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The Wonder of Immense Sculpture

June 25, 2011

We talk and write about the need to teach students:

  • using interdisciplinary learning or integrated studies;
  • using project-based or problem-based learning;
  • how to problem solve and think creatively.

These are very important goals that we should try our hardest to achieve because it will make the learning more interesting and relevant for students.  The interconnectedness of ideas is so important for them to learn.  Students need to develop collaborative skills so they can work effectively with others.  Students need to appreciate the complexity of problems and maintain a desire, dedication and patience to solve complex problems.  Finally, students need to be stretched to think creatively and apply their enormous talents to come up with innovative solutions to interesting and complex problems.

You must take out 9 minutes to look at this TED Talk by Janet Echelman, a renowed artist and sculptress. 

I was mesmerized by this 9 minute video and the gorgeous images of what she has able to achieve.  It is stunningly beautiful to see what a creative mind can accomplish.  Clearly, she:

  • recognized and tapped into the talents of others;
  • looked at the world through “different eyes;”
  • imagined a new and interesting way to express her art;
  • collaborated with a large number of people;
  • saw the connections between material science, engineering, design, art, and the urban landscape.
  • took lots of risks and was patient with the process that took many years.

 Her sculptures are inspirational.  How can we teach our students to be open to the world of possibilities?  How can we educate our students so they too are as creative and imaginative as Janet Echelman?  How can we educate our students to see the value in what others can do?

I believe these questions will not be answered through grinding our students through traditional schooling.  I believe we need to explore new paths for educating our students if we want them to develop into creative thinkers, collaborators, and problem-solvers.

What do you think about her work and how we can move further down the path of helping all students tap into their own creativity?

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