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Jjenna Andrews

Teaching Creativity - The Case for Mind Mapping - 83 views

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    "Essentially, digital (and physical) mind mapping allows students to view the entire forest instead of a single tree. As they create a mind map, they capture the wider ecosystem of information by visually connecting short keywords and phrases rather than writing complete sentences. Upon later review-for retention, exam preparation or papers-the mind map is like a CD. You jump right to the information that interests you. In contrast, linear notes are like audio tapes-you waste time wading line by line through the content in hopes of getting to what you want. This more efficient use of space (and time) lets students see how normally unconnected ideas might fit together. Thus, the mind maps doubles as a store of information and an engine of creativity. Using it in the classroom and even giving mind mapping assignments forces students to break the linearity of their earlier education."
Daryl Bambic

Books Have Many Futures : NPR - 18 views

  • Long the building blocks of academia, textbooks are seen more as albatross and less as asset these days. They are expensive — some costing more than $300. They are quickly outdated. They can be so heavy that students and teachers are forced to tote them around in wheeled luggage carts. Students, professors and universities are rebelling against the weighty — and wasteful — tomes. Stanford University's brand new physics and engineering library is advertised as "bookless"; relying almost solely on digital material. Free and downloadable textbooks are at the heart of the growing "open educational resources" movement that seeks to make education more available and more affordable. Groups such as Connexions at Rice University and the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources in Silicon Valley are supporting free online textbook initiatives.
Richard Bradshaw

The Progressive Movement and the Transformation of American Politics | The Heritage Foundation - 33 views

  • Government had to be limited both because it was dangerous if it got too powerful and because it was not supposed to provide for the highest things in life.
  • In Progressivism, the domestic policy of government had two main concerns. First, government must protect the poor and other victims of capitalism through redistribution of resources, anti-trust laws, government control over the details of commerce and production: i.e., dictating at what prices things must be sold, methods of manufacture, government participation in the banking system, and so on. Second, government must become involved in the "spiritual" development of its citizens -- not, of course, through promotion of religion, but through protecting the environment ("conservation"), education (understood as education to personal creativity), and spiritual uplift through subsidy and promotion of the arts and culture.
  • Progressives therefore embraced a much more active and indeed imperialistic foreign policy than the Founders did.
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  • The trend to turn power over to multinational organizations also begins in this period, as may be seen in Wilson's plan for a League of Nations, under whose rules America would have delegated control over the deployment of its own armed forces to that body.
  • The Progressives wanted to sweep away what they regarded as this amateurism in politics. They had confidence that modern science had superseded the perspective of the liberally educated statesman. Only those educated in the top universities, preferably in the social sciences, were thought to be capable of governing.
  • Government, it was thought, needed to be led by those who see where history is going, who understand the ever-evolving idea of human dignity.
  • Politics in the sense of favoritism and self-interest would disappear and be replaced by the universal rule of enlightened bureaucracy.
  • Today's liberals, or the teachers of today's liberals, learned to reject the principles of the founding from their teachers, the Progressives.
  • That is the disparagement of nature and the celebration of human will, the idea that everything of value in life is created by man's choice, not by nature or necessity.
  • Liberal domestic policy follows the same principle. It tends to elevate the "other" to moral superiority over against those whom the Founders would have called the decent and the honorable, the men of wisdom and virtue. The more a person is lacking, the greater is his or her moral claim on society. The deaf, the blind, the disabled, the stupid, the improvident, the ignorant, and even (in a 1984 speech of presidential candidate Walter Mondale) the sad -- those who are lowest are extolled as the sacred other.
  • The first great battle for the American soul was settled in the Civil War. The second battle for America's soul, initiated over a century ago, is still raging. The choice for the Founders' constitutionalism or the Progressive-liberal administrative state is yet to be fully resolved.
  • The Progressive system managed to gain a foothold in American politics only when it made major compromises with the Founders' constitutionalism.
  • Sober liberal friends of the Great Society would later admit that a central reason for its failure was precisely the fact that it was an expertise-driven engineering project, which had never sought the support or even the acquiescence of popular majorities.
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    I hope you know better than to use any resource from such a biased source in the classroom without one from the opposite side, say the Brookings Institution in this case. I found your posting of this article from this anti- free thought organization that is a puppet of big business and the far right on an education site plain wrong.
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    Well, the truth is I did not intend to share this bookmark with Diigo Education, but somehow it was posted in the group. I had intended it only for myself as part of research I am doing.
M Holthouse

eGFI - For Teachers » Lesson: Concrete for Kids - 36 views

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    hands-on project for experimenting with concrete
James Spagnoletti

