Goodbye 2016, Welcome 2017


Since 2009, our family has made short videos to welcome the new year. These videos are great fun to create, often requiring days of discussion, planning, construction, shooting and editing. They are always typographical in nature, often with a visual twist or illusion. We have no budget to speak of—$10 is around as much as we have ever spent. Below is our latest effort, titled Perspective, shot on our dining table with a budget of around 7 dollars. Enjoy, and yes have a great 2017.

Perspective: Goodbye 2016, Welcome 2017
From Shreya, Soham, Smita & Punya


Those interested can see videos from the years past by going to
Illusory New Year Videos

How was this done? 

Continue reading →

Happy Hanukkah: New Ambigram

In keeping with the holiday theme (see Christmas ambigram below) it seemed appropriate to create a design for Hanukkah. That task actually turned out easier than I had expected – with some natural symmetries that I could take advantage of. The “U” at the center, and the “HA” start paralleled with the “AH” end – just asked to be ambigrammed! If only all words were this easy. A few tweaks later, here is a mirror symmetric design for Hanukkah. Enjoy.


Merry Christmas!


What better way to wish everybody Merry Christmas than with a custom ambigram. The design above, reads Christmas when reflected in a mirror (a wall-reflection) or from either side of the page. For instance imagine printing it on a glass door – it would read the same from either side of the door! Jon Good, my former doctoral student at MSU, created a 3D printed version (shown in the photos below). I think it would make an awesome Christmas Tree ornament – since it would read the same even as it rotated freely when hanging from the tree.



Note: Full disclosure, this technically is NOT a new design. I actually created this a couple of years ago – but since I hadn’t posted it on to the blog, I consider it as being a “new” design.

Structured Improvisation with Keith Sawyer: New Article on Creativity

improv-eImprov(e) Design by Punya Mishra

In this article, in our ongoing series on Rethinking technology & creativity in the 21st centurywe interview Dr. Keith Sawyer, Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and one of the most prominent scholars of creativity. In this interview, Dr. Sawyer speaks to the social and collaborative nature of creative work as a form of structured improvisation. Read the complete article below:

Henriksen, D., & Mishra, P., (2016). Between Structure and Improvisation: A Conversation on Creativity as a Social and Collaborative Behavior with Dr. Keith SawyerTech Trends (61)1.

Note: As anyone who follows my blog knows that I love to play with visuals and typography. The “Improv(e)” visual at the top of the page was one I came up with while writing this blog post. Below the jump are a couple of ideas that didn’t make the cut – but I wanted to preserve none-the-less. In each of these the idea is to convey something about the ideas in the Sawer interview – specifically around structured improvisation. Enjoy.

Continue reading →

TPACK & ASU in USDE policy brief


The US department of Education recently released a policy brief, titled: Advancing Educational Technology in Teacher Preparation. As they describe it

This policy brief identifies key challenges and solutions to the effective integration of technology in teacher preparation, provides guiding principles on how to move the field toward effective integration of technology in teacher preparation programs, and identifies areas of opportunity and collaboration for stakeholders across the field.

Speaking selfishly, as a researcher and as a member of the leadership team at Arizona State, I have to point out two key references made in the report.

The first, speaks to my research (a collaborative effort with Matthew Koehler at MSU), namely the TPACK framework. Within the context of one of the key principles described in the report, that of “building sustainable, program-wide systems of professional learning” the report says:

To create expert teachers, preparation programs may find it helpful to incorporate a combination of skills and knowledge often referred to as TPACK: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Graduates should be able to incorporate a solid knowledge of content matter, a deep understanding of how students learn, and a practical facility with technology.

Second, is the reference in the report to some exemplary work being done under the leadership of one my colleagues, Teresa Foulger, here at ASU. As the report states:

Teresa Foulger, an associate professor at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, is leading a working group of educational technology faculty-researchers to develop a set of competencies for use by teacher educators in teacher preparation. The goal of the Teacher Education Technology Competencies (TETC) project is to define the knowledge, skills, and behaviors of higher education faculty who support pre-service teachers in learning to teach with technology. The competencies are being created using crowdsourced scholarly literature as a base, then a collaborative Delphi methodology where input is attained from an international base of teacher educators and content experts. The research team plans to release the competencies in Spring 2017.

Teresa recently presented her work in this area at a meeting at the White House!

TPACK newsletter #31,

Tpack ambigram logo

The latest version of the TPACK newsletter (#31) can be found here December 2016 (pdf). All previous issues are archived here. A shout-out to Judi Harris for all the work that goes into this. As I had said in a previous post, based on Judi’s numbers, the work on TPACK continues to grow. As per Judi, there are 665 articles, 199 book chapters, 23 books, 182 dissertations around TPACK.

