frank's blog

Stunning! Award-Winning Teenage Science In Action

Posted in conference, ideas, inspiration by aldorf on January 14, 2012

In 2011 three young women swept the top prizes of the first Google Science Fair. At TEDxWomen Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah described their extraordinary projects– and their route to a passion for science.

The Hyper Island Way

Posted in ideas, inspiration, Media, quality by aldorf on September 19, 2011

5 Days in 5 Minutes – a video showing the inside story of the students’ process
with real briefs from real clients in a 5-day project assignment. This is Hyper Island.

Time is Money – “Ten in Three” Idea

Posted in architecture, conference, ideas, inspiration, internet by aldorf on July 27, 2011

There are numerous efforts in the non-profit sector to re-think the way people donate, but not many with a method quite so personal as Taylor Conroy’s. Ten In Three is his initiative to persuade groups of friends to contribute USD 10,000 in just three hours, to be put towards the construction of a new school in a disadvantaged area. Amazing and inspiring idea!

Remarkable Interview of HORT Founder Eike König

Posted in design, ideas, inspiration by aldorf on July 1, 2011

Remarkable interview of Eike König, the creator of a multi-disciplinary creative hub & playground named HORT in Berlin.
He talks about design, education, play and more. Plikums.lv got a chance to meet & talk with Eike König during his visit in Riga where he was invited by Latvian Art Directors Club to tell a little bit about his work and design.

350 Free Online Courses from Top Universities – Open Culture

Posted in conference, ideas, innovation, pioneers, web by aldorf on May 3, 2011

Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Free audio booksfree online coursesfree moviesfree language lessonsfree ebooks and other enriching content — it’s all here. Open Culture was founded in 2006.

The Internet And How It Effects Our Brain

Posted in ideas, web by aldorf on August 27, 2010
Cover of "The Shallows: What the Internet...

Cover via Amazon

An experiment of UCLA professor Gary Small showed that web surfers brain activity is far more extensive. Particular in areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with problem solving and decision-making.

Small concluded, “the current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate, but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”

When we go online we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, distract thinking and superficial learning. The Internet is turning us into shallower thinkers and changing the structure of our brain.

In the 1980′s people thought the introduction of hyperlinks would strenghten critical thinking, enable us to switch easily between different viewpoints – a technology of liberation.

But because it disrupts concentration it weakens comprehension. A study from 1989 showed that readers tended just to click around and could not remember what they had and had not read.

People, who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read hyperlinked text. It took the hypertext readers longer to read the document and found it confusing.

Whenever a link appears, your brain has at least make the choice not to click, which is itself distracting.

And more recent research suggests that links surrounded by images, videos, and advertisements could be even worse.

In a study text-only viewers answered significantly more questions correctly. They found the presentation more interesting, more educational, more understandable, and more enjoyable.

It’s single-minded and we can transfer information into our long-term memory that is essential to the creation of knowledge and wisdom.

While reading the information is flowing into our working memory. When the load exceeds, we are unable to retain the information or to draw connections with other memories. We can’t translate the new material into conceptual knowledge.

Numerous studies show that we read faster as we go online.

Problem is that many different kinds of media coming at us simultaneously.

Office workers often glance at their inbox 30 to 40 times an hour. And every time we shift our attention, the brain has to reorient itself. Increasing the likelihood that we’ll overlook or misinterpret important information.

But we want to be interrupted. Each interruption brings us a valuable piece of information. The neverending stream of new information also plays to our natural tendency to overemphasize the immediate. we crave the new even when we know it’s trivial.

We accept the loss of concentration, focus, and fragmentation of our attention. We rarely stop to think that it might actually make more sense just to tune it all out.

Web browsing strengthens brain functions related to fast-paced problem-solving, particular when it requires spotting patterns in a welter of data. But it would be a serious mistake to conclude the Web is making us smarter.

Patricia Greenfield explains “every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others. The development of visual-spatial skills is weakening deep processing.”

“By including the use of a new medium, we end up with a different brain. As we multitask online, we are training our brain to pay attention to the crap” (Michael Merzenich, pioneer of the field of neuroplasticity)

The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought.

In a metaphorical sense, we are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. We seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting.

———–

First thoughts after reading:

1) That’s what I like about the iPad. You are focused on one thing. There is no multitasking. That seems to me is a benefit and big advantage. It forces you to stick to one task.

2) Do not stop reading books!

3) Blogs and tweets repeat the same knowledge. Makes sense, so we have more chances to take the information in.

4) What is with people who will grow up just reading online sources and don’t know text without hyperlinks at all?

5) I will continue reading both, offline/ linear and online/ hyperlinked

6) Everyone has the choice, that skimming is not your dominant mode of thought.

———–

(adapted from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, discussed in Wired 6/2010.)

PS22 Chorus “Let There Be Peace On Earth” (BEAUTIFUL a capella)

Posted in music by aldorf on December 20, 2009

This Staten Island School Choir PS22 really rocks. You see 5th grader from a public elementary school here. Everybody remembers their version of “Viva La Diva” from Coldplay or Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”. These kids are amazing. Their passion for music and performance is outstanding. I wish I had a teacher like Gregg Breinberg. He does a tremendous job. And this one here is probably one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever hear. The chorus covers the Christmas traditional, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”.  Log on to their blog here or go to their youtube channel. Happy Holidays everybody!

Skateboarding in Kabul

Posted in ideas by aldorf on September 15, 2009

Watch Skateistan Trailer here.

skateistan

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