Bridging the theory/practice gap: Ambigrams, quotes, posters & more…

May 25, 2016 § 2 Comments


Theoretically there should a reciprocal relationship between Theory and Practice – but it is the gap that every academic bemoans. This posting is prompted not by any particular insight into these matters but rather to share a set of visuals (ambigrams, memes, whatever…) that I created over the past day or so. This was prompted by a conversation about this with Danah Henriksen – so some blame / credit should go to her. (I prefer her getting the blame and all the credit coming to me, but she, and you, may disagree.)

To start with up on top is the standard image – the arrows representing how practice ought to inform theory and vice versa. As Immanuel Kant never said (but should have), “Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.” So to celebrate this reciprocal, transactional relationship here is an ambigram for these two words, reading “research” one way and “practice” when rotated 180 degrees!practice-theorytheory-practice

This of course allows me to recreate the two-arrow diagram up above with a new image that can be read even when rotated 180 degrees!! « Read the rest of this entry »

Handbook of TPACK for Educators, 2nd Edition

May 24, 2016 § Leave a comment


The TPACK framework, as we know it today, was first introduced to the world in 2006 in an article in TCRecord (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). An important part of the story of the success of the framework was the publication of The handbook of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) for educators by AACTE and Routledge. Matt and I wrote an introductory chapter for that (see Koehler & Mishra, 2008).

Over the past decade the amount of research into TPACK has grown exponentially… and so it was time for the 2nd edition of the handbook (citation and more information below).

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Rich TPACK Cases: Great Resource Book

May 24, 2016 § Leave a comment


The TPACK framework is a theoretical framework that seeks to influence practice. And most gratifyingly (for Matt Koehler and myself) it appears to have had a significant impact in that area. That said, the field lacked concrete, rich examples of TPACK in practice. Cases that would (quoting Darling-Hammond & Snyder) “add context to theory” highlighting the rich telling detail, as well as local contextual factors that are often lost when teaching is discussed in more general terms.

This gap has now been filled with a lovely ebook by my friends and colleagues Mark Hofer, Lynn Bell and Glen Bull. The Practitioner’s guide to technology pedagogy and content knowledge (TPACK): Rich media cases of teacher knowledge focuses on developing rich “exemplary” cases of practice, and boy does it deliver. Consider what is included in each of the cases included in the book:

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Systems view of creativity & an interview with Michele Root-Bernstein

May 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

Our series of articles related to the broad topic of Rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century in the journal TechTrends continues with two new articles. The first focuses on developing a systems view of creativity, specifically on how technology is opening up the world and changing systems of creativity.

Henriksen, D., & Hoelting, M. (2016). A Systems View of Creativity in a YouTube World. Tech Trends. (60)2. 102-106

The next article (reference and link below) makes a shift in our focus for the next few articles in the series. For the foreseeable future we will be focusing these articles on interviews with scholars and researchers on creativity. Through these interviews we seek to introduce their work and ideas to a wider population as well as connect their work to the themes we have been developing in this series so far. The first article in this new initiative is an interview with independent creativity scholar Michele Root-Bernstein.

Keenan, S., Mishra, P., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2016). Practicing the Process with Dr. Michele Root-BernsteinTech Trends (60)3, 200-203.


TPACK Newsletter #27, March 2016

May 18, 2016 § Leave a comment


TPACK Newsletter, Issue #27: March 2016
Special Spring 2016 Conference Issue

Below please find a listing of TPACK-related papers/sessions that will be presented at the SITE conference in March in Savannah, Georgia; at the AERA annual meeting in April in Washington, DC; and at the ISTE conference in June in Denver, Colorado. (That’s 66 TPACK-related conference sessions in just 3 months!)

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TPACK Newsletter #26, February 2016

May 18, 2016 § Leave a comment


TPACK Newsletter, Issue #26: February 2016

Welcome to the twenty-sixth edition of the (approximately bimonthly) TPACK Newsletter! TPACK work is continuing worldwide. This document contains recent updates to that work that we hope will be interesting and useful to you, our subscribers.

If you are not sure what TPACK is, please surf over to to find out more.

