Welcome to my MSU MAET Digital Portfolio of work

Hello and welcome!

This site contains various work I completed in my time going through Michigan State Universities Masters of Arts in Educational Technologies, or as put above, MSU’s MAET program.  Follow the tabs above to see each body of work. Each tab’s contents are in descending order from most recent at the top and first post at the bottom.

 

Year One-  This tab contains work from my first years worth of classes.  The classes were  CEP 810, 811 and 812.  These class’s was tough as a Hybrid course where the students meet face to face in the beginning then transitioned to all online.

 

Year Two-This tab contains work from my second years worth of classes.  The classes were  CEP 800, 815 and 822.  These class’s, like those above in year one, was tough as a Hybrid course where the students meet face to face in the beginning then transitioned to all online.

 

CEP 818:Creativity in Teaching and Learning- This class was a all online course dedicated towards fostering creativity in education.  They type of fostering was focused towards teachers becoming more flexible with creative problem solving, AKA using unorthodox methods to solve a problem, diving deeper into our stile of teaching, seeing what we need improvement upon and how to do so, and also creating a environment for both us, the teacher, and the students where in they take chances and learn from their successes and mistakes.

Module 8: Synthesizing

Creativity, what is it and how does one obtain it or tap into it?  These are questions that myself and many others have asked themselves for years yet there is no “equation” or “floor plan” that lays out creativity in a simple way.  Webster defines creativity as “the ability to make new things to think of new ideas” * While Webster’s definition is clear and concise it is lacking… well… creativity!  It gives a reader the bare bone building blocks for what creativity is, and with a definition like that it would be hoped that an individual could decipher that this is only the beginning of a journey to understanding creativity because it is much more than a definition.  From this one could, and should, use as this as a foundation to build upon because creativity is not the answer, but the journey and what is learned through it.

In my personal journey through Root-Bernstine’s Spark of Genius: The Thirteen THinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People I felt like I discovered a lot about the topic of creativity and its connection to my educational subject area, art.  For the book I did seven modules that connect to the main trans-disciplinary connections of creativity in which I did various summarizations, interpretations, and even synthesizing into connecting creative projects.

the first of those was Module 1: Veja Du.  For this the general idea was to look at things we see on a daily basis and think about them differently.  We were engaged in this by taking pictures of one of those said objects from different views.  Everyday objects and their various uses area something a creative person does not underestimate, a “normal” person may see an object and only think of its intended use, but a creative person looks at and finds many different uses for it.  This includes breaking the object down, looking at “what makes it tick”, and then re assembling it in a different fashion, or even just using a few of the “parts”.  The main idea that I am trying to get to is that for this a creative person takes an everyday object and finds other uses for it as a whole, just using bits and pieces of it, or even building upon the original design and making a brand new object better than what it was before, and this sets a tone for what a creative individual can achieve!

The second was Module 2: Perceiving.  This section built upon the first and had me delve into thinking about thinking, well not just thinking but how myself and others think, learn, and make better.  For this topic I talked about my connection, or more accurately my lack thereof, to Pop Art.  I discussed my understanding of the topic and how I perceive(d) it, how I personally was not a fan but had to be somewhat knowledgeable of it so that I could teach it.   Through this I started to look at how I looked at the topic, how my generalizations and misconceptions skewed my perception, now that I had broken that down I could now start reconstructing it into a better viewpoint. After going through all these modules I can really start to see that is the greatest way to look at perceiving, and with that I would define it and how I used it as such: Perceiving helps one break down the old and discover new fascinating ways to use something in order to make strides in making one’s self, surroundings, and almost anything else better!

Next came Module 3: Patterning.  Cognitive patterning is a very interesting topic that yielded fascinating connections.  Through this I discovered that a large part of understanding patterning was not just doing, but discovering.  This helped me appreciate the usefulness of “play” in education.  There are plenty of times when teachers, myself included, look at a time frame of a lesson and break it into due dates, creating a road map to what we think is total understanding and application, but sometimes that is actually farther from the truth then we would think.  Just going in there and teaching a students about something does not mean that they are engaged, and even having them view, or even participate, in a step by step demonstration still does not fully cement in knowledge.  This does not mean that the information is boring, or even being taught improperly, but instead shows us that sometime allowing for a little time to give the students a topic, medium, or program and letting them play around with it will make them more vested because they are discovering the information for themselves.  So in summary, Cognitive Patterning has shed light into the workings of the mind, illuminating the importance of “play” rather than just structured teaching, this “play” makes students more interested and engaged because they feel as if they have been put in the driver’s seat and are no longer a passenger in the journey towards higher understanding.

