Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Creativity, Toys and Change

After watching this video of Caleb Chung at TED I reflected what I learned from Sir Ken Robinson and Dan Pink about the importance of nurturing creativity in students. Mr Chung's work balances art and science with incredible creativity. The bulk of this video, as Mr. Chung summarizes his career to date addresses the importance of this mix.

The last two minutes of the video dramatically demonstrate how toys have changed. I think it is important for all of us involved in teaching children, who are no longer regularly have contact with children outside of school, to visit a toy store at least a few times a year to fully grasp these changes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Web 2.0 Goes to the Symphony

Last Friday night, after receiving electrical power for the 1st time in 2 weeks in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, my wife and I went to hear the Houston Symphony perform. It turned out that we were seeing the 1st concert since Hurricane Ike hit Houston. The symphony was performing 2 great works, Mozart's piano concerto 21 and Shostakovich's Symphony #13 about the massacre of Jews during WWII at Babi Yar. The printed program for the concert contained 2 interesting references: to wikipedia and to creative commons. The article on Shostakovich's Symphony #13 referenced wikipedia and included a photograph of a Babi Yar memorial licensed under creative commons. When mainstream organizations like the Houston Symphony cite new forms of reference and utilize new forms of copyright, shouldn't schools encourage students to do so as well?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let's have an intelligent and respectful discussion about technology

Last Thursday I attended a conference on education.  The conference featured two keynote speakers.  The first speaker, Eboo Patel, spoke eloquently about the importance of having intelligent and respectful discussions about religion.  He also spoke passionately about the importance of finding common ground and building bridges between people of different faiths.  That is in fact the work he is doing with his Interface Youth Council.  He also stressed the importance of having intelligent, respectful discussions with students about religion and teaching them religious literacy.  As Mr. Patel said, "if we don't who will".

I believe that all of those points are true.  I also believe that tolerance, education, and respect are also important when addressing issues of media, culture, and technology.  Unfortunately, the second keynote speaker at the conference, James P. Steyer, of Common Sense Media approached technology, media and culture like Professor Harold Hill of the music man, speaking of "trouble in river city".   

We digital, media, and cultural immigrants must approach these topics with dignity, respect, and intelligence.  Media Literacy is extremely important.  Returning from the conference I advised my teachers to seek out wonderful sources such as NMLP and these excellent sources from the University of Connecticut.