Poetry, Daisies And Cobras: Math Class With Manjul Bhargava

March 25, 2015 § 1 Comment

An amazing presentation by Manjul Bhargava (Fields medal winner in Mathematics) to school children in India. See how he effortlessly combines poetry, nature, music and mathematics.

Watch an excerpt on YouTube below or the complete video here.

YouTube Preview Image



Embodied Thinking: New article

January 11, 2015 § Leave a Comment

sculpture-chilePhoto: Punya Mishra; Santiago, Chile, 2014

Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century is a series of articles we have been writing for Tech Trends. The latest article in the series has just ben published. This article focuses on Embodied Thinking as a key trans-disciplinary habit of mind often used by creative people across disciplines. Our previous articles have looked at PerceivingPatterning, and Abstracting. Future pieces will look at Modeling, Play, and Synthesizing. Below is a link to the latest article (you can see all the articles in the series by going here).

Henriksen, D., Good, J., & Mishra, P. & the Deep-Play Research Group (in press). Embodied Thinking as a trans-disciplinary habit of mind. Tech Trends (58)6. p. 3-7

Inside-Out: Happy 2015

December 27, 2014 § 1 Comment

Every winter break (for the past six years) our family creates a video to welcome the new year. This is no ordinary video. It requires days of discussion, planning, construction, shooting, and editing.

Our videos never feature us (expect maybe a still-shot of the entire family towards the end) but are usually typographical in nature. There is some kind of visual illusion involved, sometimes a play on words synchronized to music. The videos have become more elaborate over the years and the challenge, of course, is to create something that tops what we had done in the past years. As you can imagine this has become more and more difficult as the years go by. What makes things more complicated is that we have no budget to speak of ($10 is around as much as we have ever spent in any given year). If you want to see all the videos in the series, or find out more about how this year’s video was created, scroll down to the end of this post.

Working on these videos has led to is some great family moments, as we argue, discuss, collaborate and create. Below is our latest video, titled Inside-Out: Happy 2015. Raise the volume of your device to max, click to make the video full-screen and hit play! Enjoy.

Inside-Out: Happy 2015
From Shreya, Soham, Smita & Punya


Videos from years past

Here are links to the videos from the previous years (along with some other videos made as a family):


The making of Inside-Out: 

The idea for the video came from examples such as this one on Youtube – with some creative improvisation by us. Essentially what you have here are not cubes but shells of cubes. The inner shell, the concave end (imagine the inner corner of a room) has the numbers 2, 0, 1 and 4 written on them while the other side, the convex side, has the numbers 2, 0, 1 and 5 written on them. The letters were projected onto the cubes (using a computer and a projector) and written in such a way that they would be readable only when seen from ONE specific viewpoint. These “cubes” were then stuck onto wooden barbecue skewers that were held up by poking them into little boxes of playdoh. All four of these were then placed on a wooden board placed on a standard Lazy Susan (nabbed from the kitchen) which allowed them to be rotated at will. All this was placed in front of our living-room TV (covered with black sheets). After some experimentation with the lighting we had our final setup.

When seen with one eye (or through a camera), even the inside of a cube looks like a cube (due to the lack of depth perception). What this meant is that when you see the “cubes” for the first time you are not actually seeing cubes but rather the concave shell of a cube. Our eyes however, see a cube and when tilted or rotated slightly they appear to move in strange counter-intuitive ways. A full rotation leads you to seeing the convex end (with the numbers 2015). The setup was filmed using a Nikon D7000 camera and edited on iMovie. Music was provided by the amazing collection of free music provided by Kevin McLeod (at Incompetech.com). Below is a photo of the setup



New webinar on TPACK

November 1, 2014 § 1 Comment


Matt Koehler and I recently participated on a webinar titled Teachers as Designers of Technology, Pedagogy, and Content (TPACK) organized by edWeb.net and Commonsense Education. We had over 200+ viewers from all over the world (New Zeeland, Israel, Morroco, Canada being some of the countries represented). The webinar was quite fun and you can view it in its entirety here

Help with research (max 10 mins). Please share

October 23, 2014 § Leave a Comment


This is a request for help. If you are an educator (K12 teacher or administrator, higher ed faculty, corporate trainer etc.) we would like approximately 10 minutes of your time to complete a survey regarding the challenges faced by educators in the 21st century and the kinds of knowledge and/or skills needed to face these challenges. The survey should not take more than 8-12 minutes of your time to complete. Your responses will be confidential and fully anonymous. Your participation is voluntary, though we sincerely hope you will respond. Click on the link below to access the survey.


