Design is for life

Quote for the day:

Parents look at their children today when they are 3 years old and say “Oh god!, He doesn’t know how to operate the computer! How is he going to go ahead like this?” They should instead be worried if their child doesn’t know design. They should say, only if he knows design he will be fit to live on this earth, under the sun! — R. K. Joshi

Read the complete interview or read my memorial to RK.

And the winner is…

The Oscars got one thing right tonight: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for the song, Falling Slowly from the movie Once. I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago, during my trip to New Orleans, and loved every moment of it. I heard that they had been nominated for best song (or whatever the technical term was for the category) and I was rooting for them… and checking the CNN website a few minutes ago discovered that they had won! Continue reading →

Disciplined Thinking

One of the key aspects of the TPCK framework is the manner in which disciplinary knowledge interacts with pedagogy and technology. Till this date I did not have an adequate way of discussing how disciplinary knowledge and pedagogy interact, that is until I came across Janet Donald’s book Learning to Think: Disciplinary Perspectives.
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Acts of Translation

I recently finished reading three books: A case of Two Cities by Qiu Xialong, A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, and Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations by Alexander McCall Smith. These are three very different books. The first two are novels and the third is a collection of short stories. Also, I have read other books by Xialong and Murakami (in fact I have blogged about one of them, the last book I had read by Murakami here) and this is the first book by McCall Smith that I have read (though I have been eying his series on The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency for a while). Despite these differences, both in their content, and in my experience with the authors, all three books, in one way or the another, have to do with the joys and perils of translation – the process of movement from one place to another, of ideas and emotions, across individuals, nations and cultures. Continue reading →

Technology & research

Patrick Dickson just forwarded an article in the APA Monitor titled Beyond chalk and talk, in which Art Graesser, the new editor of Journal of Educational Psychology, indicates an openness to including more technology related articles in JEP. Patrick argued that this means that JEP could be a good site for future publications by faculty and graduate students in educational technology. I am not so sure.
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Sketches of life

I have had a Wacom tablet for a while now but haven’t really gotten down to playing with it… till a couple of days ago. I started with rough drawings / sketches of friends and family. Take a look and let me know what you think…. You can click on the images to see larger versions on Flickr.

Soham Jayni Matt Shreya Smita
Soham Jayni Matt Shreya Smita

And just in case you think I drew these from scratch… not at all. All I did was trace over existing photographs.

Seeing patterns with eyes closed

Oliver Sacks has a fascinating piece in today’s NYTimes (titled Patterns, as a part of his NYTimes blog, Migranes, perspective on a headache). Oliver Sacks describes the visual auras he has suffered through his life as follows:

tiny branching lines, like twigs, or geometrical structures covering the entire visual field: lattices, checkerboards, cobwebs, and honeycombs. Sometimes there were more elaborate patterns, like Turkish carpets or complex mosaics; sometimes I saw scrolls and spirals, swirls and eddies; sometimes three-dimensional shapes like tiny pine cones or sea urchins.

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Harvard Open Access update

An update to my previous posting regarding Harvard adopting a open access requirement to all it faculty. It seems that the proposal has been approved. See this news story on the Chronicle.com website.

Stuart M. Shieber, a professor of computer science at Harvard who proposed the new policy, said after the vote in a news release that the decision “should be a very powerful message to the academic community that we want and should have more control over how our work is used and disseminated.”

Breaking free of academic publishers

It appears that the arts and sciences faculty at Harvard are considering publishing all their scholarship freely online. Here is a NYTimes story titled At Harvard, a Proposal to Publish Free on Web. This is truly wonderful news and long overdue. I have been doing this, at a personal level, through my website, for a long time – but have always felt a bit concerned about my legal standing. My solution has been to not make a big song and dance about it… though I have always faced questions about this at the Survive and Thrive sessions I have done for junior faculty. And I have never really had a very good answer.

