Thursday, March 21, 2013

03/21 2013 the first day of spring has arrived ...

... and very soon, it will be  

 5/4/2013 the date for this year's ImagineRIT !  

Syncopated Surfing Ring + A Pod Calypso is an immersive multimedia production that invites audience members to become "interactors" in playful performances of rhythm and balance routines. Participants can opt to portray either a "syncopated surfing ringer" or "dolphin impersonificationist," where, through the use of novel interfaces and motion capture devices, they control avatars within a virtual aquatic environment. This atypical tropical troupe attempts to reach new depths of intelligent human-cetacean communication via the generation of musical, motional, and mathematical patterns.

come make
waves of interaction between
light, wind, water, dolphins and surfers

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

theatre of peace

03/12/2013  The twelfth of march, two thousand and thirteen.

Another uncommon date, since the numeric representation of the month 03 and day 12 are permutations of the year 2013.   

In my two previous blog postings, I've outlined the idea behind two "interactive musicals" 

An atypical tropical troupe performing a revue* of imaginative scenarios between a curious band of surfers and inquisitive wild dolphins.

*revue: a light theatrical entertainment consisting of short sketches, songs, and dances

The theme for a series of interactive musicals that play with the notions of establishing friendly communication and exchanging knowledge between different forms of intelligent living creatures, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial.

These acts/routines are intended to be the prototypes that define/refine the concept of a "theatre of peace".

Einstein said "the most important question a person can ask is "is the universe a friendly place ?""  The proposed objective for a "theatre of peace" is to propagate kindness and knowledge through the creation of interactive performances that combine the arts & sciences, within an environment that will inspire creativity in the participants (the intention is that there are no mere observers or audiences in attendance) to actively make the world a better place for all.  In so doing, it is believed that a proof is being constructed that the answer to the most important question above is positively a "yes". 

Just as "the arts" can greatly expand the effectiveness of STEM to form a vastly more powerful combination dubbed STEAM (see below),  it is my firm belief that there are many ways that science and mathematics, united with the performing arts (music, movement/dance and theatre**), can produce exceptionally vivid and meaningful events*** that have the potential to be transformative experiences in positive ways. 

I am seeking to investigate using a highly interdisciplinary blend to experiment with developing enhanced learning environments that more fully engage "all sides of the brain" via the expanded sensory stimulation extended to the body, mind, and soul. 

**Storytelling is a powerful creative activity; making up analogies invokes the same abstract reasoning ability as is required in mathematics and science to construct and utilize models, define symbols, and recognize underlying patterns and relationships.  It was the means that early humans used to pass along the most significant and essential lessons learned from experiments and experiences from one generation to the next.

***events can be just about anything, including classroom/lab/studio lessons and routines all the way to much more extensive and extended productions.

The classroom of the future could be envisioned as a "theatre of peace", an interactive multimedia space in which constructive "acts" are played that consist of combinations of lessons and experiments, in which students/audiences become performers, immersed in the rich experience that comes from new discoveries, and in the expression and communication of thought through myriad symbolic forms, including graphic visualization, sonification, and motion.  After all, human beings certainly did not evolve within an environment consisting of boring rooms with tables, desks and seats.  Rather, our ancestors senses were undoubtedly heightened as they were continually challenged to move, balance, observe, listen, and communicate as a group.

Here are several paragraphs from an article that appeared in Scientific American titled  From STEM to STEAM: Science and Art Go Hand-in-Hand 

Mae Jemison, a doctor, dancer, and the first African American woman in space, said, “The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin… or even different parts of the same continuum,  but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.”
By teaching the arts, we can have our cake and eat it, too. In 2008, the DANA Arts and Cognition Consortium, a philanthropic organization that supports brain research, assembled scientists from seven different universities to study whether the arts affect other areas of learning. Several studies from the report correlated training in the arts to improvements in math and reading scores, while others showed that arts boost attention, cognition, working memory, and reading fluency.

Dr. Jerome Kagan, an Emeritus professor at Harvard University and listed in one review as the 22nd most eminent psychologist of the 20th century, says that the arts contribute amazingly well to learning because they regularly combine the three major tools that the mind uses to acquire, store, and communicate knowledge: motor skills, perceptual representation, and language.
“Art and music require the use of both schematic and procedural knowledge and, therefore, amplify a child’s understanding of self and the world,” Kagan said at the John Hopkins Learning, Arts, and the Brain Summit in 2009.
With this realization in mind, educators across the nation are experimenting with merging art and science lessons. At the Wolf Trap Institute in Virginia, “teaching artists” are combining physical dance with subjects like math and geometry. In Rhode Island, MIT researcher Jie Qui introduced students to paper-based electronics as part of her master’s thesis exploring the use of technology in expressive art. Both programs excited students about science while concurrently fueling their imaginations. A potent blend of science and imagination sounds like the perfect concoction to get our country back on track.