Panel of Experts Debate How to Inspire Young Minds
TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Science Centre on Thursday became Canada's first cultural attraction to host a Facebook Live event when it invited a panel of experts to explore how young Canadians can harness their inventive spirit just as the legendary Leonardo da Vinci did centuries ago.
"Inspiring Inventiveness: Beyond da Vinci" included Kobo founder Michael Serbinis, da Vinci expert Massimiliano Lisa, Today's Parent executive editor Sandra Martin and the Science Centre's chief science officer, Hooley McLaughlin. Broadcast live inside Leonardo da Vinci's Workshop: The Exhibition, it was moderated by CBC host Wendy Mesley.
CEO Lesley Lewis said that the Ontario Science Centre encourages provocative dialogue on science and innovation. "We are pleased to host this discussion which will enrich our understanding of how to spark innovative thinking and Leonardo-like attitudes in today's youth. Science centres can play a key role in exploring how we can motivate curiosity, discovery and fearless learning," she said.
The broadcast can be viewed anytime online at www.facebook.com/OntarioScienceCentre.
For Michael Serbinis, who created the Kobo E-reader, a fascination with rockets and space - including trips to the Ontario Science Centre's Space exhibit - drove his early innovative spirit. A winner of many national and international science fairs as a youngster, Serbinis found pleasure in discovery.
"For me it was fun, building new things and trying to make other things better. That led me to Silicon Valley," he said.
Sandra Martin pointed to the vast importance of unchaining convention and allowing youngsters to think differently. "If kids escape that tendency to fit in, it releases the sense of 'I can do anything,'" she said. "Tell (your kids) it is good to think outside the box. You don't have to focus on one specific career. Your child can experience creativity and innovation no matter what they do."
Dr. Hooley McLaughlin said that the Science Centre encourages a different approach to learning. "We have real, physical experiences here. Play is essential to learning, playing with no agenda, no set goals. That is key to innovative thought."
McLaughlin added that the Science Centre has taken the position of seeking out Weston Youth Innovation Award candidates. "Young people don't know that they are innovative, don't understand that they are breaking loose, being inventive."
Da Vinci as Inspiration
The subject of the Ontario Science Centre's technology-rich exhibition was discussed as a source of inspiration despite Leonardo's living in such a different time.
Massimiliano Lisa said Leonardo da Vinci's penchant for writing backward was testament to his visionary nature. "Leonardo… didn't have a formal education," Lisa said. "As a child, he was let free to experiment. He invented a way to write backwards while the whole rest of the world wrote another way."
The exhibition illustrates the amazing depth of talents that da Vinci possessed, including science, art, engineering and anatomy. Combining art and science, McLaughlin said, seemed to stoke his creativity.
Serbinis said da Vinci's talent in multiple disciplines was his lasting imprint on engineering, a profession whose versatility attracted the Kobo founder. "The amazing thing was that Leonardo was one person, the master of so many different domains. A seven- or eight-year-old would be stunned to find out one person could do all this."
Lisa, curator of the exhibition, said: "You can be like Leonardo by opening your mind. Don't be afraid to experiment."
McLaughlin said that da Vinci exemplified living a full, rich life, letting his imagination wander in daily life. "That is a powerful message," he said. "He didn't differentiate between art and science. (Young Canadians) don't have to think of themselves as one type of person, having one career. You can invent in any area of your life."
Lisa said five centuries after da Vinci, we are a part of human history where everyone can have an idea. "The possibilities of today are incredible… unlimited," he said.
Martin suggested, "Youngsters need time, away from the screen, to experience the luxury of letting your brain expand and wander."
Leonardo da Vinci and the Ontario Science Centre's exhibition are, according to Serbinis, a great recognition that anyone can come up with an idea and make something if they have the time.
This exclusive engagement of Leonardo da Vinci: The Exhibition continues to March 18, 2012. For more information, please visit http://ontariosciencecentre.ca/davinci/default.asp.
About the Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre delights, informs and challenges the communities we serve, enriching people's lives and understanding through engagement with science of local, national and global relevance. Since 1969, the Ontario Science Centre has welcomed over 45 million visitors, with an interactive approach that was the model for Science Centres around the world. It is the public centre for innovative thinking and provocative dialogue in science and technology, aiming to inspire a lifelong journey of curiosity, discovery and action to create a better future for the planet. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario. www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca.
Image with caption: "L to R: Dr. Hooley McLaughlin (Ontario Science Centre), Massimiliano Lisa (Leonardo3), Sandra Martin (Today's Parent Magazine), Michael Serbinis (Kobo Inc.), Wendy Mesley (Moderator) participate in Ontario Science Centre's first-ever Facebook Live Event "Inspiring Inventiveness: Beyond da Vinci" inside Leonardo da Vinci's Workshop: The Exhibition running through March 18th. (CNW Group/Ontario Science Centre)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120203_C9309_PHOTO_EN_9612.jpg
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