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Posts Tagged ‘creativity

Thanks to YouTube’s algorithms, I discovered a talented musician named Andrew Huang.

This is the original 24K Magic music video by Bruno Mars.


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This is Andrew Huang’s take on the same song with carrots as instruments.


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His creativity stemmed from a challenge to recreate the song about 24 carats with 24 carrots.

There is much more of Huang’s work. The videos below are Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd and Huang’s version using instruments at his dentist’s office.


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This creative expression could have been a combination of making the ordinary less so and learning from a painful experience. You might not feel your face after receiving numbing agents from a dentist.

Huang is undoubtedly talented and we might pick up lessons on creativity. Creativity often:

  • originates from a challenge.
  • emerges from the mundane.
  • is a different way of looking at the same problem.

Creativity might also include being able to see useful links between different domains, e.g., entertainment and education, or personal and professional. 

What would prompt Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, to weigh in on Pepsi? It was an advertisement so ill-conceived and reviled that the company had to withdraw it [NYT] [Wired].

Stephen Colbert gave this withering but humorous critique of the ad (click here for the segment).
 

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It would be easy to accuse Colbert of being mean because he was making fun of the company in the name of entertainment. However, such critiques are deeper and more important than we might think.
 

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Vox unpacked what Colbert and others do: They inform in an easy to digest manner and they leverage on not being neutral.

While proper news channels might try to report just the black or white facts, we recognise today that most issues are subjective and nuanced greys.

Satirists use fun and laughter, and in doing so, disarm their audiences and combine emotion with logic. They inform and educate in ways that not many teachers have been taught or believe in.

They embrace subjectivity and make a stand. They combine creativity with critical thought. They call bullshit when they see it.

The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something. -- Jon Stewart.

I have caught up with my backlog of image quotes. This is the last one I prepared way in advance.
 

I started with Haiku Deck and moved to Google Slides as the latter afforded more precise text placements.

My Google Slide-based quotes are in this online album. The ones in Haiku Deck are here.

I have shared the image quotes under CC license because the images were originally under a CC license.
 

I am not sure if I will make more even though I still have a collection of unused quotes.

I am not sure if I can stop myself either.

Poll ten people on what “innovation” means and you will likely get ten different answers. You might also see some patterns emerge.

Here are two common responses to what innovation is: 1) doing things differently, and 2) doing the same things differently.

I agree with the first notion, but I think that the second is flawed. If you are doing the same things, how can you call it different?

In a few seminars, I have showcased examples of how people have used the show-and-tell method over time: Cavemen drawing on cave walls, lecturers on blackboards, instructors with overhead projectors, teachers with PowerPoint and “interactive” white boards.

Is doing the same thing differently all that innovative? How can it be when the medium has changed and the method has not?
 

 
Consider another example.

My son’s school has a “no homework on Mondays” policy. There are caveats in this practice, but I shall not waste words on them.

By force of habit, I asked my son on a Monday if he had homework. Before I could take my question back, my son replied that he had. A teacher gave the class homework on Monday and told students that it was due on Wednesday.

Technically a child could wait till Tuesday to do the homework. But even a child knows that Tuesday will bring even more homework that they will have to add to an already full plate.

Doing the same thing (dishing out homework) differently (giving it a different due date) is not innovative. It is a creative response to staying ahead in the curricular race, but it is a selfish one. It does not benefit the child, it does not change practice, and it works against the movement to try something new.

Part of the Twitterverse seems to have fallen in love with the fixed vs growth mindset debate. @gcouros suggests we adopt an innovator’s mindset. I agree. But only if innovation is about doing things differently, not doing the same things differently.

I am a fan of Yong Zhao because he is not afraid to speak plainly. This is one of my favourite quotes from him because it is both funny and true.

Haiku Deck was experiencing problems when I wanted to create this image quote, so I went back to the ever reliable Google Slides. I simply layered text over a greyscaled version of the original photo below.
 

When the papers and MOE announced that students and teachers would receive free LEGO sets for SG50, those who cared cheered.

Others saw an opportunity to make money off the sets knowing that there were AFOLs (adult fans of LEGO) and other LEGO fans who would pay a tidy sum for the sets. Perhaps these fans do not realize that they can buy the sets after National Day or they cannot wait till August. The sale of the sets prompted the Minister for Education to urge recipients to treasure the sets.

My wife, who is a teacher, received her set before my son did. But that did not stop him from opening the set and building the Cavenagh Bridge. He also used his own spare parts to complete the Changi Airport control tower because each set does not contain enough parts to build all three.

Being the avid reader that he is, my son examined the booklet that accompanied the set. He was critical of this page.

His complaint was this: According to this page and his age, he should only build a Level 1 structure even though he is capable of a Level 3 structure and improvising.

My son is well aware that these are only guidelines and that practically all LEGO sets have age recommendations. But he has a point. Does having these guidelines create creative barriers? Does having instructions to build a certain way with set objectives stifle imagination?

Most educators who use LEGO know that it helps to start with structure and build towards freestyling. But kids already know how to build from their imaginations. It is adults that make rules and create barriers, and not all of them make sense.

The adults who were inspired to make the LEGO sets an SG50 present had a wonderful idea about soft selling the building of Singapore. It must have cost a sizeable chunk of taxpayer money, but I doubt many will question if it was money well spent.

But here is a free and more important lesson. We should be learning from kids how not to limit imaginations with levels or objectives. If they are to build their future, we should not restrict them to our past.


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This might be the first time I have heard creativity defined as the “conspiracy of craziness”. 

How do we get this creative conspiracy? By having “ridiculous optimism”.

Tune in to this TEDx talk by Kermit to fill in the blanks. 


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