Capital City River Run, Half Marathon

September 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

This weekend I completed my sixth Capital City River Run. I participated in the half-marathon and completed it at a 10:10 pace, a total time of 2 hours 13 minutes (and 2 seconds, but who is counting). Interestingly this pace was actually better than my pace the last two years, even though I had much less time to train this time around. It was a beautiful day and I had a wonderful time. Here is a photo

Capital City River Run Punya

Seeing differently (veja du with video)

September 17, 2009 § 4 Comments

I am always looking for examples of looking at the world differently – of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. This is of course connected with the veja du assignments I give my students.

I just came across a couple of very interesting video examples of this on the site LikeCOOL. This site has everything from after-office neckties, to inflatable boxing gloves… but in between these crazy things are some cool videos. Here are three (in increasing order of coolness):

Here’s Moscow in slow motion

Slow Moscow from Andrey Stvolinsky on Vimeo.

The breathing apple

Ecological apple (experimental short) from Andreas Soderberg on Vimeo.

And my absolute favorite: The secret life of packaging

“Packaging’s Life” from Silvio Giordano on Vimeo.

Color me Creative

September 8, 2009 § 1 Comment

I just ran across this blog (Color Me Katie) that just blew me away. Katie Sokoler is a freelance photographer and street artist living in Brooklyn – and her blog just throbs with life, and energy and the sheer pleasure of living. That’s her down there blowing bubbles (wait till you see the stop-motion animation version of this).


I think she says it best:

It’s important for me to express myself creatively every day. I have all of these fun ideas in my head and if I don’t get them out I’m pretty sure my mind would explode. Realistically, I’d probably just get frustrated and fall asleep. But explosion or no explosion, doing something creative acts as a form of therapy for me. I feel better after taking photographs, making street art, painting, or making wall sized collages. The messier and more sweatier I get, the better I feel.

How cool is that!

Dewey meets Wong

August 3, 2009 § 3 Comments

David Wong is a colleague of mine at the College of Education and an avid John Dewey scholar. He also loves to fish. You can learn more about his work by going to his web site here. (I had earlier blogged about his work around visually representing ideas here and here).

A few years ago, as a birthday present for David, I created the following image. It combined his two loves (John Dewey and fishing) in one sweet image. Ah… the wonders of photoshop. I had quite forgotten about it till I came across it again recently and decided to include it here (for the record).

David Wong goes fishing with John Dewey

Photo triplets

July 31, 2009 § 4 Comments

Christopher Bowhuis (a student in our summer on-campus MAET program) provided me a two minute tutorial on cloning myself, or anybody else for that matter. I had to go home and try it out with my kids (and a few of their friends who just happened to show up). Below are a few of the photos, you can click here to see the entire photo set on Flickr.

Three Shreyas
Three Shreyas

Three Sohams
Soham times three!

Three for tea

Three of me
Three of me

If you want to learn how to do it check out this tutorial. [Note, this tutorial uses GIMP as a photo-editing tool. I used Photoshop.]

Creativity @ Plymouth, year 3

July 27, 2009 § 1 Comment

I spent some time last week with each of the MAET cohorts at Plymouth England. I have blogged about my time with Year 1 here and Year 2 here (as well as some other posts here and here). This is about what I did with the Year 3 cohort. As usual, I did my TPACK and creativity routine. Some of the poems and photos taken by the students are archived below.

Here’s a haiku by John Arcay
Many Ideas
Involves tweaking the right Knobs

Here’s a song about the new NEW, Novel Effective Whole
(To be sung to the tune of The Beatles’ “I’m Looking Through You”)

I’m looking through you
with new ideas
The Novel remix
is relaxing
Making effective
Can be the whole
For all we know!

Bindu’s NEW Recipe
(Using the 5 steps of creativity and the criteria for creativity)

Preparation: A trip to the market
Incubation: Marinate!
Insight: Season to taste
Evaluation: Proof of the pudding is in the eating
Elaboration: Invite your friends and have a party
NEW?Novel, Efective, and Whole

And finally the photos from the letter search assignment. Since there were 19 students in the class (one more than the Year 2) I modified the assignment I had given Year 2, and just added an exclamation mark! So in essence, I did the same song and dance routine about the solution to Shulman’s three pathologies of learning being Relax, Repose, Reteach! (note the additional exclamation mark). And of course at the end, all was revealed. As it turns out, what they had been searching for were the letters to the words Explore Create Share! (once again with the “!” mark). Here are the two images.