Gratuitous Quote About Knowledge

“Information is not knowledge.”
– Albert Einstein

In This Issue
-1. Gratuitous Quote About Technology
0. In This Issue (You are here.)
1. TPACK Newsletter Update
2. Recent TPACK Publications
3. Recent TPACK-Related Dissertations
4. Recent TPACK-Related Presentations
5. TPACK Newsletter Suggested Citation
6. Learning and Doing More with TPACK
–. Un-numbered miscellaneous stuff at the end

« Read the rest of this entry »

Good-Evil Ambigram in Pub Med!

February 11, 2016 § 1 Comment

My Good-Evil oscillation ambigram design is easily one of my most popular designs – having made it to multiple publications, websites, covers of magazines, on the TV Show Brain Gamesand now it has made its way into a medical research journal Frontiers of Physiology in an article on (of all things), cardiac remodeling. You can read the actual article on Pub Med (link and reference below). good-evil-cleanedup2-300x130

Spaich, S., Katus, H.A., Backs, J. (2015, July 22). Ongoing controversies surrounding cardiac remodeling: is it black and white-or rather fifty shades of gray? Frontiers in Physiology (6)202. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2015.00202.

And this is how they describe their reason for including this design.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Momentary Lapis Lazuli of Reason: Academia for better or verse

February 8, 2016 § Leave a comment


Graduate school can be a grind. Academia can be dull and dreary. But not if poetry and parody are brought into the mix. This is a volume of academic poetry titled Momentary Lapis Lazuli of Reason: Academia for better of verse. The poems in this volume are the collective creation of students and faculty in the EPET program at MSU, created over email and lunch breaks; during class meetings and grading assignments; between procrastinating on starting that class paper or finishing off that long over-due journal article. It is somewhat of a miracle that this book even exits.

We have stolen from the best, selecting some of the most famous and iconic examples of English language poetry and rewriting them from an academic and scholarly perspective. As we write in the introduction:

On these pages are adaptations of poems that will make Emily Dickinson lose hope and William Shakespeare think that there is something rotten in the state of academia. Edgar Allen Poe will scream “Nevermore” and Robert Frost will give his head a shake, to ask if there is some mistake. To take these wonderful poems and rewrite them—to use the most beautiful works of the English language to describe the shenanigans of graduate committees—seems almost a silly travesty. Maybe that was the point.

It has been a labor of fun, as we hope that you enjoy reading these poems as much as we enjoyed created them. You will also find, interspersed in between the poems, photographs taken by students and faculty, just in case you thought that all we could do is write bad poetry.

Deep-Play & the Engaged Scholar

February 5, 2016 § Leave a comment


The Engaged Scholar is a magazine published by MSU’s Office of University Outreach and Engagement with the goal of celebrating “Michigan State University’s ongoing partnership with Michigan, our nation, and our world.” I just got the 10th anniversary issue in the mail and was pleased to find an article about the MSU Museum and their collaborations with faculty across the university—with a specific mention of my exhibition (Deep-Play: Creativity in Math and Art through Visual Wordplay).  I don’t have a PDF of the article at this time but below is a photo of the spread – click to get a larger view.


Episteme6 @ Mumbai: 2 presentations

January 28, 2016 § Leave a comment


This past December I was at the epiSTEME 6 conference in Mumbai. It was jointly  organized by the Homi Bhaba Center for Science Education, TIFR and the Interdisciplinary Program in Educational Technology, IIT Bombay. I presented two papers there, oneabout the work being done by the Deep-Play group in the area of aesthetics and learning in the STEM disciplines and the other on the work we are doing with MSUrbanSTEM in Chicago.

The slides and papers from the proceedings for both these talks can be found below…

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The Deep-Play Group & our robotic overlords

January 20, 2016 § 1 Comment

The Deep-Play research group started as an informal group of faculty and graduate students at Michigan State University, mostly my advisees. It has now grown to include Arizona State University and a couple of people there. Of course my advisees include doctoral students who are in the face to face program as well as those in the hybrid PhD program.

What this means is that conducting shared meetings is challenging at many levels (scheduling, engaging in discussion one-on-one or one-to-many and so on). We have over time tried a variety of solutions—skype, zoom and now robots!

