Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Professor of Play in Learning!

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Cambridge University have successfully lobbied for a the establishment of the LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Learning, and Development to joining the education faculty as of Fall 2015.

(Read the story at Quartz)

The professorship is being funded by the LEGO Corporation and will be tied to the establishment of a research center on play in education, development and learning (PEDaL). See the announcement on the Cambridge General Board site.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Coloring and Flow

The mindfulness described in Barbara King's reflection on the comfort she finds in coloring is reminiscent of the full immersion described by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in his concept "flow."There is a strong connection between kinesthetic creativity and flow...

Read more at NPR

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Information, Knowledge and Wisdom

Thought Vomit:

Knowledge is the point at which information converges with conciousness.

Wisdom is a continuous effort by the conciousness to more effectively create more knowledge.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

More on "Failure"

"People who fail don't scare me, but people who don't fail do..." - B. Godkin, May 3rd, 2006

Taking a risk and failing but then learning from that faiure is ideal.

Not taking a risk and failing may also open your eyes to a gap in your knowledge and therefore also allow you to learn from your failure.

However, failing and then refusing to change your behavior with regards to said failure in my mind isn't the kind of "failure" that I am trying to teach people how to understand. In fact my hope is to help people remove the stigma they have attached to the word "failure".

Therefore, I contend that another word be used for the concept of failing and not learning from it. You can normally quickly point out those people who are operating with this faulty mental model. As I have stated in my previous post "Failure Consultant"; after a pit-fall has occured, these type of people immediately search out someone to blame instead of attempting to search out the gap in knowledge that led to said pit-fall.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Failure Consultant

Why don't we teach people how to fail. Failure can be a success. Why does it have such a stigma. Perhaps there is a process to failure. In my professional consulting I have found that people normally have two responses to failure. The first (being the most common) is that they immediately look for someone to blame (not usually looking at themselves). In no way do they seek out the gap in knowledge that led to the failure in order to fill it and therefore create knowledge where there was none. The second response (which I hope to teach people how to do) is that they immediately seek out the gap in knowledge and fix it. They respond to the failure. They do not sit around and have a meeting discussing who was at fault. I am now taking on a new title as a result of my desire to teach people the Process for Successful Failure. I am officially a Failure Consultant. My hope is to help communities develop into even healthier communities by teaching them processes such as the Process for Successful Failure.

I challenge those reading this post to comment by sharing a failure that occured in your life and how you were able to find and fill a gap in knowledge as a result of that failure. Also discuss in your post your personal process for failure.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What's in a Word?

As regular readers are bound to discover, the creators of the IdeaPlay Institute (and theorists of ideaplay as a viable creativity-enhancing strategy for approaching problem statements) like words.

Take IdeaPlay for example. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary notes that an idea is (among other things), "a transcendent entity that is a real pattern of which existing things are imperfect representations," "a standard of perfection,"or "a plan for action." Interestingly, a usage noted as archaic ("a visible representation of a conception") comes closest to the transformation we posit occurs when concepts are played with like toys, or demonstrated through performance (like in a play).

While writing a conference paper proposal recently, I had a colleague challenge a particular bit of wording that prompted the idea I eventually want to explore here. That bit of wording is captured in the description that Blake posted for this blog: "Inquiry is the root process of creativity and innovation." The heart of the challenge presented was that creativity, innovation, and invention are solely human domains, while inquiry can be observed in lower animals. Our conversation proceeded by my defining the trial-and-error approach that can be observed throughout nature as lacking a pre-formed mental postulate about the outcome of an experiment--exactly what I think that happens in the inquiry process when a person asks, "I wonder what would happen if..."

Perhaps that is another topic for another day. In the course of conversation, this colleague reminded me of the aphorism, "necessity is the mother of invention." My counter was that while the perception of a need might incubate, feed, and grow an is the flash of insight, the "aha" moment when a person realizes that some random bit of information floating around in their head might just be the puzzle pice that fits this problem, that provides the germ from which a full-blown concept can grow. Is inquiry, then, the father of invention?

I think that there is an interesting ancillary conversation to be had about the gender-centric baggage of the terminology we use to describe ideas. Take for example the word seminal. This, for better or worse, is the word we assign to those germinal ideas that grow not just single concepts, but entire fields of study. Sure, the idea is that the information presented is a seed that informs and expands others understanding. But, isn't an ova a seed as well? What would be the appropriate distinctive uses of seminal and ovaial? You might not think it's an interesting side journey, but as I mentioned before....we love words.

For those that want a take-away lesson, grab the nearest set of building toys you can find. At turns, build your idea of seminal and ovaial and take pictures. Send the pictures to me along with your explanation for your sculpture. We'll post your ideas in our Digital Sandbox at