Maestro Benjamin Zander, author of The Art of Possibility, speaking on how simply you can motivate your students to win an A by giving them As right from the begining. Don't miss Zander's talk on the art of listening to classical music.
The app, simply called “Ken Burns,” allows the user to surf an overarching timeline year by year, seeing how clips from each film line up chronologically with – and, as Burns says, “speak to” – each other. Zoom in on 1869, for example, and a cloud of clips from The Civil War, The West, and The National Parks orbit in parallax formation around one another; swipe to 1930, and it’s clips from Jazz, Prohibition, Baseball, Huey Long, Thomas Hart Benton and The Dust Bowl. You can also watch its six playlists straight through – they range in length from 20 minutes to an hour long – or select individual clips à la carte.
The concept came out of a conversation Burns was having two years ago with MacKinnon, who is the music entrepreneur behind Hear Music and has known Burns since they worked together on music components for 2001′s Jazz.
“Ken and I were talking about how his films were in the search engines of iTunes and Netflix, and they’re always the top-rated thing when they run on PBS, but there wasn’t a digital place where all of his films were presented as one thing, as an integrated body of work,” says MacKinnon. “Then he paused for a second, and looked at me and said, ‘I really love my iPad.’”
Download the app but only if you are prepared to lose your day to it.
Critical thinking has long been regarded as the essential skill for success, but it’s not enough, says Dr. Puccio. Creativity moves beyond mere synthesis and evaluation and is, he says, “the higher order skill.” This has not been a sudden development. Nearly 20 years ago “creating” replaced “evaluation” at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning objectives. In 2010 “creativity” was the factor most crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries. These days “creative” is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running.
Traditional academic disciplines still matter, but as content knowledge evolves at lightning speed, educators are talking more and more about “process skills,” strategies to reframe challenges and extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity.
Creative studies is popping up on course lists and as a credential. Buffalo State, part of the State University of New York, plans a Ph.D. and already offers a master’s degree and undergraduate minor. Saybrook University in San Francisco has a master’s and certificate, and added a specialization to its psychology Ph.D. in 2011. Drexel University in Philadelphia has a three-year-old online master’s. St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, N.C., has added a minor. And creative studies offerings, sometimes with a transdisciplinary bent, are new options in business, education, digital media, humanities, arts, science and engineering programs across the country.
When asked I often say that I am an independent student. To me being willing to learn new things quickly and juxtapose them against what you already know to see what comes out of that friction is the key to smarter creative thought. My concern with institutionalizing the teaching of creativity is that if you are not curious and willing to constantly study no amount of university classes will instill that in you. Are we making creativity studies the new MBA? Wanted by everyone for the effect it may have on their careers without regard to whether it is the best way for an individual to cultivate creative thinking. You can teach someone how to play the piano, but if they are lacking musicality you can not make them into an artist.
It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.
Any individual, from any background, can have what we call this Triple Package of traits. But research shows that some groups are instilling them more frequently than others, and that they are enjoying greater success.
It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment.
Somnolent visitors drifted from painting to painting. Faces registered pleasure, but also weariness. People stepped through the familiar choreography of the art museum: lean in to look for explanatory wall text; when you don’t find it, elegantly shift your lean toward the painting to scrutinize some arbitrary detail. We paused in front of Gainsborough’s portrait of Mrs. Peter William Baker, an aristocratic beauty in a golden dress. People walked up, looked, and then walked away. “These very nice people have taken immense trouble,” de Botton said. “They’ve come to New York, they’ve come to the Frick. It’s clear that we’re in a place of great value: this Gainsborough is worth maybe twenty million dollars. And, yet, it’s done nothing for any of these visitors, and spends ninety-eight per cent of its life ignored.” De Botton is soft-spoken, with an open, sensitive face; his lips, lifted at the corners, hinted at ironic self-awareness—wasn’t it silly to get upset about other people’s museum-going?—but his eyes suggested alarm, even outrage. “People think there is no problem with art museums,” he said. “But there is.”
In “Art as Therapy,” de Botton argues that museums have taken a wrong turn. They should never have embraced as their guiding paradigm the discipline of art history; it’s led them to lose track of what actually makes art interesting. Most people, he thinks, care only a little about who commissioned what. When a visit to a museum succeeds, it usually isn’t because the visitor has learned facts about art but because she’s found one or two works that resonate in a private way. And, yet, museums do very little to foster these kinds of personal connections; if anything, they suggest that our approach to art should be impersonal and academic. “The claims I’m making for art,” de Botton said, “are simply the claims that we naturally make around music or around poetry. We’re much more relaxed around those art forms. We’re willing to ask, ‘How could this find a place in my heart?’ ” “Art as Therapy” is large, beautifully designed, and filled with images of paintings and sculptures alongside explanations of how those artworks might be approached in a more personally helpful, therapeutic way. (De Botton co-wrote it with a longtime friend, the art historian John Armstrong. “John is very in sympathy with this approach,” he said, “even though his colleagues are not.”)