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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Art of Science Learning Conference.... Mining for Gold

Art of Science Learning Conference
Calit2, June 14 and 15, 2011

Report by Patricia Frischer
San Diego Visual Arts Network

Not a summary, but an attempt to pull out some new ideas.

Hearing about other projects that are successful is like looking at good art. It makes you want to go home and make some of your own. Looking at lots of bad art is rather depressing, rather like thinking about stale ideas. We heard about some fascinating projects, but there was lots of time spent “speaking to the choir”. I have 11 full pages of notes and this is my attempt to mine the gold and give you some links if you want more of the experience of having attended.

Harvey Seifter, Director and Principal Investigator The Art of Science Learning, Larry Smarr, Founder and Director, Calit2 introduced the conference. The buzz words are very familiar now: collaborate, innovate, Steam not Stem, out of the box, economics driven, value added, clarity of language. Here are a few newer twists on these themes I pulled over the day and half.

Visual Thinking helps to internalize and thus learn more deeply about the subject.

Problem based Thinking is doing instead of only thinking This is a variation of Critical Thinking which is long been used in the sciences.

Design based Thinking is about how to designing a new world, not replicating the old one. We need to re-design education. We need to think about how education serves the world. (Read the report from the Chicago conference by Trung Le)

Larry Rosenstock, CEO, High Tech High “Duality” We need to create the public and not just serve it. We need to broaden the idea of the classroom. We have a Catch 22 at the conference connected to Heisenberg’s Uncertainly Principal here as the closer we look at creativity and try to replicate it or scale it up, the more we destroy it. Creativity always has to be a new and fresh look, slightly mysterious and starts with being perplexed. We don’t need models, we need examples.

Harvey White, Co-founder of Qualcomm and LeapWireless "STEM to STEAM: The Future of American Innovation."
Interviewed by John Eger, The Lionel Van Deerlin Endowed Professor of Communications and Public Policy, SDSU Here is the link to the report of his talk in Chicago . White calls for a nationwide creativity index and a national imperative to urge business’s investment in education using STEAM not just STEM.

Randy Cohen
, Vice President for Policy & Research, Americans for the Arts "Creativity in the Workplace"

Read the report from Chicago. What skills sets are needed in the workforce (Problem solving and Problem identification were top two)? What is creativity and how is it measured? They can now prove that there is a correlation between overall higher academic performance and arts participation. But we have no testing process for creativity. Seven states are pursuing an Index of Creativity but no one has produced a sample yet.

Robert Root-Bernstein, Professor of Physiology, Michigan State University Author,“Spark of Genius”. Nobel Prize winners in the sciences are 25 times more likely to be involved in the arts than the general population.

Dr. Todd Siler Metaphorming Interactive Workshops John Reaves, Learning Worlds Institute Idea Harvesting

We were put in teams and asked to use a variety of ordinary material to illustrate how the arts could be integrated into the sciences. I was acutely aware that our team had two men that were talented but not team players. They stayed separate and did not join in. I was not stimulated by the ideas produced by our team which seemed forced and repetitive. I disappointed myself. But we took all of our disparate ideas and joined them together in a fun fair theme. From that, I got a spark about paying to enter this world of creativity so it was no surprise that I found myself on the workforce team the next day. I think this exercise might have led me to suggest that we try to show failing companies how they could use creativity of their staff to innovate for success. They would pay for results and would be perfect spokesperson to other successful companies to invest in art education. I think this was my Ah Ha moment of the whole conference.

Ideas generated: Branding of STEAM, using a standard language to educate the public and the art and science community; STEAM Day, Center (real and online), and Academy; Mapping with field surveys of projects and organization; Additional research in cross benefits to students and economy; Showcasing of cross discipline in gallery/museum exhibition, filed guides, books, documentaries, videos; Funding through awards/prizes, grants from government, business, school and foundations; Advocacy to showcase proof of benefits: Creativity Assessment for employers to use with employees;

Joyce Gattas, SDSU gave us a short list of barriers to innovation including relying on the predictable, silos which avoid collaboration, lack of money which can only be over come with collaboration for joint funding needs and current limits on accreditation which block innovation.

Ramesh Rao, Director, UCSD Division of Calit2. Energy Environment, Health and Culture

Scientist are problem solvers, Artist are problem creators. Scientist don’t define problems…artists do. Problem definition is a major and valued skill

Maurizio Seracini (read my report on him from a previous lecture he gave). Seracini showed us his technological tools of imaging developed to study layers of art works to see under the surface. He uses very impressive graphic designs for public education.

Carrie Fitzsimmons, Founding Director, ArtScienceLab Prize A world wide program in many parts starting with Idea Translation (conception) to Cultural Experimentation Lab (translation) to Realization founded by Harvard Professor David A. Edwards.

Educational Practices: Gabriele Wienhausen, Associate Dean for Education, Division of Biological Sciences, UCSD
Research: Jeffrey Remmel,
Associate Dean, Division of Physical Sciences, UCSD,

Workforce Development :Ted Buswick, Director, Boston Consulting Group History; Executive-in- Residence for Leadership and the Arts, Clark University (read the report from Chicago)
Sarah Murr, Community Investor – Arts & Culture, Boeing

Boeing Candidate skills/competencies are all those aided by an arts education: Inquisitive, Communication, verbal and written, Creative, Ability to work in a team, Analytical, Innovative, Problem solver, Self confident, Initiative, Strong work ethic, Flexible/adaptive to change She explains why Boeing invests in arts education.

· We believe the arts are an essential part of a complete education

· provides students with skills and abilities to succeed in life and navigate careers in the 21st century

· can be used to engage students who are in danger of dropping out or have special needs

· the arts, when integrated with other subjects, provides hands-on experiences for students

· In California, the arts are mandated by law as core curriculum; yet they are not available in thousands of schools.

· We believe policy and advocacy are key to keeping the arts as a critical part of our education system.

· This is a workforce issue and affects the creative economy of our state.

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