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Best of 2013: 7 Ways Imagination Ruled the World

We're excited to see just how many schools and communities are embracing the importance of letting a child’s imagination run wild.

This year, conversations about creativity and innovation have been happening all over the world. And while there's still a long way to go, we're excited to see just how many schools and communities are embracing the importance of letting a child’s imagination run wild.

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What Would School Look Like if Every Student Built Caine's Arcade?

GOOD's Pathfinder Fellows headed to Melrose Elementary School to volunteer in classrooms helping kids build arcade games designed out of cardboard.

When we were in school, we sat at desks with a textbook, paper, and a pencil, and our teachers lectured. You probably had that experience too, but for students attending a school participating in the Imagination Foundation's Global Cardboard Challenge, learning is happening with popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and of course cardboard.

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John Baldessari on Blue Gorillas and the Importance of Creative Dreaming

John Baldessari on promoting arts education on blue gorillas.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

Artists have, for generations, sought inspiration in their dreams. Perhaps most transparent in doing so is Salvador Dali. In Provenance is Everything, Bernard Ewell relays the following story about how Dali accessed his dreams for paintings:

"Sitting in the warm sun after a full lunch and feeling somewhat somnolent, Dali would place a metal mixing bowl in his lap and hold a large spoon loosely in his hands which he folded over his chest. As he fell asleep and relaxed, the spoon would fall from his grasp into the bowl and wake him up. He would reset the arrangement continuously and thus float along-not quite asleep and not quite awake-while his imagination would churn out the images that we find so fascinating, evocative, and inexplicable when they appear in his work..."

When John Baldessari wrapped Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses to look like school buses, he used the phrase “Learn to Dream / Aprende a Sonar.” Created for the LA Fund for Public Education's Arts Matter campaign to encourage conversation about, and support for, the integration of arts education. Baldessari understands the role of dreaming in personal development. This is active dreaming—deliberate engagement with a subject critical to the future health of Los Angeles.

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Why Is It So Hard To Put Imagination Back Into Schools? Imagination Summit Discusses Creativity In Schools

A national "Imagination Summit" wants to help schools figure out how to bring creativity and innovation to the classroom. Is it really that difficult?


When you were a kid, you didn't need anybody to tell you how to use your imagination. You made up imaginary friends and spent your time designing LEGO rocket ships that traveled the galaxy without any prompting. And then you started school, and you probably had a teacher tell you to stop daydreaming—stop imagining—in class. You also learned that far from being allowed to think up multiple creative solutions, there was only one right answer to a test question, and if you bubbled it in correctly on a Scantron form, you'd get an A.

Fortunately, because imagination, creativity and innovation are increasingly prized in the workplace, future generations might be spared this dumbing-down process. There's a growing consensus that our public schools need to put those three traits at the center of learning. In an effort to help, over the past two years, the Lincoln Center Institute, a part of New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, has hosted regional conversations about imagination and creativity. This month they're hosting a national Imagination Summit, which will bring together representatives from all 50 states as well as "elected officials, legislators, education experts, business leaders, artists, and scientists." Their goal is to create "an action plan for policy makers, educators, and community activists to put imagination at the forefront of our school curricula."

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Ten Commencement Speakers You Wish You'd Had

These ten speakers inspired but still kept it real with their audiences, making their graduation speeches memorable years after they were given.


Graduation is an exciting time, but let's face it: Commencement speeches aren't always memorable. A completely unscientific poll of the GOOD office revealed that almost none of us recall our college commencement speakers, or what they said to us (although we suspect it was something like, "You've worked hard! Yay!"). So here are 10 commencement speakers—and their inspiring, funny, and just plain on-point words of wisdom—that we wish we'd heard on graduation day.

1. Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005: Jobs hits all the right notes in this speech, in which he shares his own humble upbringings and reflects on his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. He told the crowd, "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

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