Bell's weird sketchbooks

A fantastic article from The Atlantic showing off "Alexander Graham Bell's Delightfully Weird Sketchbooks."
Bell's drawings are expressive in ways that few technical sketches are. Little flourishes and annotations make paging through his drawings a delight.
I think he would have loved Curio. :-)

Those kinds of brainstorming sketches are precisely why brushes and pens are supported in Curio Professional. Even if you're not an artist, it's frequently easier to sketch out an idea than to try to describe it with words.

Pixar's creative process

I loved this write-up on Pixar's creative process, which is described as "going from suck to non-suck":
But finding ways to fail quickly, to invest less emotion and less time in any particular idea or prototype or piece of work, is a consistent feature of the work methods of successful creators.
In particular it was interesting that they start with storyboards, not with scripts. Only after iterating through tens of thousands of storyboard pages do they begin script writing. Those constantly change as well.

This process of moving from suck to non-suck continues to the very last stage of production. Constantly iterating, perfecting, and listening to feedback. Internally motivated, heathy perfectionism.

Curio 7.4

Curio 7.4 just strolled out the door with lots of good tweaks and fixes which I'm sure you'll all enjoy.

Certainly the first thing you'll notice is a brand new icon courtesy of the amazingly talented cuberto! The fine detail wowed all the designers at dribbble when he posted the preview. We love it too! (Click the icon for a 512x512 closeup.)

All the new enhancements and bug fixes are based on emails and postings in our forums so we wholeheartedly appreciate all your feedback.

Choose Curio > Check For Updates to download it and enjoy!

Engaging your students

Over the weekend I watched a fascinating TED talk from Dan Meyer, shown below. In the video Dan talks about the need for a more interactive and engaging teaching method. He demonstrates this with an engineering/math problem which is presented to the class using a simple movie, with no numbers, charts, or formulas! The students dive into the problem using intuition and reason to come up with the next steps, instead of being guided by a textbook towards a predetermined formula.

Teaching with multimedia is a wonderful idea when it fosters creativity. Combining multimedia with a problem project where student teams actively participate in discovering the solution is wonderfully innovative.

Yesterday, I was forwarded a link to this article in Edutopia by Thom Markham. Here Thom makes a strong case for creative, project-based, group learning activities. This makes a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program much more dynamic and effective in the classroom. Dan Meyer's math course is certainly putting this methodology to practice!

In email discussions with educators using Curio, I've learned that teachers and students are taking full advantage of Curio's multimedia, project-based features. For example, teachers can create idea space templates containing embedded videos detailing an experiment or project. The template also includes questions that the team should ask themselves to get their minds racing. Plus tables and text areas for observations, notes, and video responses (recorded from within Curio). The whole thing can then be emailed back to the teacher or posted in HTML form.

Creating problems for students to solve is not hard, but presenting them in a way that engages and excites each student into active participation requires innovative thinking and solutions.

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Zengobi: Education + Innovation

I had a wonderful lunch yesterday with a couple of good friends: Steve Peha from Teaching That Makes Sense (web, twitter) and Margot Carmichael Lester from The Word Factory (web, twitter).

We talked about innovation and technology in K-12 schools; a topic very near and dear to me for quite a few reasons.

First, I've always had a strong interest in schools and education. I loved being a student. I loved acquiring knowledge. I loved working with smart peers and inspirational instructors.

Second, since forming Zengobi I've always wanted to encourage Curio's use in the K-12 community. Why? Because it's a totally awesome environment to collect ideas, brainstorm, take notes, and organize everything. This dream has culminated in Zengobi's new incredible, low-cost annual site license plan for domestic and international K-12 schools.

Last, not to sound too sappy, but I've got kids. I want them to love going to school as much as I did. I want schools to be an exiting, fun, innovative environment where my kids (all kids!) can thrive.

My talks with Steve and Margot will certainly be an ongoing occurrence as I get hooked into the politics and mechanisms of education. Expect more posts in the future as I acquire and share this new knowledge with all of you. :-)

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