Creativity & Multicultural Communication

ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication

By Mike

A blog to keep track of my responses for this course
[ LINK ] [ RSS ] Last Updated: Sat, 04 May 2013 14:14:33

Recent Posts

Blog Post: On Playing
Why do we see education as a bad thing? Don't get me wrong, I think most people would agree that, overall, we all need some form of education. And I think even the thought of higher education is well supported. But, if you ask a random college student on Monday morning whether or not they want to attend class that day, I would assume most would give a negative answer.
Why? Didn't they choose their classes? Wasn't their choice of major their own? Why wouldn't one look forward to learning all they can about their target subject?
Maybe it comes down to the way it is taught. The education system, as it is, certainly needs to be looked at. Over the course of this MOOC, we've hard several chances to take a critical eye on the current state of this system, from primary school all the way up to a Master's Degree. And I think we can all agree, there is a lot of room for improvement.
I liked the idea that Learning to Play proposed- motivating students to learn by thinking of new ways to teach- even if that method is through games. After all, you never have to force a young male to play video games- he will usually ignore all other responsibilities to enjoy a few minutes of blissful gaming. So, what can we learn from this technique? Is it possible to take the instruction found at colleges, or even high schools, digitize it through a form like a MOOC, and present the material in a format similar to a video game?
Maybe that's a little too dramatic. But, even looking at the base motivations behind video games- beautiful pictures, intense competition, or leveling-up systems- can some of these ideas be implemented?

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Sat, 04 May 2013 14:14:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: On Children
In response to: Are Today's Youth Less Creative?

One of the points brought out in this article was in opposition to the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. The author states that this new law "may be partly responsible for the drop in creativity scores." Granted, I am not an expert on education, nor do I know the details about the law in itself. I did see, though, the after-affects.
I graduated high school in 2004, the same year in which the first changed were being made to our school system based on the new law. I remember speaking to some of my teachers about these changes, and they looked tired. On one occasion, a teacher began crying as she described the changes that were being made.
From what I understand, No Child Left Behind simply changed the focus of the teachers from the students who tested higher to the students who tested lower. Before the law came into place, "trouble" students who spent the classroom time messing around and bothering other students were punished, and often left back a grade. The teachers would grade such students according to their ability, and if they failed, then they failed. The teacher would, however, give the more intelligent students more attention and help, letting them reach their potential. This, in turn, would foster high levels of creativity in the students as they received this personal attention and were similarly encouraged by their instructors.
These days, the teachers must make sure all of the students in their classrooms can pass the state-regulated tests. The downsides to this law are numerous and widely known; forcing teachers to teach only the information that the students will be tested on, and often cheating in order to make the levels set by the state means that the students who are trying, and succeeding, in passing the tests are left to their own devices.
There is no magic formula for creativity. The article above does list different methods that were used in the past that did seem to have an affect on this aspect- letting the child have time to play, reading books as opposed to watching TV, and other unsurprising methods. Can we add personal attention and encouragement from adults to this list?

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Tue, 09 Apr 2013 10:39:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: On Cognitive Biases
No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape from all biases. This is not necessarily a bad thing, though. People tend to think of biases in a very negative light, but in reality, biases are simply the mind's way of running on auto-pilot. Granted, we are studying to become MORE creative people, which would require going off the beaten path more often, but one cannot be creative ALL the time. Other maters require our attention- being courteous, or loving, or friendly, or brave; each of these courses may supersede the need to be creative in certain situations.
Probably the most obvious case of this, and one of the hardest to overcome, would be the Status Quo Bias. Maintaining status quo is very important to most people. Although we all appreciate some manner of familiarity in our lives, it seems that many people live the same way their whole lives- never moving out of their hometown, eating the same meals every week, partaking in the same hobbies, never even leaving their home country on vacation. They may justify their actions with an inflated sense of pride; they figured out the best way of doing things, and that's the end of the story. If they are truly happy with that course, then I guess it's up to them and we shouldn't stop them.
However, for most of us, this type of bias is a constant struggle. Status quo is safe, easy, and comfortable. Depending on how long it has been maintained, it may be nearly impossible to break, too. However, there are adventures to be had, once we remove this bias of status quo. Going along with the idea of making mistakes, when we break our comfort zone, it means we are doing things that we have never done before. And new ideas, new experiences, serve as a means of inspiration for creativity.

