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Using Technology to Exercise the Mind - Part II

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The Beekman School

In a follow up to my last blog regarding how significant a role creative software can have in the development of a person’s mind, I’d like to share an illuminating example.  Here at The Beekman School we offer various creative courses, and one of them is a course in the fundamentals of design using Adobe Illustrator as the software tool.  I assigned a project so challenging to my students that they have listed it as the most difficult task they have ever done.  All I asked was for them to mimic each other’s style for one of their projects. I wanted to get them thinking outside the box regarding their design solutions.

Every day of the project I received comments ranging from, “This is so hard!” to, “Why are you making us do this?”  Why indeed?  To expand their minds, break down assumptions, and force new perceptions.

After a week of this, the project came to an end.  The students were relieved and asked if they could go back to their old style of design.  I said yes, and the next project indeed saw the old familiar.  But each project after that, something wonderful happened.  The elements of design each student was forced to adopt earlier slowly crept back in to influence their design solutions to the new projects.  What the students ended up with by the end of the semester was neither their original nor copied design styles, but rather a synthesis of the two with wholly unique solutions of style.

Learning creative software expands the mind in so many ways, and is instrumental in our mission to foster independent and creative thinkers. It’s wonderful to see it in action in these Beekman students.


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