Return to Summer 2014

i-Image: Making ideas cool

Visual representation of “Big” ideas

Darren Kuropatwa over at November Learning begins a blog post titled Creating ideas with style as follows:

Riding a Paris Metro David Wong looks up at the ads. All beautiful images captioned with little text. One, an image of the Earth and a single star. The caption: “When you look at Alpha Centauri — the closest star to Earth — you are watching something that happened four years ago.”

In their essay What If Ideas Were Fashion? David Wong and Danah Henriksen (from Michigan State University) explore the learning that comes of creating these images. What if we applied a fashion designer’s design sense to learning? As they ask in the title of their essay: “What if ideas were fashion?”

 Early on they write: “The experience of fashion is often characterized by intense imagination, motivation, emotion, and thought.”

That got me thinking. What if we substitute ‘learning’ for ‘fashion’ …

What if the experience of learning were characterized by intense imagination, motivation, emotion, and thought?

The overall idea that Wong and Henriksen are espousing is that of making school ideas cool. Cool ideas spark the imagination and stir our feelings. They cause us to stop what we’re doing, look more closely, share with our friends, and, perhaps, be forever changed. If an iPod can become something that everyone talks about and enjoys being with, why can’t an idea do the same? i-Images are an attempt to capture powerful, cool, big ideas and represent them visually.

In other words, i-Images are “professional, provocative images that seize the viewer’s attention and, more importantly, spark their imagination.”

Links to examples of i-images are given below

Not exactly i-images but related


Given this introduction, your assignment is to create a set of at least 3 i-Images based around some big idea in your discipline. Your first goal is to choose a set of key fundamental, powerful, cool ideas that you will represent.

You will then take photographs during your visit to the Museum (or anywhere else for that matter) and create a design that includes the image and text in a creative, provocative manner.

You can choose one statement and come up with 3 representations of it (as in the DNA example above) or choose 3 different statements – the choice is yours.

This assignment is due at the end of the two-week session, July 23, 2014.