This blog is intended to explore philosophical issues related to meaning, creativity, and imagination.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Connecting ideas and networking often leads to new ideas.

People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Three examples of Creativity through exploration.

Three examples of free Exploration and its effects on learning and creativity.
(some gleanings)
1. In a survey of unschooled children Dr Peter Grey discusses the notion of freedom to learn in an unschooled environment. 

Unschooling parents "do not establish a curriculum for their children, they do not require their children to do particular assignments for the purpose of education, and they do not test their children to measure progress. Instead, they allow their children freedom to pursue their own interests and to learn, in their own ways, what they need to know to follow those interests. They also, in various ways, provide an environmental context and environmental support for the child's learning. Life and learning do not occur in a vacuum; they occur in the context of a cultural environment, and unschooling parents help define and bring the child into contact with that environment." 

"The biggest benefits have been witnessing our daughters' creativity blossom full force, their ability to think outside the box when presented with problems, their resourcefulness, and their genuine desire to ask questions and learn as much as they can about the world around them. Also, seeing them internalize the lesson that making mistakes is a necessary and wonderful platform for growth and further learning, which means they see mistakes as a positive and necessary part of their education. They're not afraid to try their hand at just about anything."All of the respondents essentially emphasized the role of their children in directing their own education and in pointing out that education is part of life itself. 

2. What can we learn from a hole in the wall?
"In 1999, Sugata Mitra was chief scientist at a company in New Delhi that trains software developers. His office was on the edge of a slum, and on a hunch one day, he decided to put a computer into a nook in a wall separating his building from the slum. He was curious to see what the kids would do, particularly if he said nothing. He simply powered the computer on and watched from a distance. To his surprise, the children quickly figured out how to use the machine."

3. Exploration first and then instruction.
"Exploration, inquiry, and problem solving are not just are powerful learning mechanisms that increase performance. Students are better prepared to understand a theory after first exploring by themselves." These results of a study at Stanford University "indicate the value for learning of first engaging one’s prior knowledge and intuitions in investigating problems in a learning domain – before being presented with abstracted knowledge. Having first explored how one believes a system works creates a knowledge-building relevance to the text or video that is then presented."
Link to original study