* Image: TPACK ambigram created for a t-shirt



Update on “The TPACK story” Or “Oops!”


I had recently posted a video of my talk fall Doctoral Research Forum for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College on the ASU West campus. As I had written in my post, “I thought it best to speak about the role of theory in research. This is something that troubles graduate students a lot as they move through the program (and I have posted about it earlier here and here). I contextualized the discussion within the history of the work that Matt Koehler and I did in developing the TPACK framework.”

Following the post, I received a lovely email from Judi Harris complimenting me on the talk, but also pointing out few gaps in the story that I had told. With her permission, for the sake of getting the story right, I am including relevant excerpts from her email (with some comments/responses from me embedded in between. This would also be the right moment to thank Judi for her service to the broader scholarly community – through her work with the TPACK newsletter (issues archived here) and the TPACK sig. TPACK would not have been as influential  without her unstinting efforts. Her email and my responses below:

Continue reading →

Introducing David Pogue


My college (The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College) was one of the sponsors of the Arizona School Board Association Annual Conference. As a part of this, we got the privilege to introduce and have lunch with the keynote speaker. As it turns out the keynote speaker this year was David Pogue – and it fell to me to introduce him to the attendees. I have been a huge fan of his for a long time, and in fact still miss his presence at the New York Times, so I put in some effort to create something that would be fun (for both the people in the audience and for David as well). I, of course, created a new ambigram for the occasion… anyway you can see the short introductory video (that I edited to my recorded comments), the ambigram and a picture with the speaker himself with the ambigram! Enjoy.

Continue reading →

What we educators get wrong about 21st century learning: New article

Click on diagram to download a hi-res version

Back in 2013 we proposed a framework for 21st century learning based on a synthesis of a range of reports, books, and articles (Kereluik, Mishra, Fahnoe & Terry, 2013 & diagram above). That article however was relatively abstract and what was unclear was whether this framework was consistent with what educator really think. This article provides the results of a survey on what educators think about 21st century learning. The results are thought-provoking—and we argue in some senses deeply misguided. We identify are three key myths about 21st century learning and suggest that these emerge as a consequence of an unreflective emphasis on the power of technology to access information as well as a fundamental misunderstanding of the very nature of learning and the broader goals and purposes of education. Complete reference, pdf of article and abstract below.

Continue reading →

Why Theory: Or the TPACK story

Note: There is an update / correction to this post which
can be found here: Update on “The TPACK story” or “Oops!

I was recently invited to speak at the fall Doctoral Research Forum for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College on the ASU West campus. (A bit more context about the event, from a couple of years ago, can be found in a blog post by my colleague Sherman Dorn titled “Observations from a Doctoral Research Forum“). In speaking with Craig Mertler, who directs the EdD program here, I thought it best to speak about the role of theory in research. This is something that troubles graduate students a lot as they move through the program (and I have posted about it earlier here and here). I contextualized the discussion within the history of the work that Matt Koehler and I did in developing the TPACK framework. This was a fun talk to create and share. I created a narrated video of the slides of the talk, embedded below:

Note: There is an update / correction to this post which
can be found here: Update on “The TPACK story” or “Oops!

Happy Thanksgiving

 I feel lucky (and quite undeserving) for all that I have been given in this life. It is no surprise that Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. To celebrate Thanksgiving 2016 here is a new version an ambigram that I had made before.


Infinite Regress: New ambigram / visual pun


You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity… The path that you are to take is endless, and you will die before you have truly awakened — Jorge Luis Borges

Borges’ quote of reality being a dream within a dream within a dream for ever and ever brings to mind the idea of infinite regress. This is the same as the hall of mirrors effect—the  infinite reflections one generates when one places two mirrors parallel to each other—the same object repeated over and over and over. A similar idea can be seen in the design by “Whirlpools” design by M. C. Escher (above) where he combines one of his signature tessellations into two infinite spirals – spiraling inward forever.

These ideas led to my coming up with a new design for the idea of “infinite regress.” I have created many ambigrams to represent the idea of infinity (click here for examples) but this one is different in that it is a visual pun: The design itself is a 180-degree rotational-chain ambigram of the word “regress” mapped onto the universal symbol for infinity — hence “infinite regress.”