Relax Repose Reteach!
Relax Repose Reteach!

Explore Create Share!
Explore Create Share

Pomes on creativity

July 20, 2009 § Leave a Comment

I am in Plymouth, England, for a week, as a part of our off-campus MAET program. I spent time today with the first year cohort, talking with them about creativity in teaching (with our without technology). One of the short (5-10 minutes) activities they completed around an hour into the session was writing short poems about the creative process. Here is what they came up with:

Step by step (to be creative!)
By Miguel Herrera

Step by step… Uh baby… have some tips to be creative in this world
Step by step… uh baby…if they work, would you please let me know….

Step 1: to be NOVEL is fun!
Setp 2: if it’s not EFFECTIVE they will boo!
Step 3: Sir, would you like some tea?
Step 4: it has to be WHOLE… That’s it… I’m done….

…Would you please let me know!!!!

The New NEW
Alyssia and Katie

There once was a teacher with technology,
Who tried some creative pedagogy,
She tried something new,
And it went askew,
So she used the NEW methodology!

There was once a man from msu
From Drew, Tara, and Larissa

There was once a man from msu
Who came to us with something NEW
It wasn’t a novel effective or whole
But learning from him was quite brilliant and droll

Be creative
Cathy Emery

Be creative, quick! go! now!
You don’t need HTML know-how
How can you make a purple cow?
Weird teapots make us go wow!
Change comes quickly now..

Consuelo Salazar

Jumpin’ Jesus is upon us
He started slowly
But, as we meet in the present,
His face is blurred by
The flying debris of technology
soaring between us.

They also took a moment, or two, to search for letterforms in the world around us…. here is what they spent their time discovering.

Description alphabits photos

Announcing: Short film competition, cool prize for winner!!

July 8, 2009 § 6 Comments

Those of you who have been following this blog know, over the past few months I have made a few short videos with my kids. The ones I am most proud of are a set of three made around the words Explore, Create, Share (you can see them all here). There were great fun to make, and have turned out pretty nicely, if I say so myself :-)

These videos have a few things in common. First, they are short (the longest is a minute long) and involve minimal post production, if any. Second, they always focus on a specific word and attempt to express the meaning of the word through video. Third, each video ends with that word represented in some creative, interesting way.

The other day, while talking with Leigh Wolf, I realized that there was no reason why we could not share the joy of making something like this with others. Why not solicit similar videos from other people? One thought led to another and this competition is the result. The rules of the competition are simple – building on the similarities described above.

  1. Each video MUST have a core theme that can be captured in a word (or two). We recommend choosing evocative words related to learning and technology (like design, innovation, invent and so on).
  2. The video MUST be original i.e. don’t just copy and re-edit someone’s idea, or footage. This is NOT a mashup of existing video.
  3. The video should be short (30 seconds to a minute, no more) with minimal editing or post-production.
  4. Each video should end with the thematic word represented in some fashion (see the original videos Explore, Create, Share to see how this works).
  5. The video MUST use one of the music clips available for download below. These clips were composed specifically for this competition by Sonny Mishra, a freelance musician from Seattle. [Music Clip 1 | Music Clip 2]
  6. Once you have created a video, upload it to the web (say YouTube) and send me the link. Please DO NOT send me actual movie files.

A jury consisting of myself, Leigh Wolf, Soham & Shreya (the two people who helped make the first three) and Sonny (the music composer) will judge these movies and nominate the winner. The winner will receive a copy of Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein’s book Sparks Of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools Of The World’s Most Creative People, autographed by the authors, Robert & Michele Root-Bernstein! How cool is that!!

Do let me know if you have any questions about this competition. Enjoy!


Sparks of Genius

Computerized aesthetics… what’s right with that idea?

