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2017 to 2018 marked the year of transition to unscheduled discoveries! What I have discovered is the challenge to the regulatory understanding of the theory of creativity. Just when it was assumed that creative output can be regulated, it was discovered that it can’t be done as easily as we would have thought. Idea journal structures emerged unstructured. Creative expressions were needed to be visualized. Correct forms of ideation techniques were becoming uncorrected forms. Freeform ideation was becoming more and more visible. Something was happening! The need to visualize the outcomes of creative solutions had no correlation to the internalization of creative understanding. Grasping the new understanding of creative thinking needed to be addressed through new approaches.

Enter Zig-Zag! One of the basis of Dr. Keith Sawyer’s research into the realm of the creative process. decades-long studies about creativity were distilled into 8 steps! Being part of the syllabus, Zig-Zag was an approach that revealed infinite possibilities of the investigative and explorative process which led students to discover alternatives to structure and theory.

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2017 saw the implementation fo the Zig-Zag approach and in 2018, the Zig-Zag approach demonstrated an emergent new possibility of development into a newer implementation framework! My PhD thesis concerning the application of the Zig-Zag approach has revealed through a series of simulation workshops, that it was not a prescribed theoretical select and apply approach; but it need not be prescribed at all and it could be naturally demonstrated through specific design process simulations in which, the emphasis was to highlight the scenarios rather than the theory. This means, discovery-based creative process. Play first and then analyse!

This emergent process does not emphasize the 8 steps because no students have attempted to identify what steps were involved but rather have preferred to identify the steps only after solving the dilemmas within the simulation. Therefore it is a heuristic and organic creative discovery process, which deregulates a predefined structure of classroom delivery where it was theory first then activity. in this case, theory is second and activity first and there will be no prescriptions but only responses and new definitions of the process! This is the new emergent framework is tentatively called the Creative Discovery Simulation Model!

Real Solids! How do we know?

From milk to solid food. In most educational settings, students can be seen as babies and children wanting more lactose in their system. As babies grow up, they need certain nutrients to develop their mental and physical well-being. As they say, nothing beats mother’s milk! That’s very true. How true it is that all the formula milk and designer nutrition couldn’t compete with natural nutrition from the mother. However, all other supplementary foods would also assists greatly in children’s growth.

As educators in this creative environment, students are like babies and children. In a country as young as ours and rapidly developing, young people still need to be nurtured and fed with such nutrition. Knowledge is one all in one super-nutrition that anyone couldn’t deny. It doesn’t matter which industry or field, knowledge in these areas is beneficial to all walks of life. What does students want to achieve? That question has always been answered in the classroom when students decided to undertake a challenge.

When lecturers answer their questions, they would be giving the students ideas and solutions about the problems faced. Teachers and lecturers have not only answered questions but also providing students with the knowledge which was the requirement of the course or rather the text or website address which was supposed to be beneficial to the students. The question is, have the student benefited from that? Did they learn anything?

‘Sir, did I do that correctly?’ asked a design student.

That question refers to the final sketch of a particular design solution. Would this question mean that this student has no confidence about his/her design solution or would it mean that this student does not know how to do it? How would we interpret that question? I have encountered this situation numerous times and I found out only to my delight, that these students were actually only nervous. It’s like a little bird which learning to fly.

It’s not like they couldn’t fathom the scope of the creative brief! What I have done is to assure them that, besides fulfilling client requirements, they should be certain about their ability to solve the design problem. Therefore, ‘What do you think?’ would it solve that problem? That would be the next course of action between the uncertain student and me. I did that because, it is safe to assume that they have the milk and the nutrition which they need. Now its time to eat meat. This is not in any way insulting vegetarians but what I meant is that they should go for solids.

The creative industry is expanding and developing simultaneously with technology. Therefore, we see much advancement and emergence of new design solutions and statements. This is visible through exhibitions, latest campaigns and design conferences as well as conventions. Sometimes it is necessary to allow these students to even teach a thing or two about the new things that is in the market. Students are supposed to be our channel for education and not us. They are the vital source of information, which I personally feel is precious.

Apart from what I can acquire, I wonder sometimes, how much do they know? We can’t possible say that they are students therefore, they should be any lesser than us. So, they are nervous. The problem with design students in my first observation is that they are hesitant and not that they couldn’t think.