Also, we would appreciate your forwarding this message to others. Here is a handy tweet you can copy and paste on to your twitter feed or Facebook post if you like

Please complete this survey on 21st century learning http://tiny.cc/teach21st/ Thank you @punyamishra

Thank you very much for considering this request and please contact me punya@msu.edu if you have any questions.

21st century learning, TPACK and other fun stuff

September 29, 2014 § Leave a Comment


I have been invited to participate in the 2014 Educational Technology Summit: Empowering Educators to Enhance Student Learning in the Digital Era. This conference is being organized by Common Sense MediaAnnenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, & the LEAD Commission. I am serving on a panel on preparing new teachers, moderated by Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post. Other members on the panel are Daniel Soodjinda, Ed.D., from the California State University Stanislaus, and Deborah Stipek, dean, Stanford Graduate School of Education. It is going to be a packed and exciting day (see the schedule for yourself and if you are so inclined, you can actually watch the proceedings streamed live).


On this page I just wanted to list some resources that I think will come up during our discussion (that’s me being proactive, you see).  « Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Teacher’s Day (new ambigrams)

September 5, 2014 § Leave a Comment

September 5 is Teacher’s Day in India. It is celebrated on the birthdate of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Indian philosopher and statesman who was also the first Vice-President and the second President of India. He famously said, “teachers should be the best minds in the country.” To celebrate this day, here are three new ambigram designs (see image below). The first, goes around the circle, reading “teacher” one way and “learner” the other way. You can read these words from left to right starting from the top OR the bottom. In the center are two new designs where the word “teacher” and “learner” map onto themselves (when rotated 180 degrees). Enjoy. (Note, you can click on the graphic to view a larger version).

And yes, Happy Teacher’s Day to all my educator friends!!! (Move your mouse over the image to rotate it!)




There is no app for that

September 4, 2014 § Leave a Comment


Ideas.TED.com has a new article titled—There’s no app for good teaching: 8 ways to think about tech in ways that actually improve the classroom. It quotes a bunch of scholars and researchers, one of whom is yours truly. I am just posting this, for the record.

Image created by Punya Mishra, using https://imgflip.com/memegenerator


Why math ed sucks (not just in India)

August 22, 2014 § 3 Comments


My friend Hartosh Bal (author of A Certain Ambiguity, a mathematical novel) has a piece in Caravan Magazine titled “Why Fields medalists are unlikely to emerge from the Indian educational system.” He mentions the fact that of the three winners of the Field’s medal (the highest accolade in mathematics) are Brazilian, Iranian and Canadian respectively. The Canadian, Manjul Bhargava, however is of Indian origin and, it appears that the Indian media have “rushed to claim him as India’s own.” As the title of his article suggests, Hartosh uses the fact that Bharghava was not educated in India, as a starting point for a broader discussion of how the manner in which mathematics is taught in India. He makes some wonderful points and I would recommend reading his entire piece.

The only quibble I have with his argument is that (as indicated by the title of my post) is that the problems he identifies with mathematics education are not limited to just India. Similar issues (such as an instrumental approach towards learning mathematics, focus on rote memorization of rules etc.) exist right here in the US as well. As Hartosh writes:

We believe students learn only at one pace, and even more damagingly in the case of mathematics, in only one way. Far too many parents in this country have told me about their children being penalised in tests for solving a mathematics problem by a method other than the one taught in the class. It should be quite the contrary, a student who correctly solves a problem by innovatively thinking her way to a solution deserves more marks rather than less. 

I love that last sentence.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Here we go again, the recurring cycle of hype and despair around ed tech

August 20, 2014 § 3 Comments


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana (1905, p. 284)

The Atlantic has an article titled “Why tech still hasn’t solved education’s problems” focusing on the failed promise of MOOCs and asks the question

Why has the promised boom in educational technology failed to appear—and why was the technology that did appear not very good? 

And my response to that question is … here we go again!!!

The history of ed tech is littered with stories of how the advent of a new technology (and its potential for learning) leads to a significant level of hype about how it would transform education and then when these extravagant promises were not met, leading to an inevitable conclusion of the uselessness of all technology.

