First of all, it's not my birthday. That said, I had a cool idea for a birthday tradition that I want to record lest I forget it!
I'm usually not one for non-fiction, but the times have changed. I'm currently reading Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
by a cool dude named Dan Ariely
. In short, we humans are constantly influenced by "hidden forces" that cause us to make decisions that don't always make logical sense. Can't say I'm surprised.
The past few weeks I have been entirely overwhelmed with inspiration and need to drop some serious shout outs:
People and Places
First and foremost, the the entire web design/dev/tech community. What an open, motivating, and supportive group of people! In particular:
Brad Frost - whose work makes me so excited to build things.
Matt Griffin's seriously fantastic articles on A List Apart
Everything on Bearded's Github
Laura Kalbag - freelance inspiration.
Destroy Today/Jonnie Hallman - gave great talk at NYC Creative Mornings.
2013 Web Design Day, thanks Jason and Val!
Rob Harr's (of Sparkbox) talk on pricing at Refresh Pittsburgh
CatapultPGH, coworking in Pittsburgh
New Work City, coworking in NYC
And so many more!
Chemistry in the SMALLab. Credit: Ken Howie Photography>
In this post I'll go over two applications of embodied learning. First is SMALLab, a learning environment using motion-capture technology and large scale projections to track movements in space, and second is Science Choreography, a project through Wesleyan University and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange that combines art, science, and kinesthetic learning to teach science topics. But before getting into all of that, a look at what embodied learning actually means:
The SMALLab website defines embodied learning as "a field that blends the learning sciences and human computer interaction". Science Choreography deals more with the direct translation of a process or concept into movement. In this video, Liz Lerman describes, "when you embody a process you start to realize what you don't understand, and you begin to ask questions because you want to get the movements right." In embodied learning, physical movement is the medium through which we internalize knowledge.
A few learning theories relevant to embodied learning are embodied cognition, differentiated instruction, and social constructivism. Some quick-ish definitions before getting into the examples:
Embodied Cognition is the argument that all aspects of cognition are determined by the body. This includes higher level cognition like reasoning, judgement, and categorization.
Differentiated instruction refers to a teaching philosophy contrary to the "one size fits all" model that many schools go by today. Students are provided avenues for learning and assessment that are effective for all students, regardless of ability.
About Card Sorting
Card sorting is an exercise in user experience design where a group of users sort cards with various words on them into categories. It is often used to determine a website map or to test the language of product, so the cards' words would be things like "Pricing", "Testimonials", or "Tour".
I recently did something like card sorting with a client, but less structured. The terms on my cards were very random, anywhere from "Beyonce" to "corn" to "Trust". Each of us in the meeting grabbed a handful of cards and spent a few minutes organizing them in any way that made sense.
This gave me the idea to design "Brain-cleansing" games (horrible name, I know). They would be simple exercises that help you break down creative barriers and allow thoughts to flow more freely - a solution for writers block or if you are stuck on a bug in your code. Clear your mind with one or two rounds then return to your work. Here is the first I've come up with (basically lnfnmo):
Brain Cleanse game #1: Left & Right
Gather/prepare these things:
A deck of 20 cards (download some). I taped mine to playing cards for easier handling.
Some sort of divider, like a chopstick or a pencil.
A timer if playing alone (optional).
Choose two cards without looking at them.
Turn both over and place one on the left side of the divider and one on the right. Leave a few card lengths between the card and the divider. Like this:
Every semester since I’ve graduated (which I guess is only 3), I’ve said I was going to unofficially take a course at CMU or Pitt. Which basically means sitting in on a class and hoping no one would care that I’m not actually a student. I never did this, […]