Monday, May 31, 2010

Design is the Third Teacher

A new book, The Third Teacher, says the environment is the third teacher but the real message of the book is that the environments in which students learn must be designed. The book provides ways to use design to transform teaching and learning by stating each of 79 principles on a right hand page with a concrete example described on the left facing page (right).

Created by a team of architects and designers, The Third Teacher (left) outlines the link between the design of school environments and how children learn. With interviews, facts, statistics, and stories from experts in a wide range of fields, this book is a how-to guide connecting organizations, individuals, and ideas dedicated to innovating and improving teaching and learning. Contributors include children’s singer and advocate Raffi, author and creativity consultant Sir Ken Robinson, scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki, inventor James Dyson, and other experts who are working to create fresh solutions to problems and create a new blueprint for the future of education.

The Third Teacher is a collaboration between an architectural firm (OWP/P Architects), a school furniture supplier (VS Furtniture), and a world famous design firm (Bruce Mau Design). OWP/P Architects has offices in Chicago and Phoenix and has worked with more than 150 school clients to support their educational vision. VS Furniture is a 110-year-old manufacturer of educational furnishings based in Germany. Bruce Mau Design is a business and cultural design studio with offices in Toronto and Chicago.

The 79 ideas in the book are grouped in clusters including:
Basic Needs, Minds at Work, Bodies in Motion, Community Connections, Sustainable Schools, Realm of the Senses, Learning for All, Rewired Learning, and Your Ideas.

There is an active Facebook discussion about the book and you can click on the heading above to go to the web site for The Third Teacher.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Daniel Pink: "To be in business today you must be literate in design"

Dan Pink (left), author of A Whole New Mind and a new book, Drive, (right) says that "Design has become a fundamental business literacy. To be in business today, you must be literate in design - period."

According to Pink, there have been three ways for a business to distinguish itself and survive in a competitive market economy. The first was to create something of quality that works better than the competitors. Improving the technology, or function, of a good or service was a good way to break into a market.

The second way to thrive in business in the past was to provide a good or service at a lower price. Pink says that today that is a downward death spiral - it is no longer a valid strategy.

The remaining, critical strategy, is design. In a world of abundance, design is the only way left to stand out.

Pink's ideas can be found in his books, at his TED conference presentation, in his columns, and by clicking on the heading above to see a ForaTV clip.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Frank Frazetta: Top Fantasy Illustrator Dies

The fantasy illustrations of Frank Frazetta are a good example of why it is important to expand our vocabulary of visual phenomenon to include visual communication, design, visual culture and fine art. The fine art world looks down their noses at Frazetta's work because it is so blatantly part of the popular culture fantasy fiction phenomenon. If the only perspective we have to approach the rich world of visualization is "art" then Frazetta, rather than being recognized as one of the world's most important icons of visual culture, could be mistakenly dismissed as a "bad" or "failed" artist.

Frank Frazetta (right), one of the most influential illustrators of comic books, movie posters and paperback book covers, died on May 10, 2010 in Fort Myers, Florida at the age of 82. Frazetta led the field of illustrators who depicted musclebound men fighting with swords and axes to defend scantily dressed women. He helped define fantasy heroes like Conan, Tarzan and John Carter of Mars.

Frank Frazetta's book cover illustrations created a new look for fantasy adventure novels and established Frazetta as an artist who could sell books just by having one of his paintings on the cover. He illustrated Conan books (including “Conan the Conqueror,” “Conan the Usurper” and “Conan the Avenger”) and works by Edgar Rice Burroughs (including “John Carter and the Savage Apes of Mars” and “Tarzan and the Antmen”).

His illustrations were so influential that paperback publishers were known to buy one of his paintings for use as a cover, then commission a writer to turn out a novel to go with it. Other top illustrators and imitators were frustrated by Frazetta's ability to draw and paint any subject with great power and animation seemingly effortlessly.

Click on the heading above to see more of Frazetta's work.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Charles Segars Chairs Campaign to Save Arts Education in LAUSD

Arts for LA, the regional advocacy organization facilitating community support for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) arts education program, has named Charles Segars (right), CEO of Ovation, as Chair of The Campaign to Save Arts Education in LAUSD. Eli Broad, philanthropist and founder of the Broad Art Foundation, and Maria Bell, renowned arts advocate, have been named Honorary Chairs. The announcement was made by Arts for LA Executive Director Danielle Brazell.

Arts for LA has enlisted a broad coalition of stakeholder groups to voice support of arts education in LAUSD, the second largest school district in the nation. The Campaign to Save Arts Education in LAUSD was developed in response to California’s continuing fiscal crisis and LAUSD’s subsequent proposal to eliminate 50% of Elementary Arts Teachers for the 2010-2011 school year. The purpose of the campaign is to win board support to maintain the integrity of LAUSD’s Arts Education program by retaining its elementary arts teachers.

Charles Segars is CEO of Ovation, the only television network dedicated to art and contemporary culture. Mr. Segars was a key architect in the 2006 acquisition of the network. Since the channel relaunched in 2007, Ovation TV has grown from 5 to 38 million subscribers. The company has also forged numerous partnerships with museums and arts education institutions, including the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Recently, Ovation announced the launch of its Ovation Education broadband arts education initiative, which is an online toolkit of arts education curriculum units and companion programs available for free to high school arts teachers across the country. Mr. Segars is also the creator of the Disney National Treasure film franchise.

Eli Broad and Maria Bell have also endorsed the Campaign and will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs. Mr. Broad is a well-known philanthropist and long-time supporter of the arts, education and civic initiatives in Los Angeles. The Broad Foundations are comprised of The Broad Art Foundation, which is an international lending library of contemporary art, and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which advances entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts.

Maria Bell was cited by Governor Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver for her impact on the Governor’s decision to allocate $500 million to public school art education programs for the State of California. As a board member of many arts-related non-profit organizations including Americans for the Arts, PS Arts, and The Education Committee of the Guggenheim, she has remained committed to seeing the arts reach as many adults and children as possible.

Click on the heading above to learn more about Arts for LA.

Live Chat with Producer of movie "National Treasure"

Chet Thomas from Sneak On the Lot invites students to join their SneakOn Filmmaker Series, Thursday evening (5/13/10) at 6:30 pm (PST) for a live chat with Charles Segars the executive producer of the movie National Treasure starring Nicolas Cage. Segars is the former head of DreamWorks Television and current CEO of Ovation TV.

Sneak On The Lot provides online access to interviews with Hollywood film makers, copyright free music for your movies, access to movie scripts, a collection of sound effects for your movies, and a variety of other resources to help students make their own movies.

Go to or click on the heading above.
If you're doing the free registration for the first time you can enter the promo code: ISM and gain extra prestige.

Explore Sneak On The Lot and see how they can help guide students through the movie making process and make their own "Hollywood" movie.