Jonah Lehrer on Creativity

Summer break is over, so it will be a while before I get the time to lounge by the pool again. However, this year my pool-side lounging was extra special as it was accompanied by reading one of the most stimulating and enjoyable books I’ve come across in a long time: “Imagine: How Creativity Works” by Jonah Lehrer:

Imagine – Book Review

Lehrer’s writing style is really entertaining, as well as highly thought-provoking. With good reason, the book left me with many questions, thoughts and reflections on how our education system might support the development of creativity schools to a greater extent.

By way of a flavour of Lehrer’s writing, here are 3 enjoyable articles that touch on elements in the book:

The first from Wired, looks at what data and evidence says should be important in pre-school learning and what happens when it comes in to conflict with ambitious parents:

Wired Article on Play

The second is a fascinating exploration in to the life of a person with Asperger’s Syndrome. In this case, Clay Marzo, one of the world’s greatest surfers:

Outside Online Article – Clay Marzo

The third and final piece looks at some amazingly creative work in the field of sports medicine that has already been attracting the attention of some of the world’s top athletes:

Grantland Article – Kobe Bryant

I thoroughly recommend the book, even if you have to read it during monsoon showers (we can hope!) instead of by a pool.

Can Character be Taught?

Here’s a really interesting conference discussion video from the Aspen Institute, USA as part of the Aspen Ideas festival. It brings together a group of educators who have been doing work on how to bring aspects of Positive Psychology propagated by the likes of Dr Martin Seligman (University of Pennsylvania) and others in to the schools domain;

Fora TV – Can Character be Taught?

To me it’s not actually a question about whether such skills and habits can be taught, but more that educators should be exploring the best ways to build the development of these non-cognitive skills in to the school learning experience for every child. I have been concerned for some time that the ‘cult of the personality’ and over-attention on personality, uniqueness and ‘standing out’ have been at the expense of fundamental character development. I believe that these character traits form the bedrock without which personality development will always be fragile, flimsy and prone to failure when faced with challenges in life.

Where Did Aakash Go?

Here’s an article from Fast Company that sets out to shed some light on the current state of play regarding the Aakash tablet.

Fast Company Article

One can criticize the article for being a little too tongue in cheek and belittling, but if the content is even partially true then this is a monumental disappointment, especially after hopes were raised so high. That some people believed that the objectives of this project SHOULD have been achievable is not wholly unreasonable. However, the questions will need to be asked about why such objectives proved so unattainable as well as questioning the wisdom of setting up such high public expectations when so much was still in doubt.

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