For Module 4: Abstracting my goal was to look at my connections to different fields of thought, theories, topics and how they work with my viewpoints.  In our reading the chapter(s) on abstracting gave examples about connecting original topic A with new topic B, for example harmonics and music with the study of atoms.  Combining the more scientific fields with that of the arts is something people don’t take into consideration enough, or even really realize!  An artist has touched almost everything we use and interact with on a daily basis, from the chair we sit in to the decadent meals we eat, artists spent countless hours combining two or more fields to create something new, interesting, and most importantly usable.  For me I made my connection between Science and my field Art in the form of screen printing.  There is quite a bit of science that is in the arts, from the mixing of chemicals for photo emulsion (used in screen printing) to thermal expansion and contraction in clay (when baked in a kiln).  So honestly when reading a and reflecting about this there was a lot that just made sense to me!  So in summary: Abstracting is about making connections that seems unusual but end up yielding greater answers and theories.

Module 5: Embodied Thinking was one of the readings and theories that I found to be the most interesting and eye opening.  In it discussions about the body, its uses, limitations, and acknowledgement of both of these helped me discover and understand incorporating the body’s muscle memory into the thinking process.  As stated earlier, actually experiencing a topic through doing and interacting is something that is very important in development of concrete knowledge, this exploration helped me take that idea and take a personal step further into understanding and application.  Once again the inner artist and educator clashing against each other came to light during this reading and research, making me force awareness of myself.  Being aware of yourself, what you can and can not do, helps one evaluate these and find areas to grow in.  WIth this I thought of the Pop Art example of Ready Mades, a art piece that is a found object.  The personal artist in me does not really like these, but the educator in me once again needed to understand them enough to teach lessons about them.  WIth that I looked at my current knowledge base and experiences and found areas that i could improve upon.  WIth these improvements through personal practice and research I felt as if I was able to find connections that made me more comfortable with the topic. So I would say that Embodied Thinking makes one look at their current knowledge and skill base and self assess where improvements can be made, through these experiences can e had that will widen a person’s horizons.

Next was Module 6: Modeling and in it the idea of creating models so that one might manipulate it in order to find new and interesting ways to creatively problem solve were discussed.  During this part I referenced back to a previous artistic theory, the act of removal.  This module both challenged it while pointing out the good ideas that it represented.  THe act of removal starts off with the idea being the purest form, something that can be instantly changed, also allowing for the thinker to do things that physically could not be achieved in reality.  ONe example of this that was covered in our reading was when they talked about the engineer that was posed a question and could answer it almost immediately because all he had to do was imagine it in his head and do the task that was being asked in order to find the final solution.  The next level of removal was the drafting of the idea, this removed it from the purest form because it then forces the limitations of reality upon the idea.  The final level is the actual physical creation of the item, with this the limitations come to light and the idea ceases to be a “idea” but now is a “reality”.  The reading talks about Modeling being important because it allows for a person to manipulate and see limitations, which is true.  This challenged my original thought of removal learned in school, but it also let me incorporate the understanding that the “idea” really is the purest form for without that there could be no model!  So Modeling helps one develop an idea and incorporate it into a malleable item that can be manipulated in order to discover new and interesting pathways to solutions.

Now we come to the final module, Module 7: Playing.  As mentioned earlier, play holds a very important role in growth, it allows for one to discover the ins and outs of something in a relaxed setting.  This relaxed setting allows for a person to feel less stressed, which can make a motivated individual take chances that could yield great results.  Play is something I have been learning about throughout my entire time in the MAET program and has become one of my best tools in my educational and personal tool box!  I still remember when I had my “a-ha!” moment, leading up to that i felt frustration and lack of direction, but when I realized the amount of discoveries and quality of work it hit me, it was all me.  Playing made me realize that through flexibility and re-using previous knowledge in a new way I could do anything I put my mind to, all I had to do was try!