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Tue, 19 Mar 2013 16:21:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: On Mistakes
I'm going to try something new, this time. I really liked Mary Murdock's introduction about mistakes, and having a Mistake Quotient for the day. This was something that I have been working on for about a year now. As I am a perfectionist, even the thought of purposely making mistakes sends a shiver down my spine. After much thought though, I can see the benefits that mistakes bring. I was looking through some of my files and I found these pictures that seemed relevant, and were inspiring to me at the time. I hope you enjoy ;)

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Tue, 19 Mar 2013 14:58:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: On Creativity (Part 2)

I was watching Gerard Puccio's video on "What is Creativity?" and he raised a very interesting point- the difference between 'Big-C Creativity' and 'Little-c creativity'. Big C creativity would be famous examples of creativity, the works of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, while Little-c creativity deals with the small details in our lives, minor adjustments we may make to improve situations. Even cooking a special meal or planning a trip would count as this second type of creativity.
I found this fascinating, as I had always just assumed there was only one definition for the word. All types of creativity were lumped under the same definition. The beauty in making a distinction such as this is it relieves us of trying the be the first type of creative individuals- after all, few of us are ever going to compose a world-renowned symphony or create a painting that will one day hang in the Louvre. We all want to be creative; I'm sure everyone else saw this class as an opportunity to expand our minds in this regard. However, isn't it more important to strive for this "little-c creativity"? After all, this is the type that will bring joy to our own lives and the lives of those we love- our actions in our daily lives that make us unique from every other person on Earth.
I'm not saying that we don't strive for the first type. If that kind of opportunity comes around, that is great, excellent, superb. But after giving a lot of thought to this new concept, I feel like I would never trade my minor instances of creativity that make me who I am for one big shot of being famous and known as a "Creative Individual". To be, the little-c creative minds are the real heroes.

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Tue, 19 Mar 2013 14:36:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: On Transliteracy

"Transliteracy is concerned with what it means to be literate in the 21st century. It analyzes the relationship between people and technology, most specifically social networking, but is fluid enough to not be tied to any particular technology. It focuses more on the social uses of technology, whatever that technology may be. This terminology is new and the study of transliteracy is in the early stages, so this definition is likely to evolve." (Ipri)

The tough part about discussing transliteracy is the fact that the definition changes on an almost daily basis. As noted in the quote above, the state of transliteracy is constantly fluid, and follows the changes made in technology. As we could all probably agree, the rate at which technology is evolving these days is nothing short of impressive. Just a few years ago, websites like Facebook and Twitter were quiet social groups that had no real position on the internet scene. Now, for most people, even a day without using Facebook is a very distressing thought.
Although this wasn't the point of the original post, I think it was interesting that they juxtaposed this phenomenon with actual literacy. As children are born and raised with this heightened level of technology, even the term "literacy" will have to be reworked. Words like "thru" replace "through", "U" takes the place of "you", and so on. Originally, such degradation of spelling was frowned upon, but this too is another example of the evolving definition of transliteracy.
Probably the biggest question is, how will this changing definition affect the more traditional forms of literacy, such as reading hard-copy books and going to stone-and-mortar libraries? Will they become casualties?
On a personal level, I do all of my work through an Android-based tablet. It has replaced many previous tools, such as spiral-bound notebooks and textbooks. Although many people still prefer laptops, I find the portability of a tablet very convenient, and has many possible uses.

Ipri, Tom. "Introducing Transliteracy." Introducing Transliteracy. Association of College & Research Libraries, Nov. 2010. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Sun, 17 Mar 2013 09:19:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: On Creativity