The CEPSE/COE Design Studio at  just created a video about the use of these robots by our research group. You can see it here. Enjoy.

YouTube Preview Image

Creativity in mathematics and beyond: New article

January 17, 2016 § Leave a comment


Our series of articles related to the broad topic of Rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century in the journal TechTrends continues with a new article on creativity in mathematics. This article focuses on the 4 winners of the 2014 Fields medal (one of the highest honors in mathematics and a recognition from one’s peers of highly influential and creative work).  Complete reference and link below:

Mehta, R., Mishra, P., & Henriksen, D., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2016). Creativity in mathematics and beyond — Learning from Fields medal winners. Tech Trends (59)7

Happy 2016, New Video

December 31, 2015 § 2 Comments

Since 2009, our family has been creating videos to welcome the new year. The videos are typically typographical in nature, sometimes including a visual illusion or some kind or the other. So as usual, we have a video for welcome 2016. Shot on our dining table, with a budget of four dollars, this video was, as they all have been, great fun to create. Raise the volume of your device to max, click to make the video full-screen and hit play! Enjoy.

Transformation: Happy 2016
From Shreya, Soham, Smita & Punya


Videos from years past

Here are links to the videos from the previous years (along with some other videos made as a family):

Henriksen & Mishra is one of most popular articles of 2015

December 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

Our recent article in TCRecord on how exemplary teachers incorporate creativity in their teaching (Henriksen & Mishra, 2015) was listed as one of the most popular articles of 2015! You can access the article by clicking the link above and, for the record, see a screen shot of the TCRecord home page below…


E-Leadership & Teacher Development: New article

December 13, 2015 § Leave a comment



Mishra, P., Henriksen, D., Boltz, L. O., Richardson, C. (2015). E-Leadership and Teacher Development Using ICT. In R. Huang; Kinshuk; J. K. Price (Eds.). ICT in Education in Global Context: Comparative Reports of Innovations in K-12 Education. Berlin: Springer. pp. 249-266.

Abstract: In this chapter, we develop a definition of e-leadership that extends from the business sector to encompass educational contexts. We describe schools as complex ecologies and dynamic organizations that require a change in both traditional forms of leadership and more recent ICT use. We use the RAT (Replace, Amplify, Transform) framework to explain the varying degrees to which ICT has been used in business and education and relate this model to the research in e-leadership. It is through the purposeful, transformational use of ICT and the meaningful development of multiple kinds of knowledge that those in charge of teacher education and growth can use ICT to develop a new kind of teacher leader.

Happy Thanksgiving, 2 new ambigrams

November 26, 2015 § 1 Comment

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I wake up every day just feeling incredibly lucky for what I have – and to have a special day devoted to celebrating that idea… how very cool.

So here are two new and unique ambigram designs to celebrate this wonderful day. The first is a free standing rotational ambigram and the other is a chain ambigram where “thanks” and “giving” map onto themselves. Enjoy

thanksgiving2 thanksgiving

TPACK Newsletter #25, October 2015

November 17, 2015 § Leave a comment


TPACK Newsletter, Issue #25: October 2015 (Updated)

Welcome to the twenty-fifth edition of the (approximately bimonthly) TPACK Newsletter! TPACK work is continuing worldwide. This document contains recent updates to that work that we hope will be interesting and useful to you, our subscribers.

[Editors’ note: This document is an update to a previously distributed version of issue #25. Please delete the earlier document and accept our apologies for the second distribution.]

If you are not sure what TPACK is, please surf over to to find out more.

Gratuitous Quote About Technology

“Technology is a word that describes something that doesn’t work yet.”
–Douglas Adams

In This Issue

-1. Gratuitous Quote About Technology
0. In This Issue (You are here.)
1. TPACK Newsletter Update
2. Recent TPACK Publications
3. Recent TPACK-Related Dissertations
4. Recent TPACK-Related Presentations
5. Request for TPACK-Related Research Participation
6. Call for TPACK-Related Manuscripts
7. TPACK Newsletter Suggested Citation
8. Learning and Doing More with TPACK
–. Un-numbered miscellaneous stuff at the end « Read the rest of this entry »

Beirut, Nairobi, Paris

November 15, 2015 § Leave a comment


After I had posted my “Paris, City of Love” design on FB, my friend Pilar Quezzaire posted on my wall the following question:

What about Beirut and Nairobi, Punya? Can you make one for them as well?