Through this educational journey I feel as if I have learned a lot about our topic(s), uses of theories and its application, and even a little about myself.  Without the use of all these learned pieces combined together in not only education, but every day life, society would cease to advance, so it is our job to spread the word and enlighten others so that they might find their own personal full potential!

Cites:

*Merriam-Webester.  http://beta.merriam-webester.com/dictionary/creativity

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Follow the link HERE to go to my elavator pitch ppt!

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Twitter post:

Creativity: making connections others don’t see, using out of box thinking to problem solve, Building a better tomorrow…Today!

 

Follow link HERE to original post!

Create “I”: Architecture of Space

The space(s) that I choose to write about two different areas my classrooms.  The first space is my teacher’s desk(s) in the computers class/lab where I teach.  It is a shared space with the other teachers that also teach computers classes in my middle school, so it is lacking any personal touch or flare.  The reason I choose this area instead is because of the lack of personal flare… now I know that this sounds odd but stay with me, there is a method to my madness!  In my personal art room I have many different things available to me, art supplies, books filled with resources, and even multiple devices that can access the internet and other cool programs that I can use to further myself in various different ways.  With all these resources at my fingertips why would I ever want to choose someplace different?  The reason for that is because the barren sterile area that is my shared classroom does not have a lot of those options open to me… I understand that having choices is important but sometimes having too many can be a distraction!  This is something that I have been aware of for years but have only recently started to be able to start to discover areas and settings that make me more productive.  The barren-ness helps me get focused and stay on task.  Now this paired with my personal art room, which is my second choice, it becomes a winning combination.  This then gives me a space to test theories, apply learned information and techniques, or just see what works and what does not.  So being able to start in a distraction free area then transfer that motivation to an totally stocked open room really helps me make some of the best creations I have!

Computers Class Room Space

Art Class Room Space

 

Punya Mishra and others article Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century: A Room of Their Own was an interesting article that helped reaffirm some old ideas and create some new ones about my creative space and how I use it.  In the article Mishra talks about the three different types of creative working spaces that various students worked in and the adjustments that were made in order to fit the class’s specific needs.  The configuration of the rooms were interesting and the integration of technology innovative, but the creative problem solving that both the students and the teachers is what really spoke to me.  The room had all necessary materials needed for everyone to be able to solve problems or create better solutions on the fly, this allowed for a cohesive environment that supported and enriched creative problem solving.  This is something I feel is prominent in my art room, which allows for my student’s and even me to grow and rise quickly to the task at hand. Creative spaces are not only needed, but necessary part of human development, having tools available for people to tinker with and find applications makes for a more productive and creative member of society!

 

 

 

 

 

Module 7: Playing

In Pop Art there are colors, LOTS of bold and vibrant colors.  Some of these are combined in various ways to create patterns and texture, a very important part of art.  With this it made me think about a exercies I already do but now take it and give it a healthy dose of “play”.  When doing my student teaching my mentor teacher did a lesson on textures and patterns, after the lesson he would have the students try out creating different textures with rubbings. Reading about the introduction of play and its ability to guide made me think fondly of this project, but also it made me think “how could I take this idea and give the students more control and opportunity to discover through actually doing something instead of just hearing about it…”.  That is when I designed a structured exercise where students go out of the room into the school and search for different types of textures that they can create rubbings from.  This gives students chances to find different types of textures and maybe even discover some other ones that I had not even thought of.  The exercise allows students to venture into interacting with the area around them, then finding and recognizing natural patterns and textures they walk past in their normal day to day actions.  They can then turn that spacial awareness into mental recognition and start to from patterns of their own.  from these patterns students can develop textures and create the illusion of them without the need of creating a rubbing of it.  this is necessary because in this project making a rubbing is impossible, thus making the need for developing the student’s ability to create texture themselves an important and necessary quality.

The reason I wanted to develop an interactive exercise like this is so that I can let the kids “take the wheel” in discovering answers and the various paths that lead them.  I feel as if experiences like this allow for the students to become more independent, making them more invested and confident in their own ability to creatively problem solve of take a chance that they normally would not have.  Without both of these students would be stuck at the level they are at and never make intellectual leaps forward.  The exercise plays on these qualities by giving the students little direction, yet still very structured, and sending them out into the world to find “answers”.  This exercise seems “low stakes” but actually works on informing, building upon previous knowledge, and allows for experimentation all without the fear of failing.  In saying that I do want to state that I believe that failure is a great experience that I want all my students to experience.  failure shows students their current boundaries, allowing them to self assess what works and what does not, then letting them creatively problem solve to blow past that barrier and turn that failure into a shining success!