That fact of the matter is, how do they think? The journey of discovery into what and how they think has only just begun. Therefore, If these students deserve solids; then, how do we show them how to get solids? Solids here would be the crutch, for which they would depend on in order to see their solutions implemented or presented. Where are these solids? Where do we get them? How do we as educators open that door for them to get the right knowledge protein and solids? Are they synthetic or original? Where does solids stand when milk isn’t involved?

I‘d be more concerned if none of the students asks us the questions above! Because if so, then whether or not they are thinking is irrelevant. It would be a whole other topic! So in then end the evidences of real thought comes from questions and these are evidences of eating solids! We may have directly or indirectly shown them the way to solids but what have we done to record such an achievement ourselves. It is possible that we ourselves as educators have begun savouring a new form of diet!

From Milk to Solid Food

The possibility of a student’s conversion into adulthood is inevitable in the natural psychosocial development process. The individual grow and experience various aspects of life, acquiring experiences in areas defined by their wants and needs in a holistic manner. Humanity as it seems are defining their goals as they go along a path towards their designated goals and objectives, whether as an individual or corporate as a nation or groups. In the field of Design, conversion takes place as a transition of thought patterns and perception. Ideas are born based on the needs to create and to improve the quality of life.

 The young person who has been experiencing life for their first eighteen years, has acquired enough information to realise that what they have acquired is not yet their achievement. In this age, the very word success has been redefined and the same can be made about the word failure. Much of these are based on different approaches to educating the young about effort to succeed or perhaps progress in specific areas based on differently able individuals.

However, in our society, in which artistic maturity is still in its infancy, the average design student would primarily want to ‘make money’. Why is that? Many have asked this question especially design educators. Can art and design students express themselves? This article isn’t about students’ expressing themselves but rather a thought about how can Design students grow up in the area of design exploration.

Babies are born and they go through a long process of growing up. The same can be said about thought patterns. The thinking of our students is like old tape recorders, which plays the same tune day in and day out. Primary and secondary school education delivery has greatly contributed to this. Much stress and emphasis on studying and scoring exam papers, furthermore to produce much-anticipated ‘A’ grade for SPM/’O’ Levels for example. Unfortunately this culture has seeped into the art and design field thus greatly diminishing the quality of analytical and critical thinking among the young.

Students’ have been greatly dependent on their teacher’s guidance on just about anything due to fulfilling appropriate and correct standards strictly enforced from time to time. Students’ have no room for mistakes and mistakes are often viewed as illegitimate ideas or in other words, ‘wrong’. It can be agreeable that mathematical and factual data has dimensional element in which one cannot dispute its logical conclusions. However, when it comes to conceptual thinking, subjectivity must be also allowed for the student to ask questions freely without fear of ridicule. Ridicule here means, ‘asking a silly question’.

Teachers had the habit to labeling legitimate questions as stupid, silly and of no use. Unfortunately for some students, these labels fall directly on them. Teachers habitually place value on subjective answers too quickly which resulted in students struggle to achieve the correct standards set by their educators. Negative or positive reinforcement methods to create efficient students have also produced result-oriented students. Therefore this result-oriented culture has not actually contributed to the development of this country. Very few have realized the potential of their acquired knowledge. Most have achieved higher qualification because they were primarily directed to fiscal revenue.

In the field of design, students are encouraged to think out of the box. This means, changing their thought patterns, which they have been used to, all these years. By changing or re-arranging their way of thinking, they are redefining success and what changing or re-arranging their way of thinking, can be considered as a solution. Students in the art and design field actually have the power to redefine the quality of life, not to make life better but to make life worth it. These converts their thoughts from thinking like babies, which needs milk, into creative thinking adults whom consume meat or solid food.

Here are the two new introductions! A lot has happened in a while and making mash-ups would be ideal to summarize it all! It was a lot of fun! Hope you enjoy the videos!

