Category Teachers and Design

#RethinkHighSchool with XQ: The Super School Project

This month, the rethinkED team is getting excited about XQ: The Super School Project, Launched by Laurene Powell Jobs, this design challenge invites teams to reimagine the next American High School. Winners will receive support and $50 million to make their idea into a reality.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 2.50.26 PM

Source: http://xqsuperschool.org/challenge

According to the XQ institute, XQ is the agile and flexible intelligence that prepares students for a more connected world, a rapidly changing future, and a lifetime of learning. It is a combination of IQ (cognitive capabilities) and EQ (emotional intelligence or how we learn in the world).

Soliciting “What If..”s from the world, the XQ project is a design thinking challenge operating on a massive scale. The challenge is broken into 4 phases: 1) Assemble a team, 2) Discover the landscape of education, 3) Design a super school for the community, and 4) Develop a formidable plan.

RethinkED is going to team up with other innovative and talented individuals for an intense day of dreaming and designing next week. As you’ve seen, we have a lot of ideas surround character education, interdisciplinary pedagogies, and community-focused learning, and we are excited to merge these into a coherent plan of action to #RethinkHighSchool.

P.S. The rethinkED team has recently grown! We have two new members, and we are super excited for you to meet them.

 

On being a cyborg: Augmented Reality in Education…*

augmented reality technology*

Augmented reality is a live view of the real world where elements are supplemented by computer-generated input.Augmented Reality allows educators and students view layers of digital information superimposed on the physical world, often through an Android or iOS device. Perhaps the most popular recent example of augmented reality technology is Google Glass – a  product that was withdrawn from the market just a few days ago. As can be seen in the video below, Google glass was intended to augment ones reality with a variety of data, including directions, phone numbers, and text messages.

educational potential*

However, there are still a ton of augmented reality applications and tools out there that have been demonstrated to be effective, both for daily life and for education. For example, Google sky map is a FREE educational astronomy app that uses the camera on your smartphone. When you hold it up to the sky, the app identifies stars and constellations.

Sky-Map

Science seems like a particularly fruitful content area for AR functionality. Other apps such as Elements 4D and Anatomy 4D by Daqri help students to better understand chemistry and human biology.

Another app with huge educational potential is Aurasma – an open source tool to augment your surroundings in a variety of ways. For example, teachers can provide AR guidance attached to homework pages, or students can assign book review audio recordings to the covers of specific books. Some uses can be seen in the video below.

 

Rethinking education with AR …*

I like AR tools because the technology affords new ways to interact with the world, but still leaves space for the educator to design and determine how to use it. For example, a history teacher could use Aurasma to develop an interactive world map in the classroom, where students attach “auras” of articles and facts about different locations. A teacher could also use Aurasma on a timeline in similar ways. This allows visuals in a classroom to provide information at a variety of depth levels and mapping information in this way could help students to establish better organized mental models.

Additionally, many uses of AR are student-centered, enabling students as co-creators of knowledge and more active participants in their own learning processes, something I find vital to education (and have blogged about before here and here).

How would you use this technology in your classroom? Have you used AR before?

{ global learning } through Mystery Skype in our interconnected world …*

Traveling to a new place and immersing oneself in its culture is an amazing opportunity and experience. However, it can be unrealistic and infeasible for many students to travel like this, especially young learners. Yet with thoughtful use of technology platforms, we can provide students with rich cultural experiences without ever leaving the classroom.

Something I am super excited about is Mystery Skype, an educational initiative to bring classrooms together from all over the world. To take part in this educational game, teachers can register their classrooms and then connect with other classrooms around the world. After arranging a time for the lesson, the classrooms then Skype with one another and the aim of the game is to try and guess the location of the other classroom by asking questions. Mystery Skype has been used for all sorts of subjects, including geography, history, language, math, and science, and students of all ages seem to be entranced by this clever way to bridge cultural divides.

In a recent edSurge article, Brandi Leggett talks about the transformative experiences her students have had with Mystery Skype. Her third grade classroom in Kansas has worked with students in Rio de Janeiro, Utah, Manhattan, Japan, Israel, Kenya, and Pakistan. Through these experiences, they have learned a myriad of lessons, both formal and informal. The students have been amused by accents, amazed by time zones, and shocked by realities such as war drills in Israel or the conditions of classrooms in a slum in Kenya. The game itself teaches them about the geography and culture of the places they Skype, but also requires them to be more aware and knowledgeable about their own communities. Throughout each lesson, they have learned valuable communication skills, both verbal and written.

Global collaboration is not new, but as technology and access to technology progresses, the experiences are becoming more and more immersive and inclusive. Collaborating with classrooms around the world, the learning opportunities become intersectional and endless.

Learn more about Mystery Skype below:

The Grand Canyon Trail of Time: Interactive Museum Exhibits and Embodied Cognition

Two weeks ago I went on a family vacation to the Grand Canyon. In addition to hiking and exploring one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, I loved learning about the geology of the area and the earth science involved in the creation and continued evolution of the Canyon.

One of the coolest educational bits of my trip was a walk along the Trail of Time. This 2.8 miles interpretive walking timeline trail winds along the Southern Rim and every handful of steps there were pieces of rock layer or vistas with stories to explain their place in the timeline and how the Grand Canyon formed. Every meter of the walk signifies one million years, and my journey through the trail helped me to understand the magnitude of geologic time.

These sorts of exhibits are powerful educational tools to teach scalable large or small concepts. The American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium has a similar walk – Scales of the Universe – where the SIZES of very very big very very small objects are put into perspective through comparisons along a 400 long walkway. In my college Astronomy class, my professor used objects like tennis balls and the length of our lecture hall to give us a combined idea of the vast sizes and spaces between planets and solar systems in our universe.