Module 6: Modeling

In the world of education and learning creativity modeling has a big role to fill. Modeling allows a person to “play” with the basics of what makes up the thing(s) they are working with.  This play could possibly be the most important part of cognitive thinking for without it we would not have a lot of the things we do today!  Play works like a key, unlocking the dormant ideas and connections yet to be made, it lets a person manipulate and mold a object, find its limits, then build off of that.   

Modeling is very important tool for an artist, it allows for one to create a representation of their idea before the final is created.  This model representation can be altered to the artist’s specific wants and needs, either tweaking little parts to get it perfect or changing every aspect into a totally new creation.  This makes me think of my previous post about the thought process and the act of “removal”, having the idea be the purest form and the actual object being “removed” from the ideas pure easily manipulated form.  That is why an artist creates their own models, making a physical representation that can be pushed and pulled, media wise.  These dimensions go from the mental to physical, making play not only helpful but necessary if perfection, or its closest form, can be achieved.

For my graphical representation I decided to mix two art forms, take a topic and icon from the Pop Art era and combine it with another art style, a topographic portrait.  This just felt like an obvious choice because for a topographic portrait because it is literally done by building up layers upon layers.  This connection came to mind when reading about the DNA sequencing and modeling that was done by Watson and Crick, how they built real models and worked with them.  When looking at this it made me think about the 3D aspect of a topographic portrait, but I wanted to combine my project with that of the DNA sequencing, so I made my portrait not only topographic but as an exploded view like Watson and Crick’s model(s).  For those unfamiliar with what an “exploded view” it is a what they do technical drafting for machines.  Example below.  

exploded view

My muse for this art piece was an icon of the Pop era, Elvis.  Elvis was one of Andy Warhol’s favorite people to make representations of, others included Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, and other famous icons.

Project in progress:

Completed Project:


In conclusion the connection between the topic of graphical representation and art are one that comes naturally, and is necessary for success in an art piece.  This allows the artist to perfect their idea before starting on a larger scale, similarly to how Watson and Crick as well as many other scientists modeled the DNA sequence in order to find the perfect “fit” for all the pieces.  But for both parties, the work has only just started after a “solution” has been found.

Module 5: Embodied Thinking

When doing our required reading necessary for this part of the class I found the topic of embodied thinking to be quite interesting.  As an individual that tries to be aware of not only my surroundings but also I try to be aware of myself, IE what I’m doing, what I put into my body, and what I can do with my body.   So because of this personal interest I found a connection to this section of reading.   There were things that I was aware of as well as things that took what I knew and altered it for the better.  The whole idea that actions, reactions, basically EVERYTHING is in a sense was considered “muscle memory” was fascinating, but when thinking about a new and interesting way to connect this to my subject area is where I hit my metaphorical wall.  Art is already a very emotionally invested topic.  Thinking about how my subject area, especially my focused topic of Pop Art, can invest more was something that felt foreign to me.  Because of this I delved deep into Pop Art, doing personal research, looking at images, reflection on pieces I both liked and did not like, all of this until finally I felt I could start to make an informed choice on something I would like to “experience” in order to grow in my subject area.