A new understanding of our confusion: Chapter on STEM education in Chicago

Reflection ambigram of “Chicago”

Over the past two-and-a-half years we have worked with STEM educators in Chicago Public Schools as part of the MSUrbanSTEM project. We have presented about this project at a few conferences over the past few years, and now we have our first publication. I am particularly happy with the title of the paper, an homage to one of my favorite poems, In broken images by Robert Graves. Complete reference, abstract given below:

Seals, C., Horton, A., Berzina-Pitcher, I., & Mishra, P. (2016). A New Understanding of our Confusion: Insights from a Year-Long STEM Fellowship Program. In C. Martin & D. Polly, (Eds). Handbook of Research on Teacher Education and Professional Development. Hershey, PA. IGI Global. 582-604.Continue reading →

Math & Visual Wordplay: New video


The word “math” written such that it has rotational symmetry
i.e. it reads the same even when rotated by 180-degrees.

The relationship between mathematics and visual wordplay is one I have played with and writing about for a while (More here). I just discovered a YouTube video of a talk given by my partner-in-crime Gaurav Bhatnagar at a Math Ed conference (TIME 2015) in India, titled: On Punya Mishra’s mathematical ambigramsContinue reading →

Neuroscience, downtime and creativity: New article


In this article, in our ongoing series on Rethinking technology & creativity in the 21st centurywe interview Dr. Jung. Dr. Jung is a neuro-psychologist, brain imaging researcher, and a clinical professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico. He started his graduate career interested in issues of intelligence… With time, however, Dr. Jung increasingly came to realize that intelligence was not enough to explain the vast array of human capabilities—particularly to issues such as creativity and innovation. For this reason, he has devoted the second decade of his career to better understanding creative cognition from a neuroscientific perspective. He speaks to three key ideas that (a) creativity can be cultivated; (b) it is (in)disciplined in nature – in that it requires both deep knowledge of a field as well as a willingness to step of the the discipline; and finally that (c) creativity needs downtime. Read the complete article below:

Mehta, R., Mishra, P., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2016). Downtime as a key to novelty generation: Understanding the neuroscience of creativity with Dr. Rex JungTech Trends (60)6.


Rethinking technology & creativity, now in paper form!

Tech Trends Covers Tech Trend Article photos

For the past 4 years, the Deep-Play group has written a series of articles for the journal Tech Trends under the broad rubric of Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century. The first article was published in 2014 and we are still going strong. Over that time we have written 23 articles with 4 more in various stages of preparation. Writing these articles has been a wonderful experience, allowing all of us to play with ideas and, most importantly, to keep writing. There is a lot to be said for the discipline required to meet a deadline every two months.

The interesting thing is that in all these years, I have never held any of these 20+ issues of the journal in my hand. Not once. That changed this morning when I got into my office – and there was a packet with the past 4 issues – each with an article in the series. I must say it felt good to hold those volumes and skim through them. So I guess despite my digital dependence, there still is something special in seeing your name in print, or actually touching a “real” journal

For those interested the entire series is here: Rethinking Technology and Creativity


TPACK Newsletters (#28, #29 & 30)


In the rush of summer and the move to Arizona I missed posting #28 and #29 of the TPACK newsletter, and before I knew it, #30  was here as well. Well here are links to the PDFs of all three newsletters

Once again thanks to Judi Harris for all the work that goes into curating these resources and putting them together on a regular basis. All previous issues of the newsletter can be found here

The song remains the same: Old article holds true even today

As I dig through my Research Gate requests I realize that I have missed out on putting some of my articles onto my website. Here is another one (and on a side note, it never hurts to make a Led Zeppelin reference in your paper – actually the paper starts with a quote from the band!):

Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J., & Kereluik, K. (2009). The song remains the same: Looking Back to the Future of Educational Technology. TechTrends, 53, 5. p. 48-53.

Continue reading →

The process of design: A quote

I have been a huge fan of Bill Atkinson, creator of MacPaint, one of the key players in developing the GUI for the original Macintosh including coming up with things as the double-click, the menu bar, marquee selection and lots of interface ideas we take for granted today. His most impressive achievement, personally speaking, was Hypercard, which more than anything is responsible for my getting into the field of educational technology. So when I came across this quote below, about the design process, I felt the need to create a visual design to better represent it. Here is the quote, and the design below (you can click on it to get a larger version).

