Design and creative repurposing: Thinking about Ed Tech

by | Saturday, July 11, 2009

One minute design ideas…

I had posted something similar here (from Bic to vase).

There is something deeper here than just cool design ideas though. What this video highlights is improvisation, creativity and a sense of play to repurpose artifacts for purposes other than what they had been designed for. In fact some of these designs find a use for what most of us would regard as trash.

It is this creative repurposing that is critical in this new world of teaching and technology (Technology Integration 2.0 and the TPACK framework). Teachers often look for the perfect technological solution to pedagogical problems they face. The fact is that there is no such perfect solution. In fact I argue that there is nothing like an educational technologies. Most technologies we regard as being educational in nature were not designed for this purpose. And yet, everything from a Excel spreadsheet to a Wiki; a GPS device to Audacity can serve as an educational technology, if appropriately repurposed! The sooner teachers realize that we live in a world where nothing is an educational technology…. and yet, everything has the potential to be. the better if will for all.

Scott McCloud over at Dangerously Irrelevant in his most recent post asks “Are our training efforts helping educators or enabling codependence?” This is a great question and one that all teacher educators with an interest in technology need to confront. I have always struggled with this – and varying levels of success in my own teaching (and in the MAET program I now direct). As he suggests what is needed is to develop a “willingness to probe, investigate, and experiment … [to] learn and master the tools.

It seems to me that videos such as this one highlight exactly the kind of free-form creativity we need to encourage in teachers: the ability to see a side-table in an old magazine, and a vase in a bic pen. It is only through similar creative repurposing that technologies can become educational technologies.

P.S. A key aspect of creative repurposing has to do with looking at the world with new eyes! Check out this movie titled SURFACE or Veja Du assignment on this very site.

A few randomly selected blog posts…

APA & Torture

I had written previously (here and here) about the American Psychological Association's long connection with torture and other coercive information gathering techniques. I am still bothered by it. Today's NYTimes has a op-ed by Stanley Fish (titled Psychology and...

Sketches of life

I have had a Wacom tablet for a while now but haven't really gotten down to playing with it... till a couple of days ago. I started with rough drawings / sketches of friends and family. Take a look and let me know what you think.... You can click on the images to see...

SET conference: Mid-morning session

The next session State of ET in India Today and was led by fellow BITSian Manas Chakrabarti (now an independent consultant). He led an panel of teachers who have been using technology in their teaching. What was interesting was the manner in which corporate interests...

Understanding student engagement

I had posted recently about a Gallup poll on student engagement. Essentially the poll showed that student engagement dropped precipitously (though as I wrote, not as starkly as their graph indicated) as students moved from elementary to high school. My friend, Gaurav...

Plagiarism, update II

Just heard back from Innovation Tools. They are changing the status of the articles by Dr. Jiles to "not visible" till, as they say, "the matter is settled." It is not clear to me what "settled" means. I doubt that David Jiles Ph.D. is emailing me (or anybody else)...

Tasteless and offensive

Checking up on urban legends leads to tasteless and offensive error message. I recently received a forwarded email from a friend that listed a bunch of top-notch, companies that were filing for bankruptcy. The list included Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Circuit City,...

Phoenix rising

Mark Ambinder at the Politics blog at the Atlantic President Obama plans to name Howard A. Schmidt, a veteran cyber security warrior with experience at senior levels of government and industry, to fill a long-anticipated cyber coordinator position at the National...

Why teachers should care about beauty in science

Why teachers should care about beauty in science

Figure 1. “We are a way for the universe to know itself” - Carl SaganScience is one of the most powerful ways to engage with the beauty of the universe.We use science to understand the cosmos and, in the process,find beauty in our understandings and...

ABC-Triplet Ambigram

I am currently teaching a course on Creativity in Teaching & Learning and as a part of that I was searching for an interesting image to highlight a note I was posting to the class. I wanted an image that represented, in some cool manner, the multi-dimensionality...

1 Comment

  1. Scott McLeod

    Thanks for the link, Punya. As usual, another thought-provoking post from you. Keep it up! =)

    Reply

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