I have written about this so often that I don’t even know where to start. But again that has never stopped me!

« Read the rest of this entry »

Vijay Iyer, polymath & a fantastic example of trans-disciplinary creativity

August 17, 2014 § Leave a Comment


Vijay Iyer,  (http://vijay-iyer.com/) is an Indian-American jazz pianist and composer. He is a MacArthur Genius grant winner and is currently Franklin and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University and is widely regarded as being one of the most innovative composers and musicians today. His music transcends national boundaries through creatively bringing together traditional jazz, Indian classical fusion, and various other musical styles.

Mr. Iyer is a true polymath whose career has spanned mathematics, science, the humanities and the arts. According to his Wikipedia page, he has an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics from Yale. He then went on to pursue a doctorate in physics but dropped that to complete an interdisciplinary doctoral in Technology and the Arts focusing on music cognition. In his dissertation he applied the ideas of situated and embodied cognition to West African and African-American music.

I found out about Vijay Iyer recently and was immediately struck by how he is an almost perfect example of the kind of polymathy we (in the deep-play research group) have been describing in our research and scholarship around creativity and trans-disciplinary learning. Below are some excerpts from interviews that match up to the work we have been doing.

« Read the rest of this entry »

MAET Words: 123 creators – 1 cool video

August 13, 2014 § Leave a Comment

This summer over 120 educators met in three different locations both here in the US and overseas, as a part of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program hybrid classes. The video below, visualizing a quote by Steve Jobs, was created by all of us – one word at a time! The students and instructors featured here are as follows: The first cohort of the MSU-Wipro STEM & Leadership Fellows (in Chicago); three cohorts in the MAET Overseas program (in Galway, Ireland); two cohorts in the MAET East Lansing and MAET Certificate program (in East Lansing MI).

Each word was visualized by a different person, in their own way… but these diverse representations fit together to form a coherent, integrated and powerful message. How cool is that and what an awesome representation of the unity in diversity of the MAET program.

Thanks Wipro & Microsoft

August 10, 2014 § Leave a Comment


#MSUrbanSTEM Thanks Wipro!


#MSUrbanSTEM Thanks Microsoft

Over this past summer I have had one of the best teaching/learning experiences of my career. Through a project funded by Wipro (and with support from Microsoft) we have the opportunity to work with 125 teachers in the Chicago Public Schools over the next three years. Wipro offered a grant of 2.8 million dollars to cover the cost of the grant. Thanks to Anurag Behar of Wipro for all his support. Microsoft sponsored Surface 2 Pro devices for all our teachers. A special shout out to Jim Ptaszynski at Microsoft Higher Education for his support in making this happen for raising the possibility of extending this over the next two years as well. I had not worked with a Surface Pro before – but I am impressed. These devices hit the sweet spot between portability and power, work and play and our teachers love them.

Our teachers posed for a couple of group photos to thank Wipro and Microsoft for their support. (You can click on the images to see hi-res versions of the photos). You can find out more about this project by going to msuurbanstem.org or by following @MSUrbanSTEM on twitter.

Self-similarity in math & ambigrams, article 3 in series

August 8, 2014 § Leave a Comment

Self-similarity in geometry is the idea of repeating a similar shape (often at a different scale) over and over again. In other words, a self-similar image contains copies of itself at smaller and smaller scales, such as the image below of the word “zoom.”


Self-similarity is a rich mathematical idea and connects to other powerful concepts such as infinity, iteration, fractals, recursion and so on. As it turns out self-similarity is also a rich source of ambigrams. This is why the third article in the series Of Art & Math is devoted to Self-Similarity. This series written with my friend Gaurav Bhatnagar is published by At Right Angles (a mathematics education magazine). 

« Read the rest of this entry »

Creativity in the lives of accomplished teachers: Pre-pub version

March 28, 2014 § 2 Comments

creativity.001How do exemplary teachers incorporate creativity in their teaching? In this dissertation study, Danah Henriksen  interviewed National Teacher of the Year award winners (and finalists), to better understand their beliefs, interests, and practices involving creative teaching. Analysis of the data help us identify key themes of how these teachers approach the creative process, as well as the connection between their personal interests and professional creativity.

This paper has been accepted for publication in Teachers College Record. The link below is to a pre-publication version, so please contact us if you would like to quote from it or cite it.