Göbekli Tepe - Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine - 67 views

  • The Birth of ReligionWe used to think agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art, and religion. Now the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization.
  • Before them are dozens of massive stone pillars arranged into a set of rings, one mashed up against the next. Known as Göbekli Tepe (pronounced Guh-behk-LEE TEH-peh), the site is vaguely reminiscent of Stonehenge, except that Göbekli Tepe was built much earlier and is made not from roughly hewn blocks but from cleanly carved limestone pillars splashed with bas-reliefs of animals—a cavalcade of gazelles, snakes, foxes, scorpions, and ferocious wild boars. The assemblage was built some 11,600 years ago, seven millennia before the Great Pyramid of Giza. It contains the oldest known temple. Indeed, Göbekli Tepe is the oldest known example of monumental architecture—the first structure human beings put together that was bigger and more complicated than a hut. When these pillars were erected, so far as we know, nothing of comparable scale existed in the world.
  • At the time of Göbekli Tepe's construction much of the human race lived in small nomadic bands that survived by foraging for plants and hunting wild animals. Construction of the site would have required more people coming together in one place than had likely occurred before. Amazingly, the temple's builders were able to cut, shape, and transport 16-ton stones hundreds of feet despite having no wheels or beasts of burden. The pilgrims who came to Göbekli Tepe lived in a world without writing, metal, or pottery; to those approaching the temple from below, its pillars must have loomed overhead like rigid giants, the animals on the stones shivering in the firelight—emissaries from a spiritual world that the human mind may have only begun to envision.
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  • Archaeologists are still excavating Göbekli Tepe and debating its meaning. What they do know is that the site is the most significant in a volley of unexpected findings that have overturned earlier ideas about our species' deep past. Just 20 years ago most researchers believed they knew the time, place, and rough sequence of the Neolithic Revolution—the critical transition that resulted in the birth of agriculture, taking Homo sapiens from scattered groups of hunter-gatherers to farming villages and from there to technologically sophisticated societies with great temples and towers and kings and priests who directed the labor of their subjects and recorded their feats in written form. But in recent years multiple new discoveries, Göbekli Tepe preeminent among them, have begun forcing archaeologists to reconsider. At first the Neolithic Revolution was viewed as a single event—a sudden flash of genius—that occurred in a single location, Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now southern Iraq, then spread to India, Europe, and beyond. Most archaeologists believed this sudden blossoming of civilization was driven largely by environmental changes: a gradual warming as the Ice Age ended that allowed some people to begin cultivating plants and herding animals in abundance. The new research suggests that the "revolution" was actually carried out by many hands across a huge area and over thousands of years. And it may have been driven not by the environment but by something else entirely.
  • Most of the world's great religious centers, past and present, have been destinations for pilgrimages
  • Göbekli Tepe may be the first of all of them, the beginning of a pattern. What it suggests, at least to the archaeologists working there, is that the human sense of the sacred—and the human love of a good spectacle—may have given rise to civilization itself.
  • n the 1960s archaeologists from the University of Chicago had surveyed the region and concluded that Göbekli Tepe was of little interest. Disturbance was evident at the top of the hill, but they attributed it to the activities of a Byzantine-era military outpo
  • To Schmidt, the T-shaped pillars are stylized human beings, an idea bolstered by the carved arms that angle from the "shoulders" of some pillars, hands reaching toward their loincloth-draped bellies. The stones face the center of the circle—as at "a meeting or dance," Schmidt says—a representation, perhaps, of a religious ritual. As for the prancing, leaping animals on the figures, he noted that they are mostly deadly creatures: stinging scorpions, charging boars, ferocious lions. The figures represented by the pillars may be guarded by them, or appeasing them, or incorporating them as totems.
  • nches below the surface the team struck an elaborately fashioned stone. Then another, and another—a ring of standing pillars.
  • Within minutes of getting there," Schmidt says, he realized that he was looking at a place where scores or even hundreds of people had worked in millennia past.
  • he pillars were big—the tallest are 18 feet in height and weigh 16 tons. Swarming over their surfaces was a menagerie of animal bas-reliefs, each in a different style, some roughly rendered, a few as refined and symbolic as Byzantine art.
  • The circles follow a common design. All are made from limestone pillars shaped like giant spikes or capital T's.
  • They hadn't yet mastered engineering." Knoll speculated that the pillars may have been propped up, perhaps by wooden posts.
  • Geomagnetic surveys in 2003 revealed at least 20 rings piled together, higgledy-piggledy, under the earth.
  • Puzzle piled upon puzzle as the excavation continued. For reasons yet unknown, the rings at Göbekli Tepe seem to have regularly lost their power, or at least their charm. Every few decades people buried the pillars and put up new stones—a second, smaller ring, inside the first.
  • he site may have been built, filled in, and built again for centuries.
  • Bewilderingly, the people at Göbekli Tepe got steadily worse at temple building.
  • Finally the effort seems to have petered out altogether by 8200 B.C. Göbekli Tepe was all fall and no rise.
Dennis Thomas

