Dyslexia, creativity and diversity

The advert that caused controversy, asking for dyslexic people

I am a subscriber to the codpast which is a excellent podcast about dyslexia and dyspraixa. Almost every episode is great and I started going through the back catalogue a while ago. There are some suprises like how I kind of warmed to Peter Stringfellow (I never thought I ever would).

But the most recent one really got me rewinding once I finished in the shower (I tend to listen to podcasts in the morning while getting ready for work)

Creativity is often seen as the preserve of artists, musicians and writers, but Chris Arnold, founder of ad agency The Garage, sees creativity as an essential aptitude needed to make it in the world of business.

With dyslexia and creativity tightly linked, Chris put his money where his mouth is and courted controversy when he posted a job ad stating, ‘Only dyslexics need apply’!

 

I wish there was a transcript but its such a great listen…

What do I make of the advert? Well the word “Should” makes all the difference in my mind. If they said they would “only” accept dyslexic people that would be rightly breaking equality law. The law which is setup to help.

 

Think like a child?

Many people have said and commented I think like a child or that I am childlike…?

On the face of it, it can be seen as a negative thing, I mean who wants to be compared to a child? Heck theres even game shows asking if you are smarter than a child. But I don’t see it that way.

This is a side effect of my dyslexia in daily life, and has a interesting affect on relationships. However I and the freakonomics think this is a good way of going about life

It may be that we embrace the idea in this book of thinking like children because we’re kind of, you know, childlike. We have kind of obvious observations sometimes. There’s observations that strike people as obvious. We ask a lot of questions that are not considered, you know, the kind of questions that people ask in good company or smart company. But one of the most powerful pieces of thinking like a child that we argue is thinking small.

Thinking like a child is a gift and a advantage I would argue.

…what I find is that kids are better at paying attention to more than one thing. Their attention is more diffuse. Adults are really good at focusing on one thing and ignoring peripheral distractions, whereas kids are really good at sort of shotgunning their attention all over the place. Which is a good way to learn. It’s good when you’re first learning how things work, when you’re first exploring the world. But in magic, you want the person to focus on one thing. You want to direct their attention to one particular thing so that they won’t see what’s going on in the shadows…

Ah attention… They tell us that multi-tasking is a bad thing but regardless I feel better when multitasking. Unless I’m delving into the flow state with others, but I’m still wondering elsewhere.

…I think it’s also that they’re approaching it with this curiosity and it’s this sponge-like desire, and that they’re always making theories. That’s the other thing. I don’t feel like adults are like that. I sort of feel like they watch it and they’re waiting for the punchline, and then they sort of see it, and then they maybe go back and think about it. With kids, you get this sense that at every step of the way they’re trying to understand it. From the second they see it, they’re always coming up with theories

I think the general picture, when you talk about risks as adults, when we’re trying to decide on a course of action, we’re always balancing the risks and utilities. Whether that’s a risk to my reputation or my ego or my future interactions with other people or just a risk to my profit margin. And kids aren’t in that world of—or at least, if they’re being taken care of properly—they’re not in that world of risk and utility calculations. That liberates then, that frees them to, as we say, play.

Curiosity and play, something which we as adults seem to lose for many reason. Risk of being wrong in front of peers is a big one. This seems linked to the fear of rejection in my mind. But I guess risk is a better word for it in general.

The point I’m making is, a child like outlook isn’t a bad thing and actually we might be better off with child like thinking.

There is something about being a child, about having that particular childlike mind and brain, that is the thing that’s letting you explore more and, in some sense, be more creative. And that there are things that we could do even as adults that put us back into that kind of state.

Time to be creative, BBC Microbit

The BBC has had a bit of rough ride recently especially in the press and with the 600 million they have to take on and the cuts announced.

With all news stories like this, its easy to feel and think the worst. But its important to be positive and think about the way forward. The BBC must innovate and be creative about what happens next.

Talking about creativity, the BBC Microbit project finally was launched and it was great to finally see the concluding chapter to BBC Micro. I’d love to see a micromen style tv show about the many many years of getting this project to launch. So many people were involved in the process and they must all be proud to finally see the project come to this stage.

Ant's talk on 'BBC Micro for the 21st Century

I still remember Ant Miller’s talk about the BBC Micro for the 21st Century at BarCampBrighton3 which Rain blogged. I’m not saying that was a turning point or anything but was one of many many people trying to make the BBC understand its essential position in the 21 century by looking at its legacy with the old BBC Micro.

If I tried to list others it would go on for ever! I did 4 years ago create a mindmap of all the people doing something and influences, be interesting to look back at now. A few core people stick out in my mind when talking about this project

Michael Sparks, Howard Baker and Jo Claessens. These 3 people are deservingly front and centre of the microbit shot above. For me personally they put their blood, sweat and tears into the BBCmicrobit. They pushed and pushed, and made it work. They are embryonic of what the BBC needs to do now and into the future! A future which of course will be open!

Of course I can’t help but mention Alan O’Donohoe, which had little to do with the BBC microbit, but  following the BarCampMediaCity BBC Code lab stunt and momentous rise upwards, had a (mainly) positive external influence. Very interesting to hear and read some of the blogs and opinions back in 2012.

The BBC Microbit is a long list of creative things only the BBC could do. Its great to finally see the positive and negative feedback but ultimately the biggest critics will be the  year 7’s who use it this coming September.

The BBC needs to keep knocking it out the park and build a better future for us all.

The rate of change in education?

Rates of Change

I found this via the are you paying attention blog. The person behind this has a point, and sums it up so well with this beautifully crafted graph.

It doesn’t matter how much <Insert School District Here> grows (or plans to grow) over 5 years if everything outside that school is changing 10x that speed.

2006: My Tasks With Computer
1. Instant messaging (In Game & Out of Game)
2. Audio (Music, Streaming Audio, Podcasts, Conferencing)
3. Gaming
4. RSS Feeds
5. Web Publishing
6. Word Processing
7. Email

1996: My Tasks With Computer
1. Email
2. Word Processing

Most schools ban instant messaging, audio, gaming, web publishing, and email….leaving computers for a) word processing/productivity and b) research. Roughly the same stuff we were doing in 1996.

Although I understand the reasoning behind banning the other activities at schools, it certainly doesn't help encourage young adults into courses around computers and the internet. Although I guess most young adults will be drawn into the industry and further education through there own home computer setup (hopefully). Lets face it if computers were just about email and word processing most of us would have gone elsewhere to express ourselves. Where's the social aspect of computers? Where's the self expression?
They maybe young but were stifling their creativity surely?

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