Latest update, in an unprecedented move, a gamification workshop using Classcraft was conducted through the support of E-Learning academy and Intellect department of Taylor’s University Lakeside campus. It was for the teaching staff at Taylor’s University for the purpose of introducing gamified LMS platforms for the classroom and It was a great session! We discussed aspects of gamified elements in a lesson and how its done. This was delivered for the first time and for cross-disciplined group of educators. There were lecturers from engineering, business, medical, design and hospitality schools! Classcraft LMS was actively used to manage this session and rewarded the teams for the gamified micro-teaching sessions! We might have a few serious users to collect more data in the near future. It was a great start for us and great fun! Still in the developments stages, Classcraft has been really supportive of our endeavours to research and study this new gamification movement in the higher learning institution! It won’t be easy but if we put on our role-playing hat, anything is possible!

Games On Awesomeness!

‘Creating Something out of Nothing’ by Natasha Hishamuddin

“For their assignment 2 the FIS students were asked to observe space. From their blank space observation they were supposed to conceive a series of ideas, ultimately choosing only one, to show us what went through their heads – the questions they asked themselves – and what inspired them to create “something out of nothing”. This assignment was to demonstrate their understanding in the earlier 4 lectures namely, Observation, Knowledge and Asking.” 

Ms Natasha co-facilitates the Creative Thinking class. What she does in there, is totally awesome and really out of the box! You can reach Ms. Natasha by emailing her at tasteofcontinents@gmail.com

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Recently I have had the opportunity to speak to Stephanie Carmicheal who helms the classcraft ambassador programme. Ambassadors of this programme represents educators around the world who are using and promoting classcraft in their respective countries.

Since I was interested in taking the classcraft tool to the next level, I have applied for the ambassador programme and after an awesome interview/chat session with Stephanie, who is equally an awesome person; I was accepted! I am so delighted with the kind support from the Classcraft team for my upcoming and future ventures in using this awesome gamified tool. Being currently involved in pedagogical research and exploring the use of gamification elements in the multi-disciplinary setting, this could not have come at a better time!

Classcraft brings the world of role-playing games into the classroom. It doesn’t change the content or the how the subject is taught. But it just a vehicle to shape and change the student’s approach towards the subject (any subject) by shaping their behaviour through levelling up, interactivity, cooperative learning, rewards and the sense of fun!

The challenge now is to redefine how blended learning with the inclusion of gamified mechanics of classcraft in complement with the university LMS (learning management system) can motivate and reinforce the university students’ goals and objectives in learning. Capturing how and what works is what matters here in order to identify the best approaches in gamified pedagogies.  Some will resist because chances are they aren’t the gaming type. But that is what they have concluded because they have separated and so they think that games and teaching are two separate elements. There could be a different perception of gaming among other educators especially in the field of science.

Multi-displinary

The thing is, classcraft isn’t converting math and science into games. But classcraft can makes science and math a lot more fun! the word fun doesn’t necessarily mean that making teaching fun is confined to the elementry and pre-school level. But also at the tertiary level, preserving the youthfulness of experiential learning. As experiential learning in science and math has embedded within their teaching and learning methods, a great deal of experiential projects and experiential classrooms; classcraft presents another option to add to the interest and taste for the world of fantasy adventure. And why not try something new! Observe the students analogize themselves and watch their avatars develop as they achieve their learning objectives.

So if you are an educator or a teacher and you would want to explore classcraft for your class, feel free to contact me. My contact information is on my blog. 🙂

 

 

 

That is the essence of Contextual Studies; to find a deeper meaning to everyday life and situations. In this case, we are using storytelling as the primary medium to explain and describe the ‘meaning behind the design!’ Here is the playlist for all the short films! You are free to pick the best ones you like and do comment!

It was an amazing end to the 2015 CTS semester! The year ended with so much of valuable learning experience! Much had been achieved throughput the semester and there were lots of challenges especially juggling between teaching and work. However, what always remains was the joy of facilitating bright young minds who never gave up the struggle to break the barriers of challenges with time and workload. Therefore the final works have been engaging and surprising! Safe to say that each of the final videos were the result of brainbusting sessions! Whether there were sparks and storms, the students DELIVERED! Happy watching!

 

 

Recently, I have managed to get some recognition for the use of Classcraft and connecting it to the Taylor’s University LMS (Learning Management System) Moodle platform. First a bronze at the Taylor’s University SPARK awards and a silver medal at the National University E-learning Carnival held at a renowned educational University in Malaysia UPSI – University Pendidikan Sultan Idris – (Sultan Idris Educational University).

