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i-Image: Making Ideas Cool (Due July 22)

A 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 from 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:

The following is not exactly an i-Image (Challenge: What makes these examples different from i-Images?):
Great quotes about learning and change: A flickr group maintained by  Dean Shareski.

Given this introduction, your assignment is to create a set of at least 3 i-Images based around some big idea in your discipline (the idea(s) you’re playing with for your ImagineIT). Your first goal is to focus in on a key fundamental, powerful, cool idea.  This idea should capture one aspect of your big idea.  How can you represent that idea visually?  

You will then take photographs during your visit to the Museum of Science and Industry (or anywhere else for that matter). Reflect and create a design that includes image+text, interacting with each other in a creative, provocative manner. You can choose one statement and come up with 3 representations of it (as in the DNA example below) or choose 3 different statements – the choice is yours.

3 Quick Design Tips:

  • Use a contrasting color for your text so that it stands out on the image.
  • Select a font that allows for your message to be easily read (nothing too curvy).
  • Try to create visual symmetry or balance in your image.

If you do not use original images, please search for Creative Commons licensed images here.  Also, make sure to include an image credit on the photo with proper attribution to the original photographer as well as a link to original image.  Always remember to start with a high quality image – don’t pick a fuzzy pic!

Once you have put the finishing touches on your i-Image, you will publish them under the ImagineIT section on your website with a bit of context.  Your context should be no more than 200 words and may include the following:

  • The big idea that you are representing in your series of i-Images.
  • Why you are drawn to this idea or what compelled you to select this big idea.
  • A quick elaboration on how you see your big idea in the images.
  • The tool that you used to create your images and any “Pro Tips” for others who may want to try the tool.


Reminder: Publish by July 22, 2016

Tools to Check Out: