Have you ever asked yourself “why” and “what if” questions?

A key principle of innovation is “questioning.” If you have ever asked the questions: why and what if about a product, system, or service, then you are probably somewhat of a creative person (or at least somewhat observable). A student at Yale this past semester asked these questions about bikes, specifically their spokes (e.g., Why do bikes have spokes? What if they didn’t?) The following picture shows what he came up with. Not bad. I love the idea; hopefully it goes on to change industry. I could definitely use a spokeless bike – I am always breaking them. Here’s why.


TED Video: Being Different

I found this TED video by Derek Sivers really interesting. He presents, in a simple and somewhat comical way, how we should perceive different people, cultures, practices, etc. He argues, that although we may consider our “way” (way can be defined as object, practice, culture, people, etc.) as an obvious and effective “way”, others with differing backgrounds, experiences, culture, etc. may argue their method as being the most obvious and effective – paradoxically, we may both be right. I think his talk has great insight to how we structure our instructional practices and activities, learning outcomes, evaluation and assessment techniques, etc. It seems many teachers plan for x, evaluate for x, yet when their students learn y, they punish their students with failing grades, etc. Perhaps the error is in the design and communication, not the interpretation. A second issue this video made me reflect on is how today’s students do indeed learn differently than my generation (and of course all previous generations). This is not to say we need to scrap our current educational practices, however, it does invite pedagogical reflection and consideration of current educational efforts, models, etc.

High School Video Contest

The following link will take you to a zip file where you can download, view, and evaluate the recent high school poster design contest. Follow the rules as outlined in class.