Henriksen, D., & Mishra, P. (in press). We teach who we are: Creativity in the lives and practices of accomplished teachers. Teachers College Press.

Extended Abstract

« Read the rest of this entry »

What is the value of a theoretical framework?

March 25, 2014 § 2 Comments


One question that all doctoral students dread (and rightfully so) is “What is your theoretical framework?” Why, they wonder (silently), why do we need a framework?

This question popped up recently in, of all places, Facebook. Pilar Quezzaire, a graduate of our MAET program, posted a question to our overseas FB page as follows:

Busy writing away about technology integration frameworks like TPACK, and I’ve been asked to come up with a few definitive articles about their effectiveness in general (not the effectiveness of a particular framework.) Has anyone come across a source that looks at the difference between integrating tech with a framework in mind, versus integrating technology without one? … I can (cite/list) lots of articles and case studies, but no one seems to have looked at the trend of using frameworks. Thanks!

This was not something I had given much thought to before. Theory is sacrosanct in academia, its the air we breathe so why question it. Reflecting on Pilar’s question prompted me to respond at length (maybe at greater length than she needed or wanted). Interestingly, the discussion moved form citing specific studies into the deeper philosophy of science issues. This is what I wrote (edited lightly to make it work as a blog post):

« Read the rest of this entry »

EPET at SITE, 2014

March 3, 2014 § 1 Comment

SITE2014 (the annual conference of the Society of Information Technology in Teacher Education) is being held in Jacksonville, Florida starting the 17th of March. As always, 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 Rohit Mehta, 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 »

21st century learning article receives ISTE award

February 19, 2014 § 2 Comments


Back in July 2013, the Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education (JDLTE) published our paper on 21st Century Learning. This paper written with Kristen Kereluik, Chris Fahnoe and Laura Terry looked at over a dozen different 21st century learning frameworks and attempted to come up with a coherent overarching framework—and its implications for teacher education. I have received occasional emails from people who have stumbled on this article and have liked it. What has been gratifying is that most of these messages are from practitioners! And then… yesterday, we received an email, as follows:

This year marks the beginning of an annual recognition for researchers who have published in the Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education—the JDLTE Outstanding Research Paper award. This award is in recognition of the single article from the prior volume year with the highest possibility to advance the field of teacher education, based on the criteria of potential impact and contribution, innovativeness, and generalizability or usability.
As Chair of the JDLTE Outstanding Research Article Award Committee, along with the editors of JDLTE, I am pleased to let you know that your article, “What Knowledge is of Most Worth: Teacher Knowledge for 21st Century Learning, by Kristen Kereluik, Punya Mishra, Chris Fahnoe, and Laura Terry, has won this prestigious honor.
We would like to recognize your work during the ISTE conference this summer, and invite you to present your study during a full one-hour session that has been set aside for this purpose.
 How cool is that!!

Here is the full reference with a link to the article.

Kereluik, K., Mishra, P., Fahnoe, C., & Terry, L. (2013). What knowledge is of most worth: Teacher knowledge for 21st century learningJournal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 29(4), 127-140.

Also the diagram synthesizing our findings can be found here: http://punya.educ.msu.edu/2013/05/10/2-diagrams-21st-century-knowledge-synthesized-7-trans-disciplinary-skills/


Research to practice : 3 articles

February 3, 2014 § Leave a Comment

Matt Koehler and I are co-editors for an ongoing series of articles “From Research to Practice” for Education Matters, an educational magazine published by Educational Technology & Management Academy (ETMA). ETMA is non-profit organization based in New Delhi dedicated to pioneering innovations through research and development. Three of these articles are now available online. I had posted about the first a while ago and as I wrote then, this series has been great fun to write, allow us to work closely with graduate students in writing for a popular audience. I am quite proud of how our students have managed to take complex research and present it in a manner that is simple and accessible, but never simplistic.

What is TPACK? Updated article

January 22, 2014 § Leave a Comment

Infinite Mirror(?) | Josh Otis | Flickr

There are some articles that sink without a trace. There are others like our 2006 TCRecord article introducing the TPACK framework that continues to be cited… and then there are some that keep getting published over and over (albeit in an updated manner). Here is one of them… the gift that keeps on giving!