Great Teachers Don't Teach | Edutopia - 13 views

  • great teachers engineer learning experiences that maneuver the students into the driver's seat and then the teachers get out of the way.
  • great teacher will devise a way to give the students an urgent reason to learn skills or knowledge and then let them show they have learned it by what they can do. This is called project-based learning.
  • Students learn best when they are in control of their learning
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  • great teacher devises learning experiences that force all the students to be engaged much like being in the deep end of the swimming pool. Then the lesson on arm and leg strokes becomes relevant. To learn, the students must do something. We call this performance-based learning.
  • Socrates had it right when he only answered a question with more questions and look what he produced -- some of the greatest minds that ever lived. We call this the Socratic method.
  • Yet what do we find in every public school and university? Teachers talking, talking and talking while students listen, daydream and doze. We call this lecture.
  • One characteristic of an effective teacher is that they don't teach.
Marianne Hart

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
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Students are labeled as "creative" if they display a knack for art or music, and sometimes in writing, however, they are rarely recognized as creative in math or science where a lot of creativity is not only needed, but excellent for learning within those very two disciplines.
    • Bill Genereux
       
      This is precisely why creativity education is important. It is needed everywhere, not just in the arts. Those teaching outside of arts education need to start recognizing the importance of creative thinking as well.
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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.
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Likely because it was out of necessity and the hardships of life. Not that we don't have hardships and necessities, but innovation has solved a lot of problems and automation has made skills and tasks easy.
  • 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.
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Everyday process of work or school... over time, consistent and non-prescriptive.
  • 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
  • The age-old belief that the arts have a special claim to creativity is unfounded.
  • When scholars gave creativity tasks to both engineering majors and music majors, their scores laid down on an identical spectrum, with the same high averages and standard deviations. Inside their brains, the same thing was happening—ideas were being generated and evaluated on the fly.
  • The lore of pop psychology is that creativity occurs on the right side of the brain. But we now know that if you tried to be creative using only the right side of your brain, it’d be like living with ideas perpetually at the tip of your tongue, just beyond reach
  • those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better. A lifetime of consistent habits gradually changes the neurological pattern.
  • The home-game version of this means no longer encouraging kids to spring straight ahead to the right answer
  • The new view is that creativity is part of normal brain function.
  • “As a child, I never had an identity as a ‘creative person,’ ” Schwarzrock recalls. “But now that I know, it helps explain a lot of what I felt and went through.”
  • In China there has been widespread education reform to extinguish the drill-and-kill teaching style. Instead, Chinese schools are also adopting a problem-based learning approach.
  • fact-finding
  • problem-finding
  • Next, idea-finding
  • 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.
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    For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong-and how we can fix it.
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