What Does Colour Sound Like?

22 August 2012

A month ago I wrote a post about teaching students how to think. The main point of that post was that teachers need to be aware that not only do we teach our students WHAT to think (facts and figures) but also HOW to think (thought processes).

The problem is that in doing so, we can limit our students ability to think creatively.


There are many articles and research papers detailing how students enter school as creative individual geniuses and leave as a uniformly thinking group who struggle to have an original idea.

Here is a fascinating example of what I am talking about:

In school we teach our students that we can see colours.  We teach them how to recognise them and mix them to create new colours.  But when was the last time to taught your students that you can hear colours?

The Ted Talk below goes for 9 minutes.  The speaker is Artist Neil Harbisson who was born completely colour blind.  But with the advances in technology has designed a device that is attached to his head which turns colour into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color.

 A couple of my favourite quotes from the video are:

“If we extend our senses, we will consequently extend our knowledge (at 08:51)”

“Life will be much more exciting when we stop creating applications for mobile phones and we start creating applications for our own body (at 08:56)”

If you like you can check out his website at http://eyeborg.wix.com/neil-harbisson (you might need Google to translate it for you)

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

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