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.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7MVtgXMclI[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mTLO2F_ERY[/youtube]

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…

Math & Visual Wordplay: New video

Math & Visual Wordplay: New video

The word "math" written such that it has rotational symmetryi.e. it reads the same even when rotated by 180-degrees. The relationship between mathematics and visual wordplay is one I have played with and writing about for a while (More here). I just discovered...

iSad

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...

Discrimination in Academia: A personal experiment(?)

Try as we might to be open-minded the truth is that we all have biases. These biases can be subtle and insidious and it is rare that we get to confront them head on. A recent story that has been making the rounds on  NPR, InsideHigherEd, and The Washington Post about...

ChatGPT as a blurry jpeg of the web

ChatGPT as a blurry jpeg of the web

Ted Chiang is one of the greatest, insightful writers working today. I had written previously about one his short stories in a post titled: Truth of fact and feeling: Unpacking McLuhan (2/3) about his short story The truth of fact and the truth of feeling. (If you...

New ambigram: Nirvaan

My friend, Hartosh (I had written previously about his mathematical novel here ) and his wife Pam, recently had their second child, a baby boy. Since I had created an ambigram for the first guy (click here to see the ambigram for Nihal), I felt it was required of me...

TPACK & Microsoft’s Teacher Education Initiative

Over the past year or so I have been part of an exciting project conducted as part of Microsoft's Partner's in Learning project - specifically the team focusing on Higher Education. This is a project initiated by Microsoft "aimed at helping educators and students...

Plus ça change

Leigh Wolf forwarded me a link to a video commercial with the subject line saying "this is a very intriguing commercial." Of course I took a look at it right away and it was an ad for Kaplan U (on their website) ... and according to Smita it has been receiving TV time...

Math-Music, serious game design

My 8 year old daughter, Shreya, came to me the other day and said that she had designed a learning game. I asked her to draw it out for me and here is what she had created. The game is called Math Music and I guess, it builds on the Guitar Hero idea, but adds...

What do they know? Video projects on understanding

In my summer classes I have the participants complete a video assignment on understanding. This year as always my students worked in groups over a week-and-a-half to select their topics, develop interview protocols, video tape people as they answered their questions,...

2 Comments

  1. Patrick Diemer

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

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