As an artists I am very familiar with many different mediums, styles, and techniques and the manipulations i can do to them.  With art history and education I was also introduced to many theories, but unlike those physical processes I went through creating art pieces there was little application of theory I ran into during my undergrad time.  This where i had to go out and make my own experiences by visiting museums, talking with other artists, etc. in order to make growth in the theory of it all.  But because of this part being much more self guided I never really ventured into things that I had no interest in.  So for this module/topic I wanted to tackle a Pop Art style that I had very little understanding, experience, and even respect for so that I could maybe further my personal understanding and build up that said “muscle memory”.  The artist is Marcel Duchamp, and one piece that especially stuck out in my mind was his art piece R. Mutt.  R. Mutt was the name of one of his most famous “readymade” art pieces, a term I used to shutter at but now have replaced it with a better understanding.  “Readymades” were when an artist took an already existing item and SLIGHTLY altered it.  The idea behind it was not the art piece but more the idea it represented.  Duchamps R. Mutt was a men’s urinal that had the name “R. Mutt” written on it.  Duchamp did this to prove a point to his high class art friends and the rest of the art world.  Duchamp took this urinal and entered it into a local art showing under the name R. Mutt where he had his equals review it.  The reviews all followed the same style, disgusting, deplorable, and un imaginative.  It wasn’t until Duchamp stepped in and said “I made this” when they totally changed their tone and could not stop giving Duchamp praise for his new “masterpiece”.  The idea behind this was it was not the art piece, but the name behind it, and Duchamp thought that should not how art is.  This is a idea I totally agree with, but not the actions.  People look at at simplistic art, such as readymades, and say stuff like “well my kid could have done that!” and the teacher in me has to defend the art piece, even though I personally, as an artist, do not really like the art style.  So my working on the “muscle memory” caned description of readymades was something that I could improve by actually creating my own Readymade art piece. So for my art piece I took a picture of a broken snow shovel.  I did this because I had a personal connection to this object and scenario.  Last year when we had the really nasty winter I was out on one of the last heavy snow days shoveling my driveway, the snow was so heavy that it actually bent my snow shovel to a 90 degree angle. Obviously you can imagine the choice words I had for the situation, but one thing that stuck out to me was the thought “wow, what a perfect way to end winter…” The actual act of creating a readymade art piece was fascinating to me once I got into it.  When going through it I had to think about what object I would choose, why I was choosing it, and what I wanted it to mean.  Doing all this game me a personal connection to what I had done, therefore making me feel as if I could explain with more passion about the idea and theory behind readymade art pieces.

IMG_20151108_083722834

As I mentioned earlier growth was something that was a very important factor I took into consideration when making my choice.  I did this because it was not easy for me, there were other obvious options but I did not want to take the easy way out and choose them.  In doing that too felt as if I would have sounded like a broken record, and repeating the experience over and over does not help with growth if mastery has already been achieved.  Like the reading suggested re-doing something over and over again does help us create that “muscle memory” but if one continues with one area and does not diverge once they have plateaued their learning then what’s the point.  

Creative “I” part 2: Variations on a Theme

This article helped me see something that I have had for quite a long time, it just game me the tools to further it.  That quality is creative problem solving. Art is a fickle subject,  it can be extremely rewarding, freeing, relaxing, and be a powerful tool for reflection and growth… but along with that it can also be infuriating.  Art is a discipline that gives individuals a chance to find multiple ways to reach the same solution, but for some when prompted with different avenues the smorgasbord of options can become intimidating.  This is something I have had years of experience doing without even really noticing it!  As an individual I take my experience as an artist and combine that with my flexible personality and observational skills in order to help students, as well as friends and family, find the best fitting avenue to take towards the answer.  Putting out “fires” in class is something that teachers do more then most people know, and it can be an exhausting experience.  These various problems students have always seemed to be something that I have felt I have a good grasp of and excel in  as a teacher.  Like mentioned above combining my various experiences and backgrounds helps me do so.  My first year in the master’s program helped me discover this skill and start develop it.  Through its development I could apply it to various applicable situations. Through its application I will continue to nurture my natural proclivity towards creative problem solving!

The Cogs in the Brain, sung to the tune of the wheels on the bus.

the cogs in the brain go round and round, round and round, round and round.

the cogs in the brain go round and round creating new connections!

The varying of the experiences go up and down, go up and down, go up and down.

The varying of the experiences go up and down creating new connections!

A creative individual does not see their intuition as luck or fate, luck or fate, luck or fate.

A creative individual does not see their creativity as luck or fate which helps them create new connections!

A creative thinker tries to maximize their creative climate, maximize their creative climate, maximize their creative climate.

A creative thinker tries to maximize their creative climate which helps them create new connections!

People who have trouble making connections stare and blink blink blink, blink blink blink , blink blink blink.

People who have trouble making connections stare and blink blink blink failing to create new connections!

A person who learns across different disciplines ideas go zoom zoom zoom, zoom zoom zoom, zoom zoom zoom.

A person who learns across different disciplines ideas go zoom zoom zoom creating new connections!

A creative thinker combines old to new, combines old to new, combines old to new.

A creative thinker combines old to new which helps them create new connections!