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Home of CELLS alive!

A visual tour of cells, bacteria, viruses and their interaction with one another.
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Content, images, animations, videos all about cells.

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How Technology Enhances Creativity

How Technology Enhances Creativity | Science Education Support | Scoop.it

The truth is that by expanding possibilities and automating part of the creative process, we can all be more creative and productive. In a virtual world of infinite abundance, only creativity could ever be in short supply.---------------

 

I recently wrote a post about how marketers will need to learn to rely less on judgment and intuition in the era of big data.  It’s a controversial subject, especially since many marketers pride themselves, in fact have built their careers, on having a reputation for instinct.

So I expected a certain amount of pushback, but instead many people seemed to think that I was arguing that technology was diminishing the need for creativity in marketing.  This is clearly not the case.  So let me set the record straight.

Technology does not quell creativity, in fact, there’s a great deal of evidence that suggests that technology enhances creativity.  Certainly, we are expected to be more creative in our working lives than a generation ago.  The truth is that by expanding possibilities and automating part of the creative process, we can all be more creative and productive.

Defining The Creative Process

While many like to think of creativity as a mysterious process, researchers generally agree that there are clear principles at work, such as a lucid formulation of the problem, knowledge and practice in a particular field, crossing domains and persistence.

 

 

1. Forming intent: Every creative act starts with a purpose.  Whether it is a marketer trying to solve for a particular business objective, a designer working with a specific brief or an artist looking to express a distinct idea or emotion.  It is through forming intent that we create the constraints under which creativity thrives.

The process of forming intent is inherently human. There are some things that machines will never do: they will never strike out at a little league game, fall in love, have their heart broken or raise a family.  It is out of human experience that our wants and desires arise.

2. Searching The Domain:  All great artists—or for that matter, anybody who is good at anything—are students of their craft.  By thoroughly examining their domain, they become aware of a variety of techniques, alternative approaches and different philosophies.  The larger the creative toolbox, the greater the possibility for creative excellence.

One particularly famous and well studied example of the benefits of searching the domain is Picasso’s encounter with African art that led him to pioneercubism and marked a turning point in his career. His later work, combining aspects of both European and African style, set a new course for the art world.

3. Tangling Hierarchies: Truly revolutionary creative acts come from synthesizing across domains, as Picasso did with African and European art or Darwin did by combining insights from economics, geology and biology to come up with his theory of natural selection.

The idea of combination comes up prominently in research into the psychology of creativity, such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s discussion ofcreative flow and Douglas Hofstadter’s concept of strange loops.  Innovation is largely the art of combination.

Technology Eradicates Barriers To Creative Excellence

Luck and chance have always played a role in creativity.  What if Picasso had not wandered into that African art exhibition or Darwin not taken the voyage on The Beagle?  These happy accidents are interesting and exciting, but luck is not a strategy.  In fact, history is full of examples of missed opportunities because of deficiencies of information.

Darwin’s theory remained incomplete for half a century, because he was not able to specify a mechanism by which traits were inherited. Ironically, his contemporary, Gregor Mendel, had discovered the principles of genetics shortly after Darwin published his famous work, but they remained completely unaware of each other for their entire lifetimes.

Clearly, technology has transformed human experience.  We are no longer separated by time and space, but are largely working off of the same massive database.  The sum total of human knowledge is merely a few clicks away. Domains are no longer hidden behind barriers of circumstance or tradition, but are accessible to anyone with a search engine.

And it is not just information that has become accessible, but personal contact. Whether through social media or web video conferences or MOOC’s, it’s far easier to people to meet and collaborate than ever before in human history. Searching the domain is no longer a matter of chance.  Technology and automation have streamlined the process.

Mixing And Remixing

There is a fundamental difference between knowledge and information. Knowledge is personal.  I might know how to play the piano or how to get to the store, but transferring that knowledge to another is a cumbersome affair. It’s difficult to explain things exactly as we experience them and the person on the other side won’t take it all in with perfect fidelity.

