Changing Learning through Critical Thinking and Technology
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  • Post-Classical

    Posted on June 10th, 2011 John No comments

    As we think about the possible future(s) of art music, it is nice to hear how far creativity can go. This is a trombonist with a plunger taking on one of Schubert’s most compelling works. It has elicited no neutral comments.

    Listen with enough bass to pick up the 6 bull fiddles who are accompanying.

    Update: The original video seems to have been taken down. This is a new version.

  • Shoot Miniscule Street Art in Macro! – From Photojojo

    Posted on November 30th, 2010 John 1 comment

    Let’s all go get small!

    Some street artists think they’re sooo hot just because their work is billboard-size big.

    Well, we say Banksy is an overgrown dinosaur. Twist is a hulking mammoth. Even Phil Lumbang sometimes acts like he thinks size matters.

    Tiny is where it’s at.

    Our new fave Slinkachu’s street art is tiny. How tiny? Put it this way: the guy graffiti tags snails.

    After making a teeny tableaux of itty-bitty model people, he leaves them on the street for anybody to find. But first he takes rad macro photos so the wee little scene is never really lost.

    Wanna try it yourself? Snag some little plastic people at the local hobby shop and slap a macro lens on your camera or camera phone.

    If you prefer staying indoors, photograph tiny people in clever food-scapes, like Mini Miam did. Now all you need is a tag name!

    The Tiniest Street Art Around

    p.s. Happy Cyber Monday kiddos! We’re giving everyone $5 for sharing their store favorites. Head to the shop for more tidbits.

    p.p.s. Oh! Did you know that shipping is free on orders over $50? Cause yeah, it is.

    Related posts:

    1. How to Shoot Impromptu Street Portraits
    2. How To Make Macro Photos Without Buying An Expensive Macro Lens!
    3. Low-Fi Street Lenticulars = Photo Inspiration in Street Art

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  • Schools and Creativity

    Posted on April 21st, 2009 John No comments

    If there is one thing the schools do not do well it is prepare students for novel situations. Their plight is understandable; schools must educate a wide variety of students on little money with relatively small staffs. They are under pressure from society to do not only a good job but prove empirically that they are succeeding. Criteria for success are set by government agencies; No Child Left Behind on the Federal Level and, in Virginia where I live, Standards of Learning (SOL’s) which are in many ways more restrictive than the national standards. Schools are accredited, and must cover certain amounts of material. They may be neither too lenient (witness the illiterate high school graduate concern), nor so strict that no one graduates (thus no meeting their government quotas). In a system such as this things inevitably are reduced to “fill in the blanks” kinds of learning. The questions are measurable and the outcomes are defined. These are methods that are the exact opposite of what a creative education needs. Or a education for the 20th century.

    Creativity is not an objectively measurable commodity. In spite of Thorndike’s famous statement that all that exists can be measure, there is no reliable way to “grade” a student’s creativity without descending to the absurd. Ellen Longenman once summed up the history of education in America as “Thorndike Won and Dewey Lost.” Dewey, in his way, saw the role of schools to be primarily the creation of a child that is generative and self-sufficient, while Thorndike’s legacy is more aimed at transferring measured quantities of knowledge. Now I do not want to get into that popular game of creating the objectivist “straw man” that so often is a feature of educational critique. Thorndike was concerned with measures, and a grade-based system is prejudiced toward them. Dewey, on the other hand, saw a more fluid educational system.

    The basic point is that our system of school does not naturally seek to enhance creativity. It is taught, but only by dedicated teachers working under the radar in subjects that are not valued like the arts, language, even sports. Topics such as math, science and reading are vital, and so the system sort of “clutches” on something it can measure.