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 »
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.
I had written before, CEP917: 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 »
Google has a new doodle out today (the 15th of April) to celebrate the 306th birth anniversary of Leonhard Euler, the Swiss mathematician and physicist. This prompted some reflection on his work (and some mathematical poetry)…
At the bottom right of the doodle above you can see an equation, famously called Euler’s identity. It is usually represented as follows:
Sandra Sawaya has created a video from photographs taken during our recent sojourn to New Orleans for SITE2013. I think it captures a bit of what we did over there – lots of photos of food and friends, and some presentations. Enjoy.
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:
All my photos from the recently concluded SITE2013 conference at New Orleans. These include photographs from multiple sessions (chronicled here, here, and here) as well as from all the fun we had (at the MSU dinner, just hanging around in Burbon St., as we as other miscellaneous things such as Ann Thompson’s talk on the history of Ed Tech, award presentation ceremonies etc.)
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 »
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…
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.
In its citation the AACTE committee on Innovation and Technology which reviews submissions for the award cited our program
… for its demonstration of exceptional implementation and research of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework on a program level. The program engages candidates in the rich problems and interrelationships of pedagogy, technology and content to produce graduates who develop innovative pedagogical solutions. The Committee found technological competency woven throughout the program and seamlessly integrated with pedagogy and content knowledge.
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
The college of Education at Michigan State University just came out with a video titled Year in Review. You can see the video below.
I would like to point out that a couple of projects I am involved with made it into the video. They include the project with the Azim Premji University (APU) in India and our overseas Master’s program in Dublin! In fact Anurag Behar (who is also the vice-chancellor of APU) and I show up in the video around the 44 second mark.
Our family has a Christmas-break tradition. Over the past 5 years or so, every winter-break, we work together a create a video new-year’s card. And of course, we made one this year as well. As you can imagine, coming up with original ideas has become increasingly harder, and the set-ups increasingly complicated. What has not changed is just how fun they are to make. Take a look at the video below, and let us know if you think we managed to pull it off this year as well…
Have an out-standing 2013! From Shreya, Soham, Smita & Punya
Just to let you know, these videos always have a few common elements. First, they are usually stop-motion videos (though this year is an exception). Second, they are always typographic in nature, having some kind of play with words and their representation. Third, they are usually animations of inanimate objects, synchronized to music, rarely, if ever, including us (or any other humans). Finally, we try to sneak in some kind of an ”Aha!” moment— something that surprises the viewer in a nice kind of way.
Speaking of videos made in the past, you can see them by following the links below:
Peter Hershock is an education specialist at the East-West Center in Honolulu and author of Buddhism in the Public Sphere. He was recently interviewed by Matt Bieber of The Wheat and Chaff. I found this interview fascinating, particularly the first half which spoke to the idea of education in the 21st century (something I have written and talked about quite a bit). Here are some excerpts from the interview. I recommend reading it in full.
Brad Honeycutt, a fellow Spartan (he graduated 1996 a couple of years before I started here at Michigan State) is fascinated by optical illusions. He has completed a couple of books on optical illusions the first of which will be coming out in July. Scott Kim, one of my favorite ambigrammists, contributed a foreward and it includes work by Scott and John Langdon (he of Angels and Demons fame).
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.
Every Christmas-break our family creates a stop-motion video new year’s greeting card. We have been doing this for 4 years or so and it is an incredibly fun way to spend time together. It has become a “signature” thing we do as a family. Anyway this year was no exception – though it took us much longer than before to come up with a good idea – and then to execute it was another challenge. Anyway, here it is (on Vimeo).
A very wonderful holidays and a very happy new year to all of you,
from Shreya, Soham, Smita & Punya
Just a few comments on the making of these videos. First, all our new-year videos are stop-motion videos. That’s how we made the first one and it has stuck. Second, all these videos are somewhat typographical in nature – playing with words and their representation. Third, these videos rarely feature us either individually or as a family. A hand or a still-frame may show up once in a while but for the most part our videos are made with inanimate objects.
This year I tried to change all three of these, suggesting that we make a live action video, with us as actors – and have some kind of a puzzle that was not related to words. After spending days thinking about this, working with various ideas, this whole line of thought was vetoed down by both Soham and Shreya. It was interesting to me that over time we had not only become a family that makes videos but a family that makes stop motion videos! How cool an identity is that! Of course, this meant that we then had to start over from scratch to come up with something that fit what we had done in the past.
Speaking of videos made in the past, you can see them by following the links below:
I have been haunted the past week or so with the scandal enveloping Penn State. Much as been written about it already – and I really have nothing fundamentally new to offer to this discussion. What I did want to share was a parallel that struck me recently about these terrible events and a lovely yet horrifying short story I had read a long time ago.
“The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (Variations on a theme by William James) is a haunting short story by Ursula K. Le Guin. It is a short, sparse story, almost a parable, with almost no distinct characters.
It is about a beautiful city called Omelas, a city of happy people unburdened by any pain or sorrow. But this happiness is the result of a faustian bargain—a bargain where the happiness of all is dependent on having one child bear all the pain and sorrow of the entire city. This child lives in a dark, basement room, neglected and in constant pain. The story says that many people, though initially shocked, learn to accept this and seek to lead fruitful lives in Omelas. However, the story concludes that, there are always a few, who walk away, from the city, never to return. The story asks the question of whether it is, “right for the happiness of many to be built on pain and sorrow for one.”
I know that my synopsis does not do justice to the story. Do read it for yourself right here. Yes, right now. I can wait.
OK. Welcome back. Now wasn’t that a great story. I truly think it is one of the greatest stories ever written (at lease one of the greatest I have ever read).
I was recently at the Iowa Technology & Education Connection (ITEC) conference in Des Moines IA. I had a wonderful time meeting old friends and making some new ones. I was also asked to be part of a video that would be shared with ITEC members and other online sources. I received an email today letting me know that this video is now available on the ITEC website (and for embedding).
This was one of the most pleasant and professional interviews I have ever been involved in and I like how the final video has turned out. I think it is a pretty good introduction to not just the TPACK framework and our conceptualization of its development but also to our recent work on 21st century learning, creativity and trans-disciplinary learning. Enjoy.
To all of us who value creativity and design the passing of Steve Jobs is the passing of an era. I know my world changed when I first saw the Macintosh. I was a freshly minted electrical engineer who was trying to get out of engineering because there was something there that didn’t feel right. I was trying to move into design and education and still keep that technology connection. And it was at this time of inchoate confusion that I saw the Mac. The elegance, the simplicity, the emphasis on design and aesthetics… it showed me a way and inspires me even today.
It is funny, the two courses are teach in the MAET program are CEP817 Learning Technology by Design and CEP818Creativity in Teaching and Learning. Design, Creativity and their relationship to Teaching and Learning – four words that more than anything else define who I am. And Steve Jobs has been a big part of all four.
Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with using my iPad as a drawing/painting tool. The sketches below were created by tracing on an existing image – usually a photograph. So this is not “freehand” drawing per se – but given my limited talents that may not be such a bad idea.
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 »
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 »