Information, on the other hand, is a storable, fungible entity.  We can store and transfer it with any level of accuracy we choose, which makes it easy to combine with other information.  In fact, it’s become so easy to combine ideas through information that we’ve come to think of mashups as banal and trite.

That’s because combining ideas no longer takes any particular skill.  Like searching domains, the process has become so completely automated that it ceases to be associated with personal expression.  Devoid of toil and labor, it requires negligible specific intent.

Simulating Failure

The ugly truth is that most creative acts are failures, which is why, as Robert Weisberg points out in his book Creativity, outstanding creative work is tightly linked to prolific output.  The more work we produce, the more great work we produce.  The problem is that it’s often hard to separate the good from the bad.

Malcolm Gladwell illustrated in David and Goliath how this can create serious difficulties.  Even geniuses like Monet and Renoir found it difficult to stand out when they only had one or two paintings among the thousands at Paris’s famous Salon exhibition and only gained traction when they created their own show where they could display more works.

Clearly, failure in the analog world was expensive, tiresome and frustrating. But in the digital world, we can simulate failure cheaply and easily.  From CAD software to 3D printers, A/B testing to agent based models, technology lets usexperiment in the world of bits before we invest resources in the world of atoms.

And that’s how technology enhances creativity, it drastically reduces the cost of actualizing our intent.  We can search domains, mix and match ideas and test concepts almost effortlessly.  That means we can try out a lot more possibilities and increase the chances of producing something truly outstanding.

The Rise of the Creative Class

Probably the strongest sign that technology enhances creativity is that, asRichard Florida argues in The Rise Of The Creative Class, creativity is becoming an intrinsic part of working life.  The man in the gray flannel suit has been replaced by the hipster with spiky hair and tattoos.

As we become a more technological society, we also become a more creative society, because many of the rote tasks that used to take up a lot of our time and effort have become automated.  What’s more, technology increases our potential to engage in the types of experiences that lead to greater creativity.

Certainly today, exposure to African art is not rare or difficult to obtain.  A modern day Darwin wouldn’t need to embark on a five year voyage to inspect the finches of the Galapagos, an internet connection or a plane ticket would do.  He could also model his suspicions by computer, shortening the gap between hypothesis and theory.

The fact that everyone has access to a wealth and diversity of ideas and the means to actualize intent means that we all can be more creative.  As Jaron Lanier put it, “in a virtual world of infinite abundance, only creativity could ever be in short supply.”


Via Dr. Gordon Dahlby
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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, February 4, 7:01 AM

Technology cn give wings to thoughts.

Bailey White's curator insight, February 4, 8:53 AM

Interesting to see leaders 

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Understanding Science

Understanding Science | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
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Socratic Dialogues using whiteboards

Socratic Dialogues using whiteboards | Science Education Support | Scoop.it

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Chemistry PowerPoint Lessons, Handouts, Labs, and Worksheets

High school chemistry for teachers and students - Entire 11th grade course - Including labs, worksheets, handouts, notes, and PowerPoint lessons.
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www.chem.iastate.edu/group/Greenbowe/sections/projectfolder/simDownload/index4.html - Similar Sites and Reviews | Xmarks

www.chem.iastate.edu/group/Greenbowe/sections/projectfolder/simDownload/index4.html - Similar Sites and Reviews | Xmarks | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
Xmarks site page for iastate www.chem.iastate.edu/group/Greenbowe/sections/projectfolder/simDownload/index4.html with topics, reviews, ratings and comments.
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Home of CELLS alive!

A visual tour of cells, bacteria, viruses and their interaction with one another.
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Content, images, animations, videos all about cells.

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Edheads - Simple Machines

Edheads - Simple Machines | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
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Learn about simple machines around the home. 

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Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream! and the Real World | Teacher's Guide | Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream

Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream! and the Real World | Teacher's Guide | Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
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The teacher section for a cool design process site in which middle school students can work through the physics of roller coasters. 

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iPad Apps for Science - Feb 2013

iPad  Apps for Science  - Feb 2013 | Science Education Support | Scoop.it

Looking for some awesome apps for your Science classroom? Manitoba Education Science Consultant Gabe Kraljevic created this great resource containting reviews of 50 different apps.   db.tt/TwYsA5a1

 

Thanks Gabe for allowing me to share it here!