« Read the rest of this entry »

TPACK Newsletter, Issue #18, December 2013

December 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment


TPACK Newsletter, Issue #18: December 2013

Welcome to the eighteenth edition of the (approximately bimonthly) TPACK Newsletter! TPACK work is continuing worldwide. This document contains recent updates to that work that we hope will be interesting and useful to you, our subscribers. If you are not sure what TPACK is, please surf over to http://www.tpack.org/ to find out more.

Gratuitous Quote About Technology
“The good part about writing about technology is that you never run out of ideas, because it’s changing so fast. The bad part is that it’s changing so fast that there’s a million new products and ideas every day and every week.”- Walt Mossberg

In This Issue
-1.      Gratuitous Quote About Technology
0.      In This Issue                     (You are here.)
1.      TPACK Newsletter Update
2.      Recent TPACK Publications
3.      Recent TPACK-Related Dissertations & Theses
4.      Recent & Upcoming TPACK Presentations
5.      Recent TPACK-Related Blog Entries
6.      Other TPACK Updates
7.      TPACK Newsletter Suggested Citation
8.      Learning and Doing More with TPACK
–.       Un-numbered miscellaneous stuff at the end

« Read the rest of this entry »

Of garbage cans and psychological media: Remembering Clifford Nass

November 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment

This has been a day of sad news from Stanford University. I blogged about the passing away of Dr. Nalini Ambady (see blog post here). I will digress a bit before I describe the second piece of news because the connection to me (and my work) is much more salient.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Creativity, Technology & Teacher Education, Call for papers

November 1, 2013 § 12 Comments

We (Punya Mishra and Danah Henriksen, faculty at Michigan State University) are currently planning a special issue for the Journal of Teacher Education and Technology, on the topic of creativity. At the moment, we are looking for brief abstract submissions from educational scholars/authors, who may be interested in eventually submitting a full length piece on creativity (in the context of technology and teacher education). See below for a formal call for papers (with the brief abstract due at the beginning of December).

Drop us a line if you want to know more or forward this link to anybody who you think may be interested. Your help would be greatly appreciated.


~ Punya Mishra and Danah Henriksen (editors)

CALL FOR PAPERS: Special issue on Creativity, Technology & Teacher Education

21st Century Competencies, what are they? New article

September 10, 2013 § 1 Comment

Back in June 2011 I was in Paris for EduSummITBuilding a Global Community of Policy-Makers, Educators, and Researchers to Move Education into the Digital Age. EduSummIT was organized by UNESCO (along with other partners) and brought together over 120 scholars, policy makers from over 40 countries. I was part of a Thematic Focus Group emphasizing 21st century learning. It took two years but finally a special issue of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning is out with 8 articles all emerging from the conference. Click here for the table of contents.

I am co-author on one article along with Joke Voogt from the University of Twente, Ola Erstad from University of Oslo, and Chris Dede from Harvard. Our article focuses on 21st Century competencies that are needed to be able to live in and contribute to our current (and future) society. A complete reference, abstract and a link to the pdf is given below:

Voogt, J., Erstad, O., Dede, C., & Mishra, P. (2013). Challenges to learning and schooling in the digital networked world of the 21st centuryJournal of Computer Assisted Learning29(5), 403–413. « Read the rest of this entry »

Seeing mathematics everywhere…

September 7, 2013 § 2 Comments

ollernshawDame Kathleen Ollernshaw was deaf since the age of 8. Despite this she had an amazing life as a mathematician, amateur astronomer, politician (she served as mayor of Manchester as well as in the Thatcher administration) and mother. To learn more about her read this story on the Scientific American website, titled Centenarian Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw—Conqueror of Magic Squares, Rubik’s Cube and Mauna Kea. People with diverse interests like this always fascinate me (maybe it is because I am that way as well – though clearly not at the level of Dame Ollernshaw). You should read the article in full but I am highlighting some quotes that stood out for me. « Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

White paper on TPACK

August 24, 2013 § 1 Comment


The Commonwealth Educational Media Center for Asia (CEMCA) recently published a report on ICT Integrated Teacher Education Models. One of the pieces in the report was by us. Here it is below: « 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).

« Read the rest of this entry »

The TPACK framework in the Handbook of Ed Comm & Tech (4th Ed.)

August 8, 2013 § 2 Comments

Hot off the press: The Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, edited by Spector, Merrill, Elen & Bishop. And we have a chapter in it… Complete reference and abstract below: 

hrect « Read the rest of this entry »

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