Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Divergent Thinking

According to a study, quoted by Sir Ken Robinson in a recent lecture called Changing Paradigms at the RSA, 98% of children between the ages of 3-5 are divergent thinking geniuses but only 2% of people over 25 are. I'm thinking that this guy is in that 2%

Don't you just wish you were five and he was your dad?


savannah said...

how cool was that? i'm sending the TED link to my daughter. i've also bookmared the page for myself! thanks, sugar! xoxo

scarlet-blue said...

Oh, I'd like to play!

Eryl Shields said...

Savannah ~ isn't it great, my son showed it to me, of course!? I've become addicted to TED in the last year or so, so many wild and exciting minds out there. You must check out the one where a guy does some amazing things with the remote for a Wii.

Scarlet ~ me too, and I'd love to take a sack load to the class of five year old budding writers I take, we'd have such fun.

PI said...

The bit where the sun came on and the tractor struck me as useful way of blocking a play.

debra said...

I also love the TED taks, Ery. Have you seen the one by Sir Ken Robinson?
It's fabulous.

Eryl Shields said...

Pat ~ In what game?

Debra ~ yes, I saw the Ken Robinson one on your blog and have watched it several times. Have you watched his RSA talk, it too is fabulous, he takes his argument further still.

PI said...

Sorry I wasn't clear. I meant when directing a play in the theatre it would help to arrange the moves of the actors, which we used to call blocking. At least I think it would. I'd have to try it.

debra said...

I tried to watch it last night but it wouldn't load. It's on my list for today. Thanks for the link. I loveSir Ken's POV and sense of humor.

Kim Ayres said...

So, if we take this up a stage to where the siftables are linked to Google, we could get it to randomly pull out a sentence related to a word we've just entered.

From that we use those words to pull out other related sentences. We then disgard repeats, shuffle them about and hey presto we've got a ready written blog post that we just have to pour into our page.


Eryl Shields said...

Pat ~ ooh, now I feel like I've got my foot in the door of an exclusive club with you as my gracious sponsor. Must make sure I don't belch over the entree and embarrass you.

Debra ~ better luck tonight I hope. Like you I'm a bit of a Sir Ken groupie.

Kim ~ indeed, though why discard repeats, they could make it much more interesting: like an iBlog shuffle.

PI said...

Eryl: the lot I mingled with were beyond embarrassment.

Conan Drumm said...

Very, very interesting.

I suppose it's a bit like the leap from DOS to GUI (graphical user interface) as happened in the early days of Apple/Microsoft. So this would be a sort of Spatial User Interface - further on from the tilt/turn software you get now on iPhones.

I do have two reservations. Firstly I think that the more tools we have to do things for us (digital as opposed to analogue tools) the less need we have to map the actual processes into our brains. So, to use a basic calculation as an example, we may learn 2+2=4 since it is calculated for us, but we may not learn HOW 2+2=4. We would learn in a symbolic way rather than in a concrete way.

The second reservation I have is with the way the presentation expresses these developments. In particular I pick up on the use of the words 'interactive' and 'aware'. They subtly confer processes of consciousness on the functionality of tools. I am not comfortable with that.

Dr Maroon said...

"Don't you just wish you were five and he was your dad?"

Dr Maroon said...

Conan is right!
does anyone remember those lovely dyed wooden blocks at primary school that were coloured according to their length 1 - 10? By making things the same length you could see how addition worked and relate the simple number theory analogicaly. Without the analogue imprint you cannot understand the four arithmetic operators.

Kanani said...

the less need we have to map the actual processes into our brains."
I think Conan is absolutely right.
But those ARE nifty blocks.

Brother Tobias said...

Good fun. Hexagons would be better (the figure with the most fully interlocking interfaces). I like the idea of 'conscious' interfaces. You can see potential in 'thinking' electrical and engineering components, which know when they are assembled appropriately. Or target aware weapons systems...

Eryl Shields said...

Pat ~ really, I bet you had fun then!?

Conan ~ so, are you expressing a modicum of unease at the notion that tools (digital) might be able to think for us (they are aware and they can interact to ensure they serve your every need!), and that could get us to a total non-thinking state and, therefore, rob us of the little power over our lives we have left? And these, because they seem to be aimed at the very young, could be the undoing of human consciousness altogether? If so, I see your point of view, though, I think they could be used for the opposite purpose too. I guess it depends on how we choose to use them: it's not the tools that are bad it's the people who have control of them.

Doc ~ no to what, that you were five, that he was your dad, or both? The four arithmetical...? you lost me at 'four' I've given up numbers. i do love the sound of dyed wooden blocks though.

Kanani ~ I do too, he is the voice of reason in my Tigger-like life. I still haven't succumbed to getting one of those digital talking maps you can get for your car, even though I get lost going to my best friends house, for the very reason Conan puts forward

Brother T ~ I like the idea of conscious interfaces too, and hope to see some round my kitchen table soon.

Conan Drumm said...

Eryl, it's not quite the "thinking for us" angle.

It's a sense I have that learning is a process, moving from the concrete to the symbolic. Having felt an oblong block in my hands I can visualise it and rotate it in my mind. I can look at a space in a room and know if the block will fit in it. That is because my learning mapped the three dimensions in my mind.

I'm probably not explaining this very well. I'm no mathematician (quite the contrary!) but I think what the good Dr is referring to is +, -, x and =.

I think that if we don't learn from the basics up then we don't learn or, to put it another way, we may lose some of the capacity for adaptative reasoning.

Provided there is an electrical supply anyone using a computer keyboard assumes that by pressing key 'a' a letter 'a' will appear on the screen, because that is the end result of a complex series of digital signals. It is a world away from pressing key 'a' on a typewriter and the letter 'a' appearing on a sheet of paper.

Everybody can understand the latter process, very few can understand the former one. In fact most people say, "As long as it works I don't need to know how it works." As long as it works.

PI said...

Conan:"As long as it works I don't need to know how it works." As long as it works.
That's me honyey;)

Eryl Shields said...

Conan ~ Now I see what you mean, you do explain it well too: the need to understand the concrete before you can make sense of symbols. I totally agree that one must fully experience with all the senses to learn, and wonder now if the lack of wooden blocks in my childhood is the reason I am completely at a loss when it comes to anything to do with numbers. I would say that I don't have a feel for numbers, they leave me cold. I've been looking at some research on the elements of learning, I'll do a post on it shortly, that ties in exactly with what you are saying.

Pat ~ does this mean you are never tempted to take your computer to bits to see how it all connects?

Conan Drumm said...

Look forward to that post.

Incidentally, as a child I took everything apart... cameras, electric motors, radios. Mostly they worked when I put them back together. Mostly.