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When I was exhibiting my poster presentation at UPSI, during the Carnival, I have had the priviledge of meeting many innovative and inventive educators who have used different kinds of applications as well as creating new ones all for one purpose; to make learning interesting and effective in more ways than one! It was such an eye opener! I have learnt so much from many of them but there was always the nagging question about educational technology. Some have asked me questions like, ‘what technology do you use in your classroom?’ and not ‘what applications/tools did you use’.

I simply told them I just used educational ‘tools’ to assist me in my teaching. But as far as technology is concerned, I asked them ‘how you do perceive e-learning? is it the ‘technology’ or the tool? Well, to cut a long story short, basically we used the e-learning tools because that isn’t the technology. We are! The educator is the technology! More exploration coming soon!

Classcrafting!

Classcraft is just an awesome site! Thanks to Shawn Young, a Physics teacher in the USA, who took gamification to the next level, making it relevant to motivating the learner! This one is a role-playing game. This guy spoke my language and being a gamer myself, I enjoy associating teaching to storytelling and simulations! Here is their site: www.classcraft.com

This video was made by Foo Sher Ming who is a student of the Foundation In Design programme (March 2015), at Taylor’s University. I hope to make more classcraft videos, so watch this space!

Brave New World!

Well, not like the Aldus Huxley dystopian version!

This time of the year Creative Thinking Skills module has been consolidated and now it is a core module for 3 foundation programmes! They are Foundation in Design, Foundation in Natural Built Environment and Foundation in Arts! Next year, added to this list will be Foundation in Science! What a real challenge to adapt creative thinking lessons to different disciplines! I really do have my work cut out for me! But I have a great team of lecturers who are gung-ho about teaching this module so I am glad I am not alone in this at all!

We got started on the right foot! Well, this is history in the making and tons of mistakes will lead to amazing developments for the future of this module! Creativity NEVER ENDS! Woo Hoo! Some highlights of the early assignments in the playlist!

 

Fun, Bizarre and Creative!

Here is a youtube playlist consisting of the Creative Thinking Skills March 2015 video highlights! Towards the end of the playlist, you will be able to view the final project videos!

 

Building A Great Foundation!

This was a great trip! Both Contextual studies batch and creative thinking batch combined to make this trip a success! Here is the playlist of the documentaries created by these amazing and talented students!

Building Teams and Building Each Other!

This was our last trip to refreshing springs early this year and we have an amazing creative team-building sessions and of course great bonding sessions!

Ambience and Attraction!

This documentary is about Ashley’s investigation about what makes the cafe’s ambience interesting and appealing to customers. She explores the  context of enjoying your coffee within an interior space and why it works!

 

Visual Kei!

This documentary chronicles what a ‘visual kei’ fan does to follow this style and why does this appeals to her. This explores the context of self-identity and the courage to embrace it’s eccentricities!

This short animation tells the story which states that no two person is the same. But we live a a world where it is easier to conform than to stand up for what is new and unique.

Contextual Studies documentary by Amer Eizwann exploring the context of local t-shirt brands. This documentary explores and investigates the popularity of local t-shirt brands which emphasises on patriotism. His search led him to travel as far as the east coast to interview with T-short vendors and buyers about why they chose to buy these specially designed T-shirts.

This year’s contextual studies short film highlights some good entries! This short film, ‘midnight’ tells the story of why vigilantism happens. The main protagonist decides to take matter into in hos own hands during the crucial moment in his life when he needs to discover who he really is and what he is meant to do. It takes courage but sometimes we are driven to action when motivated by a traumatic incident. The context explored is why we take action and get things done.

This recent documentary production addresses the purpose and meaning behind body art; specifically tattoos. One of our Foundation In Design semester 2 student groups, interviewed our Foundation in Design Programme Director Ms. Yip Jinchi, who have embraced tattoos as not just an extension of her appearance but it is also a form of adornment, sense of expression and a form of identity. Jinchi lectures in theoretical studies in the design degree programmes at the Design School at Taylor’s. In this Interview she provides some insights about the perception and about tattoos with some interesting take on social stereotypes, design style and some helpful advice to those who are contemplating to embrace this timeless form of body art. Enjoy!


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