Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #130
One of my favorite TV series is Connections by James Burke. Burke happens to be one of my favorite authors and intellectuals. Steven Johnson might well be his heir apparent.
PBS just announced that - much like they did with Connections years ago - they will be producing a series based off of Johnson's work. The new series will be called How We Got to Now. I can't wait, but I'll have to since it won't debut until the fall of 2014.
Reading about the subject matter, you can tell that it's totally in sync with Johnson's work -
Topics explored in the series include why and how ideas happen, and their sometimes unintended results, including how the search for clean water opened the way to invention of the iPhone, and how the nagging problem of overheating in a New York printing business led to the invention of air conditioning, which inspired mass migration and a political transformation.
If you aren't familiar with Johnson's work, I highly recommend Everything Bad is Good for You (which we read in College Comp 2), Where Good Ideas Come From (also read in College Comp 2), The Ghost Map, Mind Wide Open, and The Invention of Air.
What would the assignment look like if you had students choose a good idea from their lives that relates to a subject or topic in your class and then you had them research it and present it?