Postdictable, the commercials

by | Thursday, October 15, 2009

I had written earlier about the idea of “postdictable” which was defined as something that is “surprising initially, but then understandable with a bit of thought.” It lies at the spot between predictability and total chaos. The movie Sixth Sense is postdictable in the best sense of the world. Good teaching I believe needs to be postdictable. That is what keeps us engaged, keeps us waiting for more, the payoff as it were. And best of all, once all the pieces are in, we can’t wait to go back and review everything again, to see just how beautifully the whole thing holds together. There is a strong aesthetic component to this – a sense of wholeness, closure, elegance, and inevitability. Good poems have this quality, as do mathematical theorems. A well crafted lecture or a lesson plan has this quality as well. In my mind these ideas are closely tied to the Dewey’s idea of experience and to the idea of design. Hopefully I will have a chance to explore these connections in a later post but for now, here are a couple of commercials that I think were postdictable in a really cool kind of way.



Incidentally the Explore, Create & Share series of videos I made with my kids attempt to capture some of these same qualities!

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Academic novels

I have been reading Moo by Jane Smiley, off and on for a while now. It is a satire of academia set in a fictional Mid-western university called Moo U. It has been suggested that Moo U is a stand in for Iowa State, an university I know well since Smita went to school...

TPACK: A podcast

I just discovered a podcast about TPACK. The folks over at GenTech created a podcast back in September 2007. Check it out here or alternatively here. As they describe it, "In this episode of GenTech, the boys discuss the framework itself and how it may be used as a...

Evaluating creative learning environments: New instrument

Evaluating creative learning environments: New instrument

Note: There is a more recent, May 2023 post (Scaling up the SCALE instrument) that offers an update on other researchers who have utilized the instrument for their own research. Creativity is a key educational goal and essential 21st century skill. That said, much of...

Rethinking Little Red Riding Hood

Awesome retelling of the old tale... (h/t Steve Dembo @ teach42). Slagsmålsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo. As Steve says (you can read his full post here) such remixing can provide interesting opportunities for teachers, particularly given...

Oh the Irony!

Astrological Magazine to close due to "unforseen circumstances." What could be funnier than that! I am including the screenshot above just in case the website goes down.

Fact / Fiction, ambigram

Yesterday after I had posted my two latest ambigrams (see them here) I got a message on Facebook from my cousin Sonny (the one who composed the cool music for my Explore, Create videos) saying Big deal. I can make "fact" and "fiction" blur together till they are...

Bye bye textbooks, buy buy laptops

Reuters story titled Technology reshapes America's classrooms. Couple of quotes worth noting: "Why would we ever buy a book when we can buy a computer? Textbooks are often obsolete before they are even printed," said Debra Socia, principal of the school in Dorchester,...

TPACK newsletter #31,

TPACK newsletter #31,

The latest version of the TPACK newsletter (#31) can be found here December 2016 (pdf). All previous issues are archived here. A shout-out to Judi Harris for all the work that goes into this. As I had said in a previous post, based on Judi's...


Steve Jobs (1955 - 2011) To all of us who value creativity and design the passing of Steve Jobs is the passing of an era. I know my world changed when I first saw the Macintosh. I was a freshly minted electrical engineer who was trying to get out of engineering...


  1. Patrick Diemer

    Those videos were great but your explanation of how it relates to teaching was better. Please keep on posting!

    • Punya Mishra

      Thanks Patrick. You know you are an educator when you tend to see everything (and I mean everything) through the lens of teaching and/or learning.



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