May 14, 2009 § 1 Comment

I just came across this… Online System Rates Images by Aesthetic Quality

Pennsylvania State University (PSU) has launched the Aesthetic Quality
Inference Engine (ACQUINE), an online system for determining the aesthetic quality of an image. The online photo-rating system helps establish the foundation for determining how people will react emotionally to a visual image. ACQUINE delivers ratings–from zero to 100–within seconds, based on visual aspects such as color saturation, color distribution, and photo composition. PSU researchers hope to improve upon the system’s current performance level of more than 80 percent consistency between human and computer ratings. “Furthermore, aesthetics represents just one dimension of human emotion,” says PSU professor James Z. Wang. “Future systems will perhaps strive to capture other emotions that pictures arouse in people.”
Wang says that linking cameras to ACQUINE could potentially enable a photographer to instantly see how the public might perceive a photo.

Now this is the ultimate democratization of the idea of aesthetics – of course diluting the idea of the aesthetic encounter to the lowest common denominator i.e. “how the public might perceive a photo.” The assumptions behind that definition of aesthetics are mind-boggling. Let me count the ways in which this is a boneheaded idea… actually let me not, at least at this time. But the link was worth sharing nonetheless. I hope to write more about this … hopefully soon.

Bic to vase: Cool idea

March 31, 2009 § Leave a Comment

A vase for a daisy, made from a plastic bic pen. (Website here).

The beauty of the web: Shape of the earth

March 27, 2009 § 1 Comment

While searching for information for my previous posting on using eclipses to see, I came across an interesting paper that provided yet another way of figuring out the shape of the Earth.

Lynch, D.K. (2005). Turbulent ship wakes: further evidence that the Earth is round. Applied Optics, 44(27). 5759 – 5762.

First some context, see this image below:

View aft (south): ship’s wake extending to southern horizon (20050802a11).
Photo credit: B. Cuthbertson

« Read the rest of this entry »

Using eclipses to see

March 27, 2009 § 2 Comments

Let me start with two questions: First, what is the shape of the Earth? And two, what shapes does the sun cast on the ground when filtered through the leaves of a tree? Of course we know the answer to the first question. The pictures from space show clearly this almost perfect circle or “pale blue dot” that we live on and in an age of Google Earth such questions seem moot. But it is still interesting to think about ways of figuring out the shape of the Earth, from right here on the surface.

In answering the second question, what most people don’t know is that the shape the sun casts on the ground are perfect circles too – though few of us have paid much attention to it. And the reason this happens is because the gaps between the leaves act as little pin-hole cameras casting little images of the sun on the ground below. Now you don’t have to take my word for it. But the question then becomes, how can we prove this pin-hole phenomena is actually happening. Well, one way is to change the shape of the sun. You may think this is kind of hard to do… but as it turns out this does happen (at least its perceived shape from the earth). The answer, as you may have guessed, has to do with eclipses.

Turns out that eclipses are a great way of perceiving things that may be difficult to see and can help us answer both these questions (both of which I have written about before – but for some reason I had never really put them together). « Read the rest of this entry »

Brilliant stop motion

March 24, 2009 § Leave a Comment

Just came across this on Nina Paley’s blog… and it just blew me away!

YouTube Preview Image


March 16, 2009 § Leave a Comment

I took photographs at the Milap 2009, the annual cultural program organized by the Indian Cultural Society of Greater Lansing. Click on the photo below to view the photos (hosted on Flickr).

Social Networking & Education @ AACTE

February 8, 2009 § Leave a Comment

The Innovation & Technology Committee of the AACTE organized a symposium titled: Digital-Age Learners in a Socially Networked World at the Annual meeting at Chicago.

See photos from AACTE09 @ Chicago (hosted on Flickr)

« Read the rest of this entry »

Photos from Twente

January 26, 2009 § Leave a Comment

I have uploaded a set of photos from my walk around the Twente University campus onto Flickr. You can see the entire set by clicking on the image below. Enjoy.

Yet another stop-motion movie

December 26, 2008 § Leave a Comment

One Nikon D70, two bored kids, one snowy day… and 49 seconds of fun. Check out the latest stop-motion goofiness!


