Thursday, November 17, 2016

Don't forget about art and creativity

I know that without the field of science we wouldn't be living in an age where diseases are being cured, new materials for manufacturing invented, and advances are being made in nearly all facets of our daily lives.  I'm also in big favor of introducing young people to the world of science.  But what is worrying me is that in the focus to shed light on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) we are losing site of creativity and the arts.  You don't have to look far to find tweets and promotions from area school districts championing the cause of STEM, but you have to dig dip to find a picture of a young artist who is discovering a new way to express themselves through water color or sculpture.

While I know we need to continue to push our minds with scientific discovery we also need to consider that artists are people too.  In fact many of our scientists are probably harboring creative innate abilities.  But let's give some 'pub' to the creatives, the artists, the singers, the fashion designers, the film producers, the 'yet to be named' genres.

In a recent edition of Scientific American the editors wrote:
"Promoting science and technology education to the exclusion of the humanities may seem like a good idea, but it is deeply misguided. Scientific American has always been an ardent supporter of teaching STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But studying the interaction of genes or engaging in a graduate-level project to develop software for self-driving cars should not edge out majoring in the classics or art history."
This discussion over the shift to STEM led Chronicle staff writer Ria Parikh to focus on this topic. Ria was led to take a closer look at this subject after seeing tweets promoted by the school district that draws attention to the topic.  I agree, it is amazing what our students are discovering, the incredible teachers who are helping guide that discovery, the amazing young scientist who has captured national attention, and especially a district that fosters a learning environment where anything is possible.



In Ria's article she made sure to talk with science teachers. It was refreshing to hear from an MHS science teacher who is a believer in both science and the arts. In fact he thinks there must be connection between the two because creativity helps stimulate the mind.  There is no doubt science teachers are big believers in the arts and creativity and art teachers are benefactors of the scientific mind, but when it comes to exposure, PR, the pub - arts seemed to be getting short changed a bit.

"The need to teach both music theory and string theory is a necessity for the U.S. economy to continue as the preeminent leader in technological innovation. The unparalleled dynamism of Silicon Valley and Hollywood requires intimate ties that unite what scientist and novelist C. P. Snow called the “two cultures” of the arts and sciences."

Innovation might be the key word in this discussion.  The artists I've come across at MHS are innovators.  They have amazing minds that challenge boundaries,  there's no doubt there's some inner scientist at work there.

"Steve Jobs, who reigned for decades as a tech hero, was neither a coder nor a hardware engineer. He stood out among the tech elite because he brought an artistic sensibility to the redesign of clunky mobile phones and desktop computers. Jobs once declared: “It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough—that it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing."

I hope our scientist out there aren't taking this the wrong way.  I think science is cool. I wish I would have been exposed to scientific discovery at a younger age.  I'm glad my children have been exposed to it.  I have a family member who is a neuroscience graduate. Another who is studying the science that drives the logistics and supply chain industry that is driving our global economy. Another who is immersed in the world of graphic design using the latest scientific advances in computer software, and another whose favorite activity is his school's engineering club. However, all of them love books, movies, music, plays, theatre, and the occasional Netflix binge.
"The way to encourage high-tech industry to move to Kentucky—or any other state—is not to disparage Voltaire and Camus. Rather the goal should be to build a topflight state educational system and ease the way financially for students from even the most humble backgrounds to attend. The jobs will follow—whether they be in state government or in social media start-ups."

Arts and creatives this is on us, we need to make sure we continue to encourage the creatives and shout it out to the masses. Any thoughts on a creative twitter handle....oh yeah, I think I'm going to need an artist for that one - oh and we'll need a scientist to help us figure out the coding algorithms that are needed to program our Twitter feed.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Election Fatigue, it's a real thing


Are you sick of the election, campaign 2016 yet?  If you are, it appears you are not alone.  Election Fatigue is a real thing and according to some reports people were already feeling it back in July.  So now we're just about week away from the end of history's most humorous reality TV show (Clinton v Trump 2016).  I'll just be glad when this whole thing is over.  I hope the transition to whoever wins is peaceful.

In July, Pew Research Center reported that “most Americans already feel election coverage fatigue.” July! More than three months ago. And in those three months, it’s safe to say that no one has gotten any respite. The news cycle has churned forward, the conversations have devolved, and the fissures revealed by the primary elections have turned into gaping crevasses.This week, Pew published a new report, positing that people are so tired of talking about the election that they won’t even argue about it on social media (and people will argue about anything on social media). According to the research, twice as many social media users report being “worn out” than those who actually like seeing political discourse online.
Oh, yeah. You've gotta love this picture.  When you see Hillary and the Donald ragging on each other. Check out this photo.  Do they really hate each other? Hillary seems to have an awfully big smile on her face there.  Bill gets the joke too.  "Build that Wall!"