 


Via John Evans
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Embarassing - I had to scoop my own stuff because I don't have access to Dropbox! 

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Jeannette Jackson's curator insight, February 24, 2013 12:33 PM

This is an amazing collection: thank you for this!

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iPads in Education

iPads in Education | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
News, reviews, resources and more on the use of iPads in the learning environment.
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Viral videos

Viral videos | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
Richard's viral videos have received over 90 million views and are hosted on his YouTube channel.  As a result of this success, Richard has been invited to create online content for various project...
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Some cool science 'stunts' that can be used for activation, discussion or inquiry. 

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Asteroid to pass closer to Earth than TV satellites - The Guardian

Asteroid to pass closer to Earth than TV satellites - The Guardian | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
The Guardian Asteroid to pass closer to Earth than TV satellites The Guardian The effort is intended to give scientists and engineers as much time as possible to learn if an asteroid or comet is on a collision course with Earth, in the hope of...
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astronomy

 

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Brain Pop Movies

Brain Pop Movies | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
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A textbook resource site that has a list of biology-related Brain Pop movies.  For those of you who don't know about Brain Pop - they're cute animations.

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BBC - Podcasts and Downloads - Science in Action

BBC - Podcasts and Downloads - Science in Action | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
New developments in science and science news from around the world, weekly from BBC World Service.
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$10 Smartphone to digital microscope conversion!

$10 Smartphone to digital microscope conversion! | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
The world is an interesting place, but it's fascinating up close.  Through the lens of a microscope you can find details that you would otherwise nev...
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I'm going to try this!  I'll let you know how it goes! - Gabe

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Half Empty | Change the Equation

Half Empty | Change the Equation | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
Change the Equation aligns corporate efforts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to ensure that they add up to real, measurable growth in the achievement and STEM fluency of U.S.
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Chemistry PowerPoint Lessons, Handouts, Labs, and Worksheets

High school chemistry for teachers and students - Entire 11th grade course - Including labs, worksheets, handouts, notes, and PowerPoint lessons.
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I like looking for worksheets...

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NOVA | Engineering Ground Zero

NOVA | Engineering Ground Zero | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
Designing and building One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
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Great support material for Nova's "Engineering Ground Zero" episode.  Fits with structures and forces curriculum.

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Super Teacher Tools

Super Teacher Tools | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
Super Teacher Tools has many free classroom review games and classroom management tools, including Flash Jeopardy.
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Website suggested by a middle school teacher in the Seine River School Division.  Several flash games and useful tools for teachers.

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Museum of Science and Industry: Simple Machines Game

Museum of Science and Industry: Simple Machines Game | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
Game with challenges to create simple machines that help adorable-but-lazy Twitch do his work.
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Flash game in which students use simple machines to help a little robot find parts. 

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The Ultimate Roller Coaster Contest | Free Lesson Plans | Teachers | Digital textbooks and standards-aligned educational resources

The Ultimate Roller Coaster Contest | Free Lesson Plans | Teachers | Digital textbooks and standards-aligned educational resources | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
Free Physical Science lesson plan for grades 6 to 8.
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Simple activity for design process in middle years.  A few, cheap materials to make a roller coaster.  Tools: scissors/knives & hot glue guns.  (You could probably subsitute the hot glue with duct tape.)

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The science of beam weapons - ExtremeTech

The science of beam weapons - ExtremeTech | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
ExtremeTech
The science of beam weapons
ExtremeTech
There are three technologies that collectively line the threshold to The Future: Meal pills, flying cars, and killer laser beams.
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How To Make Your Own Dry Ice

This guide shows you How To Make Dry Ice Watch This and Other Related films here: http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-make-dry-ice Subscribe! http://www.yout...
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Chem Wiki @ UC Davis

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Jules Verne: A prophet of science fiction | Brain Pickings

Jules Verne: A prophet of science fiction | Brain Pickings | Science Education Support | Scoop.it
A library of cross-disciplinary interestingness and combinatorial creativity.
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