You could also see the 12 Days of Christmas, desi style (the original can be found here) as rendered by Shreya and Alyssa:


Representing me

October 24, 2008 § 7 Comments

Sharon Guan with the Instructional Design & Development Group at DePaul University has invited me to present at a faculty conference next April. I will be speaking about the manner in which new technologies are pushing us to blur the lines between the professional and the personal. [See last year's website here.] She needed a picture to post on the conference website that could represent this shift. Here are two that I came up with. « Read the rest of this entry »

When is a picture of a sandwich more than a sandwich?

October 22, 2008 § 2 Comments

The answer is that when that picture has been taken by someone you know and it ends up on the NYTimes Freakonomics blog!

Long story short, a picture of a sandwich taken by Leigh Wolf has been used by the cool people over at Freakonomics to illustrate a story. Check it out here… and yes, the photo is credited to someone called 46137, which as it turns out is “Leigh” rotated 180-degrees (works best with a calculator font). Oh the beauty of Creative Commons and the web!

Avani Amol Pavangadkar…

October 9, 2008 § Leave a Comment

… was born on the 7th of October, to Amol and Kanchan. [Amol was my partner in crime in the making of Hari Puttar!] We went to visit her yesterday and I took some pictures. Enjoy.

View all the pictures

Ganapati 08, Photos

October 5, 2008 § Leave a Comment

As un-official photographer for the Marathi Group, I took a bunch of pictures of this year’s Ganapati celebrations. These are now (finally) on Flickr.


Obama at MSU

October 2, 2008 § 1 Comment

Soham and Shreya make it to the Lansing State Journal’s website photo gallery…
« Read the rest of this entry »

Political poetry

October 1, 2008 § Leave a Comment

What do Donald Rumsfeld and Sarah Palin have in common? Turns out that they both deliver speeches that can, at be, without much effort, converted into poetry. Check out this and this. Some of them are quite briliant.

Incredible !ndia

September 24, 2008 § Leave a Comment

Patrick Dickson sent me this link to an article on titled Scenes from India. As the article says:

India is home to over 1.2 billion people of wildly varying religions, cultures and levels of wealth…. Though there’s no possible way for these images to be comprehensive, here are some recent photos of scenes in India. (34 photos total)

Indian Tourism department slogan “Incredible !ndia” holds true….

véjà du, on seeing anew

September 9, 2008 § 9 Comments

I recently learned about véjà du (see here to learn more). I was sufficiently intrigued by this idea to use this as an assignment in the CEP818, Creativity in Teaching and Learning course I am currently teaching (with Mike DeSchryver). The assignment students were given is as follows: « Read the rest of this entry »

Jugaad, India-genous creativity

September 7, 2008 § 3 Comments

Jugaad is a Hindi word which does not have a straight forward equivalent in English. I guess the closest phrase I would say would be “situational or indigenous creativity,” the ability to make do creatively with the tools/resources one has at hand.

On I came across a pretty good definition:

Jugaad refers to an improvised or jury-rigged solution; inventiveness, ingenuity, cleverness. It means creative improvisation and finding alternative ways of doing improbable things. It reflects on a person’s ability to think out of the box and optimize resources in the best possible way.

This is a great example…; « Read the rest of this entry »

Digital before his time

August 11, 2008 § 1 Comment

A recent story in the NYTimes about Peter Gabriel (An Old Rocker Gets Digital) brought back memories of Peter Gabriel’s album covers. It tells you a lot about me that I know album covers better than I know his music!
« Read the rest of this entry »

How artists work

August 10, 2008 § 1 Comment

An interesting (and growing) collection of “habits, rituals and small (and occasionally big) methods people and teams use to get their work done. And in the specific anecdotes and the way people describe their own relationship to their own work.”
« Read the rest of this entry »

Photography update

May 28, 2008 § 1 Comment

I have continued adding photographs from the trip to my Flickr Site… I had posted about this earlier but I guess it is time for another reminder. There are now 380 photographs on the “Travels in Asia 2008″ Flickr-set (and more coming soon).
« Read the rest of this entry »

Hello Hong Kong, goodbye Hong Kong

May 19, 2008 § 1 Comment

A short and sweet trip to Hong Kong, one full day, two nights, fly in fly out. « Read the rest of this entry »

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