In another posting she linked to the website  and a quick glance through it shows just how much conflict there is in the world today – and how much of it we ignore (until something happens that hits closer to home).

I felt the sting of Pilar’s criticism and got to work. My first response was to create ambigrams for each of these cities names (Nairobi and Beirut – two sites that recently were hit with terrible, violent events) but that seemed inadequate, compared at least to the “Paris, City of Love” design.

So hence the design above.

Of course, one never stops at one solutions (variations on a theme being the crux of creativity) …

« Read the rest of this entry »

Paris City of Love

November 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

Paris has been on my mind for the last 24 hours (as it has been for many others around the world). I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to spend some time in the city – and Paris is one of my favorite places in the world.

parisParis, anyway you look at it
(a new 180 degree rotationally symmetric ambigram)

The events of Friday the 13th, 2015 have troubled me deeply. I wanted to create something that would capture my feelings towards Paris. Here is a new design, created specially for the City of Love.


Paris, city of Love (new ambigram) – where Paris becomes Love
and vice versa upon rotation by 180 degrees.


Friday the 13th

November 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

A design for Friday the 13th (shamelessly building on an original idea from Nikita Prokhorov) friday13


Happy Diwali

November 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Happy Diwali!


Reflect on it 🙂

EduSummIT 2015: Summary Report

November 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

EDUsummIT 2015 (International Summit on ICT in Education) is a global knowledge building community of researchers, educational practitioners, and policy makers committed to supporting the effective integration of research and practice in the field of ICT in education. EDUsummIT 2015 was co-­hosted by UNESCO Bangkok and Curtin University, and sponsored by Blackboard. The theme of EDUsummIT 2015, Technology Advanced Quality Learning For All. Nine thematic working groups (TWG) were formed in the beginning of 2015. These groups included:

  • TWG1: Smart partnerships
  • TWG2: Advancing mobile learning in formal and informal settings
  • TWG3: Professional development for policy makers, school leaders and teachers
  • TWG4: Addressing gaps and promoting educational equity
  • TWG5: Assessment as, for, and of learning in the 21st century
  • TWG6: Creativity in a technology enhanced curriculum
  • TWG7: Indicators of quality technology-­enhanced teaching and learning
  • TWG8: Digital citizenship and cyberwellness
  • TWG9: Curriculum -­advancing understanding of the roles of CS/Informatics in the curriculum

In the following TWG reports, each group has summarized the background and context of its theme of study, the issues and challenges, recommendations they proposed to researchers, policy makers and educational practitioners, and the action plan to move forward. <This blog post is a lightly edited version from the introduction by Kwok?Wing Lai, University of Otago College of Education, New Zealand>.  Enjoy.

Does the Internet mean that knowledge is obsolete? Quoted in Wired story

November 5, 2015 § Leave a comment


I was recently interviewed by Wired magazine for a story about Sugata Mitra’s (of Hole in the Wall fame) experiments with minimally invasive learning, or more recently what are called SOLE (Self Organized Learning Environment) classrooms / schools. I have been skeptical of the Hole in the Wall work and though there is much I agree with the SOLE concept (focus on big open-ended questions, student autonomy etc.) there is also a lot I disagree with. More specifically, in my interview I took exception to the idea that in todays classroom’s and with the availability of the internet, “knowledge is obsolete.” To be honest that is a really dumb idea—to think that knowledge is merely looking up and connecting facts together without broader theoretical frameworks and without serious intellectual work. Some of what I talked about with the author of the piece (and it was a great conversation where we covered a lot of ground) ended up in the article. There is so much more to say or write about this but for now you can read the entire article and what I had to say about that idea by going here: In this classroom, knowledge is overrated


Design at Apple (a his-story)

November 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Fast Company has compiled an oral-history of design at Apple. It did so through interviews with many of the key players in Apple’s history. It is a his-story because, though there are some women who show up… the main narrative is about guys, Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ives and many others.