I guess now I do.
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TPCK book signing

One of the important events at the New Orleans AACTE meeting was the release of the TPCK Handbook for Educators and the book signing. This was the first time I had ever participated in a book signing and it was great fun. Here are some photographs from the event…

Click on the images to see all the pictures …
From left to right: Joel Colbert, (the missing) Matt Koehler, Punya Mishra, Kamili Anderson, Nancy DePlatchett, Marcela van Olphen, and Mario Kelly.

AACTE Major Forum Presentation

I include below a copy of the AACTE Major Forum presentation (announcement here) that I made at New Orleans on Saturday, February 9. There were other things that I participated in (as listed here) and I will post about them later. Matt was supposed to do this talk (as part of our standard exchange program) but he fell sick and I had to end up doing this. I too the draft we had developed jointly and made two fundamental changes. First, was tweaking it to match my style of presentation, and second, I wanted to dedicate this talk to R. K. Joshi, maybe the most influential teacher I have ever had. The latter took a bit more work but I think I managed to pull it off so that this dedication would integrate smoothly with the other issues and look tacked on.

Joel Colbert introduces each of the presenters and we went in the following sequence. Continue reading →

RK, calligrapher, designer, teacher


R.K. Joshi
1936 – 2008

R. K. Joshi was a calligrapher, typographer, artist, type-designer, and teacher. He has been maybe the greatest influence on me and what I do as a designer and teacher. And I know I am not alone. He influenced a generation or more of designers in India and elsewhere.

I got to know RK (as he was known) when I was a student at the Industrial Design Center, at IIT Mumbai. Continue reading →

Hotels & the internet

A while ago David Pogue, NYTimes tech columnist and reviewer, asked a his readers a series of questions that he hadn’t been able to find an answer for. This list, called Pogue’s Imponderables, generated a lot of comments from readers. One of his questions was “Why is Wi-Fi free at cheap hotels, but $14 a night at expensive ones?”

I have had some opportunity to ponder this question during my stay at the Hilton Riverside at New Orleans. Continue reading →

Value in an age of free…

What happens when an economy “built on selling precious copies” suddenly confronts the world of the Internet – a world based on the “free flow of free copies?” Kevin Kelly confronts this issue in a recent post titled, Better than free. As he says, “how does one make money selling free copies?”

He suggests that we need to look at the issue from the point of view of the user (why would we ever pay for anything that we could get for free?) and through this identifies some key qualities that cannot be copied. Continue reading →

Going crazy with i-Image

In a previous post I had described David Wong‘s ideasarecool.com website and his idea of making i-Images. As David describes them, i-Images are “professional, provocative images that seize the viewer’s attention and, more importantly, spark their imagination.”

Anyway, after he shared some of his i-Images with me, including one that was based on a photo taken by me, I got bitten by the i-Image bug and have created a few… Continue reading →

Ideas are cool

My colleague and friend David Wong has this cool idea, about making ideas cool. Actually, he has been espousing these ideas for a while now (check out his scholarly publications, in particular The Rebirth of Cool [Word doc]). But now this academic has stepped out of his ivory tower, and in collaboration with Regina Carey has set up this website ideasarecool.com. As their website says:

Our purpose is to make school ideas cool. Cool ideas spark the imagination and stir our feelings. They cause us to stop what we’re doing, look more closely, share with our friends, and, perhaps, be forever changed. If an iPod can become something that everyone talks about and enjoys being with, why can’t an idea do the same?

Here is an i-Image David just emailed me, based on a photo I had taken many years ago. You can find out more about i-Images, and their creative ideas for using them, from their website…


Click on image for larger version

Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Alien Games

A journal article on games and gender, that has been years in the making is finally going to see the light of day! The complete reference and abstract can be found below. Drop me an email if you would like a copy.

Heeter, C., Egidio, R., Mishra, P., Winn, B., & Winn, J. (accepted). Alien Games: Do girls prefer games designed by girls? Games & Culture Journal. Continue reading →

Introducing Matt ‘n Punya

Joel Colbert is coordinating the AACTE special forum on TPCK and will be introducing all the speakers and leading the discussion after the presentations. He asked each of the speakers to send him a short introductory blurb that he could use to introduce us. This is what I sent him, about Matt and myself.Continue reading →