Archive for February, 2011

Debate Topic: Homework & Tests

Friday, February 25th, 2011

All of the youth participants are going to be extremely familiar with homework and tests. One would guess that there are diverse opinions about the usefulness of homework and tests, and this should be a “hot topic” for most students. We should discuss whether the positioning of homework and tests in learning should change. Of course, I am reading “the Homework Myth” by Alfie Kohn and am now familiar with a number of objections to homework and tests. We could have polls or even do some homework – and analyze the outcome. The aim would be to generate “feelings” for something that has direct effect on their lives and see if they react enough to do something about it.

Concept: Adult-Free Frameworks

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Just to remind ourselves: We wish to be certain to abstain from using any adult-centric situations in our exercises. This is to focus on the current age (youth) and leverage the personal experiences. We believe that utilizing adult concepts and ideals are restrictive and counter (stifle) any youth creativity. In school, what do they study? History…is there any history of youth? Math…what youth concepts are there? Language…how useful is it to youth communication? Again, the reason for having this program is to create “neutral ground” (maybe we can view this as an empty canvas) where entropy will help fill the space with creative ideas and spontaneity.

Idea from “the Homework Myth”

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I am presently reading “the Homework Myth” by A. Kohn, and came across (page 111) how “terrific teachers” encourage students to create their own problem solving techniques (without prior demonstration of a specific solution) and have them discuss each others solution. This positions math (or any subject for that matter) as a “creative enterprise” and creates understanding of the problem-solution as opposed to black-box programming. This is probably a good example to mention in the discussion about creativity and how it leads to innovation and possibly leadership. For youth, this is a good situation to explain because there are many possible solutions – and the advantages may only manifest themselves best in particular situations.

Exercise: Sketching Your Neighbor

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

In the video at http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_on_creativity_and_play.html (titled Tim Brown on creativity and play) the audience had to sketch their neighbor within 30 seconds. Then they showed their sketch to the person who they sketched. It is interesting to see what the reaction is, and connect such reactions to the level of maturity/expectations.

Exercise: Tell A Story

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

One of the best ways to captivate an audience is to “tell a story” – of course, the story has to be in vivid detail and push one’s buttons. The stories that would be most readily accessible to students are about their lives. We could develop an exercise to sketch one’s life in say 15 minutes (it could be one’s own or that of a partner), and spend 5 minutes having someone review it for depth and interest. This may be a great way to identify key points to make in a personal statement – for a college application or a job interview.

Game: Shake Balls Out Game

Friday, February 11th, 2011

This could be a game to encourage creativity and teamwork. Just like the contest called “Junk in the Box” (http://www.nbc.com/minute-to-win-it/how-to/episode-126/junk-in-the-trunk/)┬áin Minute to Win It (the tv show), we provide some basic items such as empty Kleenex boxes (reusing!), ping pong balls and some sort of securing material (what can we reuse?), and the students have to design their own “regulation” boxes. They can design and test perhaps one or two days before the contest. We can also think up some twists to this game.

Drill: Compare & Contrast

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Reminded again about all the design flaws of the Y2E2, would it be interesting to have students do a compare and contrast exercise? They would really only have to jot down notes as they do it, then we could get them onto PostIts and categorize each of them into “hit”, “miss”, “huge success”, “big failure”, “good try”, “could be better” and “what were they thinking?” These are all ways we personally evaluate innovations. Things we could use for this exercise:

(1) Y2E2 vs the Huang Building,
(2) Y2E2 vs an older building on campus,
(3) Coke vs Pepsi,
(4) Chinese language vs English language,
(5) iPad vs iPhone (or something similarly techie but audience would want to learn more about)