This is a series worth pursuing in full – if not for anything else but to be inspired. Apple through its, “dogmatic, beautiful, striving for perfection, that chasing for the last millimeter” managed to drive “the world of design to a completely new level.” Enjoy.

WHY: The most important question of all

November 2, 2015 § 3 Comments

Why do anything at all?

This blog post is a collection of videos and images that I have collected over time that speak to the pointlessness of trying to find an answer to this question and how one question, even if answered, leads to many more. This is the kind of stuff that brings together Feynman, xkcd, Louis CK, and some brilliant animation all on one page. Enjoy.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Empathy through gaming: New article

November 2, 2015 § Leave a comment


Over the past couple of years my research team (the Deep-Play Research group) and I have been writing an on-going series of articles  around the broad topic of Rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century. Published in the journal TechTrends, these articles have been great fun to write, providing us the freedom to think deeply about these issues and, most importantly, put our ideas in words, and share them with the wider world. The latest article just came out. Complete reference and link below:

Boltz, L. O., Henriksen, D., Mishra, P., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2015). Empathy through gaming—Perspective taking in a complex worldTechTrends (59) , p. 3-8.

empathy_design (1)


Ambigrams & Math: In one embeddable ebook

October 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Over the past two years Gaurav Bhatnagar and I have written five columns for the Math education journal At Right Angles  on the topics of mathematics and visual wordplay, specifically Ambigrams. In this five articles we have explored everything from symmetry to self-similarity, fractals to paradoxes. I have posted these articles on this website as they have been published (see here for the latest), but I finally decided to put them all together in one document for easier access. You can access the PDF here or read them all on this site as an embeddable document (see below).

MSU Fight Song: MAET style

August 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

The summer of 2015, there were 133 students and instructors in the hybrid and overseas components of the MAET program. These people were spread out across three locations: East Lansing, MI (with 2 cohorts, Yr1 and 2 of MAET); Chicago, IL (with 2 cohorts of the MSUrbanSTEM program) and  Galway, Ireland (with 3 cohorts, Yr1, 2 & 3).

2015 also happens to be the 100th anniversary of the MSU Fight Song.

It should come as no surprise that something interesting was going to emerge from this confluence of events and people.

So here it is. The MSU Fight Song: MAET style. 133 creators, and one awesome video. (A special thanks to Christina Lovell for weaving her editing magic in stitching the images together in perfect synchrony with the music).


Ed Psych in a digitally networked world: APA handbook chapter

August 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

edpsyFigure/Ground ambigram for
Educational Psychology by Punya Mishra

It has been a while coming, but finally the 3rd Edition of the Handbook of Educational Psychology is finally here. We have a chapter in it about the manner in which digital and networking technologies are changing the work that educational psychologists do. Reference and link below. Enjoy.

Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J., & Greenhow, C. (2015). The work of educational psychologists in a digitally networked world. In L. Corno & E. M. Anderman (Eds.) Handbook of Educational Psychology (3rd edition). (pp. 29-40). New York: Routledge.

Synthesis: A creative cognitive tool (2 articles)

August 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Over the past couple of years my research team (the Deep-Play Research group) and I have been writing an on-going series of articles  about rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century. Published in the journal TechTrends, these articles have been great fun to write, providing us the freedom to think deeply about these issues and, most importantly, put our ideas in words, and share them with the wider world. The last few have focused on transdisciplinary habits of mind that are essential for creativity. Our previous articles have looked at PerceivingPatterning, Abstracting, Modeling and Play. 

The next two articles (listed below) have focused on Synthesis. These two articles are co-authored with different colleagues, but manage to provide complementary visions of the idea. Here are the two latest articles (a complete list can be found here):

  1. Henrkisen, D., DeSchryver, M., Mishra, P. & the Deep-Play Research Group (in press). Transform and transcend: Synthesis as a trans-disciplinary approach to thinking and learningTech Trends (59)4.
  2. Lee, J., Hicks, D., Henriksen, D., & Mishra, P. (2015). Historical soundscapes for creative synthesis. Tech Trends (59)5. 4-8.
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