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Contents contributed and discussions participated by Ed Webb

Ed Webb

Ian Bogost - Reading Online Sucks - 38 views

  • Even if the text is separated into chunks with comment space following each, that's still not the same as being able to star or underline a particularly provocative sentence with a word or two (or just a "?" or "!") in the margin. This is even more important in some ways if you're a peer reviewing a text than if you're making jottings for your own later use. Perhaps if there were a browser plugin that would allow you to highlight and comment on any text, Word-style? (There probably is one already.) So that each time you come back to the page your comments will be right where you made them? Would that recapture something of the way I interact with my bound books now?
    • Ed Webb
       
      That would be diigo...
Ed Webb

The Creativity Crisis - Newsweek - 48 views

  • there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
  • “Creativity can be taught,”
  • it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children
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  • When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” Plucker says. “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’ ”
  • The argument that we can’t teach creativity because kids already have too much to learn is a false trade-off. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process.
  • When you try to solve a problem, you begin by concentrating on obvious facts and familiar solutions, to see if the answer lies there. This is a mostly left-brain stage of attack. If the answer doesn’t come, the right and left hemispheres of the brain activate together. Neural networks on the right side scan remote memories that could be vaguely relevant. A wide range of distant information that is normally tuned out becomes available to the left hemisphere, which searches for unseen patterns, alternative meanings, and high-level abstractions. Having glimpsed such a connection, the left brain must quickly lock in on it before it escapes. The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with. Now the brain must evaluate the idea it just generated. Is it worth pursuing? Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas. Highly creative people are very good at marshaling their brains into bilateral mode, and the more creative they are, the more they dual-activate.
  • those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better
    • Ed Webb
       
      Surely, "more quickly"?
  • Creativity has always been prized in American society, but it’s never really been understood. While our creativity scores decline unchecked, the current national strategy for creativity consists of little more than praying for a Greek muse to drop by our houses. The problems we face now, and in the future, simply demand that we do more than just hope for inspiration to strike. Fortunately, the science can help: we know the steps to lead that elusive muse right to our doors.
  • What’s common about successful programs is they alternate maximum divergent thinking with bouts of intense convergent thinking, through several stages. Real improvement doesn’t happen in a weekend workshop. But when applied to the everyday process of work or school, brain function improves.
  • kids demonstrated the very definition of creativity: alternating between divergent and convergent thinking, they arrived at original and useful ideas. And they’d unwittingly mastered Ohio’s required fifth-grade curriculum—from understanding sound waves to per-unit cost calculations to the art of persuasive writing. “You never see our kids saying, ‘I’ll never use this so I don’t need to learn it,’ ” says school administrator Maryann Wolowiec. “Instead, kids ask, ‘Do we have to leave school now?’ ” Two weeks ago, when the school received its results on the state’s achievement test, principal Traci Buckner was moved to tears. The raw scores indicate that, in its first year, the school has already become one of the top three schools in Akron, despite having open enrollment by lottery and 42 percent of its students living in poverty.
  • project-based learning
  • highly creative adults frequently grew up with hardship. Hardship by itself doesn’t lead to creativity, but it does force kids to become more flexible—and flexibility helps with creativity.
  • When creative children have a supportive teacher—someone tolerant of unconventional answers, occasional disruptions, or detours of curiosity—they tend to excel. When they don’t, they tend to underperform and drop out of high school or don’t finish college at high rates. They’re quitting because they’re discouraged and bored, not because they’re dark, depressed, anxious, or neurotic. It’s a myth that creative people have these traits. (Those traits actually shut down creativity; they make people less open to experience and less interested in novelty.) Rather, creative people, for the most part, exhibit active moods and positive affect. They’re not particularly happy—contentment is a kind of complacency creative people rarely have. But they’re engaged, motivated, and open to the world.
  • solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others
Ed Webb

Is Technology Making Your Students Stupid? - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Educa... - 59 views

  • what the evidence suggests is that, unless it's very carefully planned with an eye to how the brain processes information, multimedia actually impedes learning rather than enhances it
  • a very balanced approach. Educators need to familiarize themselves with the research and see that in fact one of the most debilitating things you can do to students is distract them.
  • the risk of using search for online research is that everybody gets led in the same directions to a smaller number of citations which, as they become ever more popular, become the destination for more and more searches. And ... he suggested that simply the act of flipping through paper copies of journals actually may expose researchers to a wider array of evidence.
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  • l it a questionable classroom
Ed Webb

TALL blog » Blog Archive » Does the Technology Matter? - 39 views

  •  
    current
Ed Webb

Dickinson College - Dickinson's 'Manhattan Project' - 14 views

  • Gil Sperling ’77, senior advisor for policy and programs at the U.S. Department of Energy, noted the urgency of creating a curriculum steeped in sustainability theory and practice. “We need to create incentives for teachers to take risks,” he said. “We’re at a tipping point [with climate change]. We do not have the luxury of open-ended debate. I've had 30 years [to work on this issue.] The kids graduating today don’t have that luxury.”
  • “Green as a simple concept has a short life, and society is evolving to see sustainability as a complex set of relationships,” said Thom Wallace ’99, communications director for the National Congress of American Indians. “Dickinson is really at the forefront of charting and understanding the complexities of sustainability.”
  • Rick Shangraw ’81, vice president for research and economic affairs at Arizona State University, noted that Dickinson is in an ideal position to shape national discourse. “We should spend time discussing the meaning of sustainability,” he said. “We can be a leader in defining it.”
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  • Watch the Sustainability Symposium video or read Dickinson Magazine’s sustainability issue.
Ed Webb

Enemy Lurks in Briefings on Afghan War - PowerPoint - NYTimes.com - 51 views

  • “PowerPoint makes us stupid,”
  • behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making
  • deeply embedded in a military culture that has come to rely on PowerPoint’s hierarchical ordering of a confused world
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  • Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point.
  • Senior officers say the program does come in handy when the goal is not imparting information, as in briefings for reporters. The news media sessions often last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone still awake. Those types of PowerPoint presentations, Dr. Hammes said, are known as “hypnotizing chickens.”
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