. This is an exciting new initiative for the Foundation and I am glad that we (here at MSU) can be a part of it.
Just before the Thanksgiving break, the College of Education and Michigan State University had the opportunity to host Dilleep Ranjekar and Anurag Behar, Co-CEO’s of the Azim Premji Foundation. The Azim Premji Foundation is a not-for-profit organization with a vision to “significantly contribute to achieve quality universal education that facilitates a just, equitable and humane society.” Operational since 2001, the APF employs over 200 professionals and 1000 paid volunteers in realizing this vision for elementary education in India. APF is currently engaged with over 2.5 million children, in 20,000 schools in partnership with 13 Indian States. The work of the foundation has been characterized by a strong emphasis on systemic reform of Indian education at all levels.
I met Dileep (and other members of the foundation) a couple of years ago, when I was in Bangalore for a conference (see here). Ever since then, I have been working on developing a partnership between MSU and the foundation. There have been visits by people from the foundation to East Lansing, as well as visits by us to the foundation offices in Bangalore. The recent visit by Ranjekar and Behar coincides with an important new initiative started by the foundation.
As a critical component of the Foundation’s strategy, Azim Premji University has emerged as an institution for learning and research in education and relevant development domains. Its focus is to develop education capacity and foster the development of professionals who are committed to social change. Working closely with the Foundation’s other education and development programs, the University seeks to significantly strengthen the connection between theory and practice. Key foci include: (a) Preparing a large number of committed education and development professionals who can significantly contribute to meeting the needs of the country; and (b) Building new knowledge in the areas of education and development through establishing a very strong link between theory and practice.
Readers of this blog know that every year I provide a link to the same
interactive Diwali eCard. Why change anything this year? So follow the link below,
turn your volume way up, and remember to click on the sky
above the Taj Mahal for some fantastic yet
environmentally friendly fireworks
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!!
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…
A 5th grade science assignment, transformed. A rant about Mother Goose. A math poetry challenge! How did that come to be? And what does that have to do with loving the Interwebs? Read on…
I had written earlier about how my 10 year-old daughter had been writing poems on science (Scientific Poems or Sci-Po’s for short). It all started with an extra-credit assignment she needed to do for her science class, and a need, I perceived, to keep her blog (Uniquely Mine) up-to-date. She has quite a few written now. For instance here is one about a news item about scientists finding dinosaur eggs (and other dino-stuff) in India (Cluster of dinosaur eggs found in southern India), and here’s the poem:
Sir, I was reading the article in Wikipedia on ‘Samarangana Sutradhara’ (King Bhoja’s treatise on Architecture). I was of the impression that there is no translation of the work in English. Though the article says that there is a translation by you of the work, the list of your works and publications on your webpage does not include any such work. Kindly let me know if you have indeed translated the treatise. If so kindly let me know how I can access a copy.
The fact that I had translated this ancient Sanskrit treatise came as a surprise to me.
… when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.
More succintly he said, “To measure is to know.” Numbers provide us (particularly academics) with credibility.
Of course this dependence on mathematics and numbers can often be misplaced. I am always impressed how we use numbers mindlessly – sometimes to levels of accuracy that don’t really convey much. I was reminded of this while reading a recent NYTimes article A Deluge of Data Shapes a New Era in Computing.
The Lansing temple recently organized a special Diwali program. My daughter Shreya participated in a dance and I, as always, took photographs of the event. Click here or the image below to see all 161 of the photographs I took.
I had written earlier about the idea of Jugaad, the quintessential Indian idea of situational creativity. One of the masters at this is Arvind Gupta. Check out his website for tons of wonderful science toys and experiments that can be made from stuff we typically throw away. Very cool and a critical part of the kind of repurposing of artifacts we need for creative teaching.
Throwaway Technology, playful Pedagogy and powerful Content… who says TPACK needs hi-tech!
Slumdog rolled into the Oscars tonight. More important to me were the two Oscars for A. R. Rahman for original score and song. It is time that the world recognized his genius. Here is a cartoon by Kaladhar Bapu from his site Point Blank
This is an extended piece on the manner in which the web, small pieces loosely joined, can lead to “serendipitous connectabilty” (something I had written about earlier here). All this is situated in a story that connects cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstader, Oriya writer and poet J. P. Das, and the father of non-violence Mahatma Gandhi. This is an interesting story in and of itself, and along the way offers some insights into the nature of the Internet and the psychology of creativity. Quite a lot to fit into on posting but bear with me.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (see Wikipedia entry) illustrates “our nature in its education and want of education.” It is maybe one of the most famous allegories in literature and philosophy, a precursor to the kinds of mind-games (think brain in a vat) that philosophers like Dennett engage in today [Where am I? is a good example of this genre].
I am not sure I quite buy into the argument being made in the allegory of the cave, or whether there is one “strict” interpretation of it. The other day I stumbled upon a lovely, stop-motion animated, version of the allegory. Check it out below: Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, Johann Hari wrote an article defending free speech for everyone. You can read the article here: Why should I respect these oppressive religions?. This article was reprinted in the Indian newspaper, The Statesman. This led to riots, death threats, and the arrest of an editor who published the article!
They have been charged — in the world’s largest democracy, with a constitution supposedly guaranteeing a right to free speech — with “deliberately acting with malicious intent to outrage religious feelings”.
I had written a response to Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist a while ago (read it here). Yesterday, I received a note from Irfan critiquing my take on the novel. Read the rest of this entry »