The "Meat and Potatoes" of the course, I was looking forward to this chapter from the beginning. It's interesting to observe our perceptions of creativity- such as the example mentioned on this week's page, that only artists are creative. I feel that this is a common belief, because through art, one is able to create direct, obvious representations of their creativity. Also, works of art are usually created for others to view, not simply to be hoarded by the artist. I disagree that artists are the only creative type, just the most obvious.
However, I do believe that it is extremely important to instill this sense of creativity at a very early age. In his presentation, Mitch Ditkoff argued that creativity could be nurtured even late in life. Although I agree that one's creative abilities can always be heightened, I do not think that one can be an "uncreative" individual for most of their life and become a "creative" person in their retirement. Ditkoff listed several famous people who produced great works late in their lives, but many of these examples were people who had done things their entire lives. The fact that they had continued to create even into their twilight years should not have been a surprise.
To me, creativity is the ability to think differently than what is normal. I think each community has its own sense of what is "normal", which is why I appreciate the fact that this class is "Creativity and Multicultural Communication". For example, I'm very familiar with what is considered "normal" to the average Upstate New-Yorker. I had my 9-to-5 job, I ate pizza several times a week, I watched The Office and the Superbowl. Since moving to the other side of the world, though, I've discovered that there is a totally different set of "normal" ideas here. Now, I teach English in the mornings, travel to nearby ancient towns, eat noodles in the evenings, watch Chinese TV, drink tea in the parks and play Mahjong. I wouldn't say that I'm a creative individual, but I believe that new experiences has allowed me to see everything in a different light. Things are NEVER black and white, and that's what traveling has taught me.
I think Creativity is an ability that some are born with stronger than others. However, I also believe that there are countless ways in which one can foster creativity, and as long as one has the desire to work on this quality, they can choose whichever method they feel is their strongest- whether it is through exploration, art, writing, music, or a hundred other ways.
It is a lifelong process. No one ever reaches the peak of creative abilities, as creativity in the first place is the result of uniqueness, and therefore, it is very hard to compare that to different people. Still, this process is not a miserable one; the pursuit of creativity brings contentment and joy, and a new way of looking at everything in one's life.

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Sun, 17 Mar 2013 09:56:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: On PLEs
Personal Learning Environments are proof that we are on the cusp of an educational revolution. For centuries, education has looked remarkably similar- we may have moved away from one-room country schoolhouses, but some of the most prestigious colleges in America are comprised of buildings that have been in use since the earliest years of the nation.
But all of this is changing, and fast. With the rise of the internet, people are no longer dependent on these brick-and-mortar buildings, even preferring the convenience of online schooling.
It's not hard to see why. There are many advantages that this type of environment has over the more conventional method. Obviously, the ease of dealing with the educational experience from the comfort of one's own home is always a plus. The fact that it fits to individual schedules is extremely important- with the pace that life goes today, its not surprising that more and more people are looking into online education to further their horizons while maintaining a full work schedule. The support given by the instructors is always helpful, but the fact that much of the work is self-regulated is also an advantage to the types of people that work that way. Finally, the fact that this type of learning is more social brings a great advantage to all involved- and allows us to share data and insights with interested students all over the world.

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Tue, 05 Mar 2013 16:01:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: On Connectivism
Once again, I'm going to be working quite a bit this week to try to catch up with the rest of you, please bear with me.
I think it's fitting that this subject of Connectivism is introduced so early in the course. After all, the whole point of a MOOC is getting the input of so many different people together at the same time. Stephen Downes really focused on this point, highlighting the fact that the whole process is really a give-and-take relationship. The beauty of the internet in itself is that it allows us to communicate and deal with people all across the globe, but we must be attentive and receptive to these new ideas, as well as have the courage to add our own ideas when it is appropriate.
He also mentioned, in another piece, that the beauty of these types of courses lies in the fact that we can deal with 'experts' of the field. In our case, when the field we are talking about happens to be Creativity, there is no definition of what an EXPERT of creativity would be. Since one aspect of being creative is using one's own unique ability, wouldn't we all be experts in this field? Really, then, this gives even more impetus to share our views on this subject

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Tue, 05 Mar 2013 14:41:00 +0000 [Comment]
Blog Post: Introductions
Hey guys, sorry I'm late to the party. Not even fashionably late, just really, really late. My name is Mike Schiller and I'm an explorer. Ever since I was very young, my family moved around a lot. So I've lived in many different states, and that pretty much set me up for the rest of my life.
Currently, I am living in western China, near the Tibetan border. It's a beautiful area, and I spend my days wandering around, taking pictures, and learning the Chinese language. I teach English at a local Elementary School, which turns out to me a much larger commitment than I originally expected! But it's all for the sake of adventure, and I can say that I haven't had a boring day since I've arrived in this area.
I wanted to take this class because I've never really considered myself to be the creative type. I've had some amazing friends in my life; writers, artists, even comedians, who seem to see everything from such a unique point of view. I am envious of these people, because I've never found that creative trigger. I hope that, somewhere along this course, I may find a path that leads me to a more creative outlook on life.
I look forward to working closer with you guys in the coming weeks, and I apologize again for my lateness.

By Mike, Feed:ESC Creativity and Multicultural Communication, Tue, 05 Mar 2013 13:47:00 +0000 [Comment]
Information about this feed is obtained from the feed XML file. Feed owners may supply additional information by updating their XML file or by sending email to