What cathedral are you building?

Piers YoungLife2 Comments

I’ve been on a school trip to York these last few days. As you’ll know if you’ve been there, the Minster dominates the city. On a walk round the city walls, I was chatting with a 10-year old about the 250 years it took to build, from 1220 and 1472. We spoke about how many generations of one family it … Read More

An Epidemic of Listicles

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I like this excerpt from Krista Tippett’s interview with Maria Popova, curator of the wonderful Brain Pickings [Thanks to the Centre for Teaching] Culture needs stewardship, not disruption. … We seem somehow bored with thinking. We want to instantly know. And there’s this epidemic of listicles. Why think about what constitutes a great work of art when you can skim … Read More

Derek Cabrera and Teaching Thinking with DSRP

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Derek Cabrera  is an impressive character – superbright and does good social entrepreneur work.   He’s also decided that thinking can be taught with something called DSRP – Distinctions, Systems, Relationships, and Perspectives.  His new book “Thinking at Every Desk” looks interesting , especially in the knowledge that teachers like Jennifer Orr seem to be getting great results with it … Read More

Reinventing British manners the Post-It way

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Design thinking goes like this: firstly, immersion, whereby the designers research the problem by plunging themselves into it – talking to the people they're trying to help, working with them, interviewing experts. Secondly, synthesis – whereby they gather together their findings and look for patterns. Third, ideation – brainstorming solutions to the real problems identified by stage two. Then comes … Read More

Umberto Eco: The lost art of handwriting

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writing by hand obliges us to compose the phrase mentally before writing it down. Thanks to the resistance of pen and paper, it does make one slow down and think… It's true that kids will write more and more on computers and cellphones. Nonetheless, humanity has learned to rediscover as sports and aesthetic pleasures many things that civilisation had eliminated … Read More

Lateral thinking overrated

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a number of detailed reports of scientific discovery, artistic creativity, and invention are available, including Darwin’s notebooks on the development of his theory of evolution, Watson’s report of the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule, Picassos preliminary sketches for several of his most famous paintings, and Edison’s notebooks on the invention of the kinetoscope. These examples are covered … Read More

Proof, Dodgy Theories and Disconfirmation

Piers YoungNotes1 Comment

We’re pretty bad at theories, it seems, because we don’t really look for disconfirmation. In Dan Gardner’s book Risk, he recounts an experiment done to show this that was conducted by Peter Watson. The challenge is pretty simple: given 3 numbers in sequence, can you figure out what the rule is?  Participants were allowed to write down 3 different numbers … Read More

Dealing with Internet Waste

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If you assume that the internet, blogosphere et al are complex systems, what might their waste be? And how might we “recycle” it better? One of the many things I’ve learnt from Steven Johnson’s Ghost Map, is that waste recycling is a hallmark of almost all complex systems. System Recycling Cities Composting pits used in Knossos, Crete 4000 years ago. … Read More