The process of [software] design really is one where you start with a vague notion of what you’re trying to make, and that vague notion slowly congeals and gets better defined. As you work with it more, it gets to the point where it is something, but as you try it you realize, “You know, I’ve kind of missed the mark here. This is sort of what I want to do, but what I really want is more like that! — Bill Atkinson 



By Design & by Chance: New Publication

Dinner in Bangalore with some of the key
members of the MSU-APU partnership *

One of the highlights of my career at MSU was the partnership we built between the College of Education and the Azim Premji University / Azim Premji Foundation. This partnership now nearing 6 years has transformed my life in many ways and has led to some powerful and deeply meaningful friendships. It has been a wonderful journey and, as in life, some of what happened was planned and some of it sort of just happened. So, it is no surprise that when we wrote a book chapter about this partnership we titled it  By Design and by Chance: The Story of One International Partnership (reference, abstract and link below):

Continue reading →

Ganesh, new ambigram, & old video

One of the big parts of my life over the past decade or more, has been the Ganesh Festival celebrations in Lansing with friends and family—Good food and good times. Of course this year I have to miss all the fun – being here in Phoenix. I have kept up with all the activities vicariously – by email and text messages, but it is not the same. So I decided to dust off an old ambigram I had created and polish it to share with my Lansing-area friends. This is a 180-degree, rotational chain ambigram for the word “Ganesh” that can be read left to right, from the top or the bottom! Enjoy.

[More about the mathematics underlying ambigrams can be found here. More about the Ganesh festival here. Hi-res version of image to print here]

ganeshGanesh is also one of the most fun deities in the Hindu pantheon and one of the most creatively represented. A few years ago I had made a video about the multiple representations of Ganesh. Watch The many manifestations of Ganesha below:


Multitasking & the learner: New publication


One of the myths of the new digital generation is that they are natural multi-taskers. The evidence, however, indicates that multi-tasking is detrimental to performance and success, and  though we may try delude ourselves, the fact of the matter is that, we do worse on most measures of performance while multi-tasking. How can this be corrected? One approach that makes sense is to improve awareness of this finding.  But does increasing aware of this problematic phenomenon actually help reduce multitasking? This study, led by doctoral student Colin Terry, seeks to answer this question:

Continue reading →

Hello ASU


Today is my first official day at Arizona State University. Though I have been here in the Phoenix area for a few days already, I truly start today. As I had written in my earlier post, I will be the new Associate Dean for Scholarship (as in scholarly and research activities) at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College here at ASU. I will also be a professor in the Division of Academic Leadership & Innovation.


I am both excited and nervous about this new opportunity but overall I am looking forward to this next stage in my career. My website will be moving soon to a new hosting service – but the address should still work. I want to thank the people here at ASU and Dave Dai’s team at MSU for making this website transition relatively smooth (at least so far).

My email address will change of course – my new address is Punya.Mishra[at], though I do check my address on a somewhat regular basis.

Goodbye MSU!


I started working at Michigan State University on the 15th of August, 1998. Today exactly 18 years later I bid MSU farewell to take up a new position as Associate Dean of Scholarship at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College atArizona State University.

These last 18 years have been wonderful, both personally and professionally. MSU is where I came into my own as a scholar and researcher. Michigan was where we settled down and built a network of close friends and colleagues. My son was 2 when we moved here and my daughter was born a year later. He is today a junior at the other university in Michigan and she is a senior in high school. Wonderful years! Michigan State University (and the state of Michigan) have been home, intellectually, socially and personally.

I know for sure that a part of me will always be a Spartan, will always be a Michigander.

It is impossible to capture these past 18 years in a few words, so many wonderful memories created and so people, friends and colleagues, to thank, so I will not even try. I will just say, you know who you are, and know that I treasure all the wonderful times we had together. Thank you for being part of this journey. Know, also, that I will miss you.

… but also remember that these days we are all a click or a phone call away. So keep in touch.

The tensions inherent in creativity: Interview with Mark Runco


The next article in our series (Rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century) for the journal Tech Trends is now available online. This article has an interview with Dr. Mark Runco, Distinguished Research Fellow of the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, a Professor at the University of Georgia, and an internationally recognized scholar of creativity. Read more by following the link below:

Richardson, C., Mishra, P., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2016). Navigating the Tensions Inherent in Understanding Creativity: An Interview with Mark RuncoTech Trends (60)5, 415-418.

TPACK in Spanish

Back in 2013 we (Koehler, Mishra and Cain) published an updated version of an article on TPACK.

Koehler, M. J., Mishra, P., & Cain, W. (2013). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)Journal of Education (193)3, 13-20.

This article was then picked up, translated into Spanish and published in the journal Virtualidad, Educación y Ciencia (Virtuality, Education and Science). Complete citation and link below:

Koehler, M.J., Mishra, P., & Cain, W. (2015). ¿Qué son los Saberes Tecnológicos y Pedagógicos del Contenido (TPACK)? Virtualidad, Educación y Ciencia, (6)10. [Alternatively  you can access is directly at]