Posts tagged ‘education’

The Art of Ofey: Richard Feynman’s Little-Known Sketches & Drawings

“I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world…this feeling about the glories of the universe.”

Just like Sylvia Plath and Queen Victoria, Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman —champion of scientific culturegraphic novel herocrusader for integrityholder of the key to scienceadviser of future generations,bongo player — was a surprisingly gifted semi-secret artist. He started drawing at the age of 44 in 1962, shortly after developing the visual language for his famous Feynman diagrams, after a series of amicable arguments about art vs. science with his artist-friend Jirayr “Jerry” Zorthian — the same friend to whom Feynman’s timeless ode to a flower was in response. Eventually, the two agreed that they’d exchange lessons in art and science on alternate Sundays. Feynman went on to draw — everything from portraits of other prominent physicists and his children to sketches of strippers and very, very many female nudes — until the end of his life.

The Art of Richard P. Feynman: Images by a Curious Character (UKpublic library) collects a quarter century of Feynman’s drawings, curated by his daughter Michelle, beginning with his first sketches of the human figure in 1962 and ending in 1987, the year before his death.

Dancer at Gianonni’s Bar (1968) Continue reading…
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How the Science of Attention is Changing Work and Education

by Maria Popova @

What a woman in a gorilla suit has to do with the future of work and education in the digital age.

Much has been said about how the Internet is changing our brains and what this new culture of learning means for the future of education. While much of the dialogue has been doused in techno-dystopian alarmism, from Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, narrated by Orson Welles in the 1970s, to Nicholas Carr’s reductionist claims about attentionin today’ digital age. But the truth about attention, as it relates to the intersection of technology and education, seems to be a lot more layered and complex — and, if Cathy Davidson, founder of Duke University’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, is right, a lot less worrisome. That’s precisely what Davidson illustrates in her new book, Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn — a fascinating meditation on how “attention blindness,” the peculiar phenomenon illustrated by Harvard’s famous invisible gorilla experiment, has produced one of our culture’s greatest disconnects, the inability to reconcile the remarkable changes induced by the digital age with the conventions of yesteryear’s schools and workplaces.

As long as we focus on the object we know, we will miss the new one we need to see. The process of unlearning in order to relearn demands a new concept of knowledge not as thing but as a process, not as a noun but as a verb.” ~ Cathy Davidson

In another famous experiment, Davidson, then provost at Duke, gave the entire 2003 freshman class iPods as part of their academic curriculum. Though the pilot project was at first widely derided, it quickly silenced the critics as students found intelligent and innovative ways to employ their iPods in the classroom and the lab in everything from collaborating on group project to podcasting a conference on Shakespeare around the world.

Davidson uses the insights from these experiments as a lens through which to examine the nature and evolution of attention, noting that the educational system is driven by very rigid expectations of what “attention” is and how it reflects “intelligence,” a system in which students who fail to meet these expectations and pay attention differently are pigeonholed somehow deficient of aberrant, square pegs in round holes. Yet neuroscience is increasingly indicating that our minds pay attention in a myriad different ways, often non-linear and simultaneous, which means that the academy and the workplace will have to evolve in parallel and transcend the 20th-century linear assembly-line model for eduction and work. (The assembly and the factory are in fact a familiar metaphor from Sir Ken Robinson’s insightful thoughts on changing educational paradigms.)

Refreshingly constructive and glimmering with much-needed optimism about the future of education in the digital age, Now You See It makes a fine new addition to these 7 essential books on education and offers a well-argued antidote to the media’s incessant clamor about the deadly erosion of our attention.

Thanks, Jake

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Lessons taught in 3D help children learn more and behave better as it increases levels of concentration

A little news regarding 3D:

By Gareth Finighan @

Pupils remember more and behave better when 3D images are used in lessons, research suggests.They are quicker to learn and absorb new concepts, and display higher levels of concentration.Professor Anne Bamford, of the University of the Arts, London, studied the effectiveness of 3D content in 15 schools across seven countries including the UK.

An added dimension: researchers found that students were able to focus more and retained more information during classes taught in 3D

The project, to be unveiled at the BETT education technology show in London’s Olympia next week, focused on 740 pupils aged ten and 11.In each school, one class studied science in the usual way. Another did the same lesson using 3D resources. The pupils were tested before and after the experiment.  Pupils in 3D classes could remember more than the 2D classes after four weeks, improving test scores by an average 17 per cent compared with eight per cent for 2D lessons.They gave more ‘elaborate’ answers to open-ended tasks and were more likely to ‘think’ in 3D, using hand gestures and ‘mime’ to ‘successfully answer the test questions’.Writing in The 3D in Education White Paper, Professor Bamford said: ‘The marked improvement in test scores was also supported by qualitative data that showed that 100 per cent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that 3D animations in the classroom made the children understand things better and 100 per cent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that the pupils discovered new things in 3D learning that they did not know before.

The ‘wow’ factor: Unlike conventional classes, where students can become bored, lessons in 3D held their attention for longer periods

‘The teachers commented that the pupils in the 3D groups had deeper understanding, increased attention span, more motivation and higher engagement.’One teacher in the study said: ‘In class with 3D you have the “wow” effect. This helps with behaviour. The pupils are too interested to be disruptive. They get involved and forget to be naughty.’Another said: ‘The class certainly pays more attention in 3D. They are more focused. That is important in this class – eight out of the 26 pupils in this class have attention problems, so I am thrilled with the impact of 3D. They sit up and are really alert.’Children are used to 3D with the rise of computer games that use the technology – 90 per cent of those in the study had seen a 3D film. The study also found that teachers could use the 3D animations without specific training.Schools would need 3D-enabled projectors, laptops with good graphic capabilities, 3D software and glasses for children to introduce animations into classrooms.But Danny Nicholson, of the Association of Science Education, said the technology would be impractical to use in schools and could be too expensive.He said: ‘While I think the idea of 3D technology is very interesting- and I’m speaking as a very keen fan of interactive whiteboards and projectors as a technology in the classroom – I worry that 3D is a bit of an expensive gimmick.’There are a few cases where a true 3D image might help, but a lot of the time good 2D models which can be moved and rotated would be just as effective.’In Colorado, United States, one school district is already in the process of having 1,000 3D projectors installed in classrooms.And the University of California, which carries out scientific research into the Lake Tahoe Basin, has used 3D presentations with Grade six pupils.Research at its visitor centre reported that its 3D lab, which allows students to watch animations about earthquakes and geological formations, was effective in engaging pupils.Those who watched the 3D presentations were more engaged and reported a general increase in their interest in science compared with students who watched the 2D version.

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