Sunday, April 4, 2010


The next speaker coming to the Wilkes Tuesday group on April 13th (5:30 Pacific time) is Canada' own Ian Jukes, so I started this morning looking at his Committed Sardine blog. One of the contributors had posted something about Infographics which are charts, graphs, and visuals that can communicate data by turning it into information. If you like astoundingly big numbers these will grab you:

(Image and other infographics found at Gizmodo:

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from JESS3 on Vimeo.

(For more infographics see: Cool Infographics , Noupe, and just google 'infographics'.)

This week in 508, we've been looking at Howard Gardner's Chapter about developing the what he calls the "creating mind." Gardner has quite a narrow notion of what constitutes creativity. He writes that creativity is not a spirit or a feeling, but often grows out of synthesis and “breaks new ground” (p. 82). It is not the act of one person alone. The creating mind exerts an influence through innovations that become recognized in a particular domain (pp. 80-1). He seems to think of creativity not as a quality but as an action -- not something you are or have, but something you do that has a lasting impact on others.

I find myself often looking back at sections of the Cognition and Technology course (501) as I've been adding my replies to others' discussions. Recent neuroscience (catapulted forward by observers ability to use fMRI's to watch electrical impulses fire along people's brain's neurons) is telling us a lot about what happens in the brain when we are learning and even when we're making decisions. But what is known about how ideas develop? where they come from? what chemical and electrical signals in the brain we experience as the germination of an idea?

That took me to this piece below in an article in ISO50 about overcoming creative block by Alex Cornell. I think he's on the right track. Feeding the brain with as much thought-provoking stuff as you can must create the electro-chemical soup from which the big bangs we experience as ideas and inspiration explode.

I wonder though whether the development of the Newton Virus (or any virus for that matter) meets Gardner's criteria for creativity.

All of which take me back to Ian and one of the videos that presents some of his ideas about 21st century learners. One of his astounding statistics is that elementary teachers and parents and grandparents of the young children among us is are raising the first generation to grow up with a mouse in its hand.

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