Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thoughts/ Notes from TEDxDUMBO

As I mentioned earlier, TEDxDUMBO, the Empire State Partnership's Spring Symposium, was awesome. Below are a few key thoughts/ ideas that really resonated with me as I listened to the presentations (I wasn't joking when I told you I'm a note-taker).

Michael Hanson- Cognitive Psychologist, “The Concept of Creativity: Liberation and Challenge”

  • Creativity must be taken seriously
  • We need to do more Bastille- storming for the cause of arts in education, but we need more than a flag.
  • Education is how we acculturate students to our society.
  • Is creativity itself intrinsic and unique to some individuals, or is anyone creative given the right stimuli/ circumstance?
  • Creativity, by definition, is unpredictable- how does unpredictability fit into education?
  • Creativity is commonly thought of as the opposite of traditions/ cultural norms, rather than something that can work with and within existing norms.
  • Where is the line between confusion and creativity?
  • The idea that humans are capable of creating something from nothing (creatio ex nihilo) is relatively new- late 19thc, early 20thc; the previous belief was that people could make things, but only God could create
  • Creativity = an ensemble of ideas, values and people
  • The consciousness of being creative affections our perceptions of ourselves and our worlds, which affects behaviors, which affects what we create (cyclic)
  • “Think of creativity not in sentences, but in paragraphs.”
  • “Creativity= our idea for our times- It’s part of our tradition for understanding, engaging and managing change.”
  • The goal of education is to help our students figure out who to take up a role in society, but society is rapidly changing, and what it will look like in the future is unkown.

Sir Ken Robinson- TED TALK

  • Education goes deep with people- one’s educational experiences and history is deeply personal.
  • “Education is made to take us into a future we cannot grasp.”
  • “Creativity is as important in education as literacy.”
  • Kids aren’t afraid of being wrong until we teach them to fear mistakes
  • “All children are born artists; the problem is remaining an artist as one grows up.”-Picasso
  • Creativity is stigmatized in schools
  • We are living in times of academic inflation- a bachelor’s degree does NOT guarantee employment, and jobs that used to require a bachelor’s now want a master’s, and former master’s degree positions are looking for PhDs….
  • We think about the world in all the ways we experience it- all of these ways need to be incorporated into education
  • “Education has mined our minds”- like strip mining- for a specific commodity with little regard for the rest.

Garry Golden- Futurist

  • To predict and prepare for the future of education and arts, we must analyze the forces that push us forward as well as potential resistances.
  • The concept of lifelong learning is one that should be introduced to students while they’re still in school.
  • With the growing popularity of the “third place”, schools must figure out how to incorporate learning experiences that don’t feel like school and don’t feel like home

Gever Tulley- TED TALK

  • Founder of “The Tinkering School”- an outdoor educational experience that gives students tools and building materials and lets them figure out how to build things
  • The most important aspects of this model are the freedom to make mistakes, and the trust given to students to behave responsibly with building materials and not hurt each other.
  • Students often resort to decoration or art (without prompting) when they come across a snag or mental block in the design process- they begin to beautify the partially completed project, and most often come up with solutions to their problems while creating art.

Scott Conti-Principal- New Design High School

  • Schools are not preparing students for life
  • We need to start focusing on students as whole people and educating the whole person rather than just their intellect.
  • Students are emotional, social, intellectual and academic beings- you CANNOT compartmentalize them and only look at one of these aspects and expect them to flourish.
  • “It’s not rigor we need, it’s bigger”- we need bigger ideas about what it means to education children, rather than more rigorous academic standards.
  • As educators and artists, we need to be able to say that we’ve given our students the tools they need to be OK once they leave school.

Mark DeGarmo- Dance and Movement Expert

  • “Accessing Embodied Imagination: Broadening Experiential Learning”
  • Students need to be allowed to improvise- it’s an important step in developing problem solving skills.
  • Improvisation also strengthens interpersonal and environmental awareness- students are more aware of the people and things around them when they improvise.
  • Multi-modal reflection is key to meaningful learning

Dan Meyer- TED TALK

  • Our current educational system encourages students to be impatient problem solvers.
  • We ask students to solve problems after we give them all the information they’ll need to solve and provide them with a formula to make calculations quick and painless.
  • This type of problem solving does not reflect real-life problem solving, where all the variables and necessary information are frequently not known, there is additional useless information to filter through, and an obvious formula (or means of processing) is not provided.
  • We need to help students become more patient problem solvers, and part of this process is incorporating creativity.

Rene Cloutier- Principal- PS7x

  • We place extraordinary expectations on very young students.
  • From a very early age, students (especially in NYC) are interviewing and testing and being evaluated for acceptance to special schools and specific educational tracks.
  • We need to shift our focus away from the product and towards the process and the individual learner’s experience.
  • Children should know why they’re doing what they’re doing- it encourages big picture thinking.
  • We need to start teaching students to ask questions- we currently look at questions as a sign of stupidity or a lack of ability to comprehend topics, rather than a chance to explore or solidify material.
  • Arts are an invaluable opportunity for students to learn to communicate and make connections between their home and school lives and the world they live in.

Stephanie Pereira- Participatory Arts Administrator- Education Director at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center

  • Participatory arts are about guiding people towards their own experiences.
  • Using projects to encourage the public to engage in their communities and examine their relationship gives participatory arts a deep rooting.
  • Art is evolving to incorporate modern technology- as the ways in which we communication increase, so do their corresponding forms of art.

Derek Silvers- TED TALK

  • To begin, a movement needs three people; the lone nut, the first  follower, and the second follower.
  • The first follower is what turns a lone nut into a leader. The second follower turns the leader and the first  follower into a group.
  • As more people join in, being part of a movement seems less risky.
  • When creating a movement, it’s imperative to nurture your first few followers.

Philip Courtney- Executive Director of Urban Arts Partnership

  • Why are we here? To evolve, to help each other, and to enjoy ourselves.
  • Education is currently designed to manage risks- the safest and most fail-proof way to impart specific information to students.
  • Schools should be the MOST innovative places.