These are my notes from the first half of the second session session, “Thinking About Learning & Learning About Thinking: Implications for Creative Human Activity by ” by Dennis Cheek at the THE NEW RENAISSANCE: A Revolution of Creativity and Learning conference. The mobile website for this conference (which is optimized for the iPhone / iPod Touch and other mobile devices) was created using the open source program MobilAP. The bio of Dr. Bulent Atalay on our conference mobile website states:

Dennis Cheek is a Senior Fellow and former Vice President of Education at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Dennis is a member of the teaching faculty for the midcareer doctoral program in educational leadership at the University of Pennsylvania and the M.Th. program at Continental Theological Seminary in Belgium. He has been a Vice President at the John Templeton Foundation, an administrator for 13 years in the state education departments of NY and RI, a senior consultant to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), an Auxiliary Protestant Chaplain for the U.S. Air Force, a middle school and high school teacher and district curriculum developer, and on various university faculties. He has authored, edited or contributed to over 770 publications and multimedia products and currently serves on the editorial or manuscript review boards of the International Journal of Technology and Design Education, Journal of Science Education and Technology, Odyssey, Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, The Science Teacher, and Philosophy of Science. He earned bachelor degrees in history, secondary education, and biology; a master’s in history, a Ph.D. in curriculum & instruction/science education from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Durham.

Dennis Cheek is now discussing “schools” versus mentorships with Peter Donaldson, who is role playing Leonardo daVinci as our MC and facilitator in the conference today.

I am from Philadelphia
– discussing the life and achievements of Benjamin Franklin
– discovery of electricity and flying a kite to “catch the spark from the heavens”

Leonardo: this is foolish! not wise to do!
– What is the application of the trick?

Now prompting the audience to respond to the prompt: Type in two or three powerful words that perfectly describe what creativity means to you.

Human beings are always curious
– we’ve been studying how as humans we learn in school and outside of school
– sometimes in schools our learning there bears very little

Today we call people who apprentice others “mentors”
– thinking used to be that you have ONE mentor
– now the thinking is that you will have multiple mentors across your entire life


someone can mentor you all the way around the world

In 1977 for the first time, we had a machine you could put a person into (it made a horribly loud noise, and worked with magnets)
– created the first picture inside a person’s living brain
– now we have thousands of machines that can do this (MRI)

We know some things, patterns
– human beings are programmed to look for patterns: before you are even born

Leonardo: There is a danger in patterns, if you repeat it and become comfortable so you do not break the pattern, you just repeat it

2 truths:
1- pattern seeking is fundamental in the brain
2- patterns can be habit forming, which can block imagination and creativity

Now discussing idea of cooperative learning / social learning
– you are learning from your peers and from your teacher

We also know now that learning takes place across your lifetime

Many of us will live to 100 years old
– many of us will change jobs
– interact with different people
– but we often don’t think about our life in the span of 100 years


Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on

On this day..

Share →

One Response to Thinking About Learning & Learning About Thinking: Implications for Creative Human Activity by Dennis Cheek

  1. Vishakha says:

    In Pune, India, many educationalists like Dr. Arun Nigvekar have come together to form Seamless Education Academy, that is the first and only Creativersity in India. they have very recently launched a blog ( as well. it seems here that they want to give a focus to the creative genius in their students in RJ, Sound Engineering, Gemmology, Animation and Broadcast Media. i think that initiatives like these are a ray of hope and really need to be commended.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Sharing from Matthews, North Carolina! Connect with Wes on Mastodon.