One mechanism behind the effectiveness of these tools is embodied cognition (an idea that Karin expands upon in this post). While many models of human thinking over the past half century have focused on a model of abstract thought, recent cognitive learning science and neuroscience research has shown overwhelming evidence that cognition is inextricably tied to perception. Therefore, grounding learning in perceptual experiences, thought modal simulations, bodily states, and situated action can increase students’ deep understanding of concepts. Perceptually-grounded cognition research has indicated numerous ways to make learning more meaningful by embedding it within the ways a learner interacts with her world, integrating learning with experiences (Black, Segel, Vitale, & Fadjo, 2012). Embodied cognition models prescribe learning environments where motions and actions are congruous with mental processes. The trail of time uses human motion to drive in the concept of vast periods of time and sensory tactile and visual experiences to help learners better understand the look and shape of the geologic formations.  After sweating through a long walk across the millions of years of geologic formation, one can begin to truly understand how long it took for the earth to form the beautiful canyon below.

 

 

Experiential Learning & the Value of Personal Narrative in teaching {{Growth Mindset}}

Hello rethinked…* ! I have been travelling quite a bit these past few weeks, but last Friday I had the chance to attend a great Mindset workshop at Riverdale Country Day School run by the wonderful Mai Kobori and Lisa Grocott from Parson’s THRIVING learning lab. The workshop was a bit of a prototype on how to use experiential learning and personal narrative to instill the idea of growth mindset. Elsa has a great summary post about this construct here. Generally the idea is that a person with a fixed mindset believes that their ability at a given thing is fixed and unchanging, and therefore puts in less effort (since effort is meaningless) and is less likely to seek challenges or take risks. Alternatively, students with a growth mindset believe that ability is flexible and improves with effort and practice. We all hold different fixed or a growth mindsets in a variety of domains (and we hold different ones for different things). For example, I may believe that my running ability is fixed, but my reading ability can grow.

Lisa and Mai used this video below to drive the concepts home, and I think it does a really great job of summarizing the basic findings around this construct:

In the workshop, we discussed times in our own lives when we experienced the symptoms of a fixed mindset, thought about metaphors for these ideas, and then we broke into groups and developed short narratives using Adobe Voice that presented the transition from a fixed to a growth mindset using metaphor. The use of personal narrative in small groups cultivated trust and encouraged vulnerability which undoubtedly strengthened the program. Additionally, I think the method of inventing and creating stories to instill the growth mindset is a great way to teach these concepts in an engaging way. Prior to this, I had mostly heard of lecture-based approaches where students learn that their brain is a muscle. If I were a teacher, I would definitely use this method in my own classroom.

I worked in a group that focused on the idea of effort seeming futile. We all shared our own personal struggles with fixed mindset and ultimately developed the following short story using carnival games as a metaphor. We sought to express the idea that effort seems futile when you aren’t actually measuring effort (but rather chance), and perhaps you should refine your instrument and take a new perspective before throwing in the towel. Check it out below:

While we only had about 20 minutes each to develop our videos, it would be interesting to give students more time with this tool to see what they could develop. Ultimately, I see a TON of promise in using this sort of pedagogy to promote character education.

 

 

 

 

Rethinking Work/Flow

Screenshot 2014-06-04 13.57.13

It’s not news that engagement at work — or the lack of it — is a problem for many. But with all the bad news about work that’s been coming across my screen, I’m having an even harder time doing the work that’s on my screen.

First I read Sunday’s New York Times op-ed by the Energy Project‘s Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath:

Just 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup. Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent. For most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious ways, it’s getting worse.

Then yesterday it was David Brooks on his loss of focus at work:

Like everyone else, I am losing the attention war. I toggle over to my emails when I should be working. I text when I should be paying attention to the people in front of me. I spend hours looking at mildly diverting stuff on YouTube.

And then I watched some highly diverting “stuff on Youtube”: “Humpback Whale Shows AMAZING Appreciation After Being Freed From Nets!

(You know you want to click.)

Then yesterday, TED’s “Work Smarter” playlist beckoned from my Facebook feed. Of 12 videos in the playlist, I chose — naturally — Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work,” a talk by basecamp co-founder Jason Fried.

The front door of the office is like a Cuisinart, and you walk in and your day is shredded to bits, because you have 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there, and then something else happens and you’re pulled off your work, and you’ve got to do something else. Then you have 20 minutes, then it’s lunch. Then you have something else to do. Then you’ve got 15 minutes, and someone pulls you aside and asks you this question, and before you know it, it’s 5 p.m., and you look back on the day, and you realize that you didn’t get anything done. 

rethinked...* logo

When I was in grad school, I spent many, many hours at my desk, usually in front of a computer. The work was always challenging. When I didn’t like or understand the expectations of the assignment, the work became stressful. But when I felt equal to the challenges of the work and I could express myself in my work (not unusual in design school), the work became fun.

This feeling of flow was deliciously addictive — and I experienced first-hand its power in an educational context. I became so interested in the role of flow in creativity and learning that that intersection — the psychology of creativity and learning — became a major component of my master’s thesis.

To me, the holy grail of all work is flow.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a major figure in the creativity-research wing of cognitive psychology, first coined the term flow as “an effortless yet highly focused state of consciousness.” 

The key to flow lies in the many essential conditions that make flow possible:

  • intrinsic motivation (the task is appealing in and of itself) 
  • clear goals and immediate feedback
  • a sense of challenge balanced with a sense of skill
  • action merged with awareness
  • freedom from distractions, self-consciousness, and worry of failure

Screenshot 2014-06-04 13.58.25

Interestingly Csikszentmihalyi was not studying creativity when he first identified these factors. He was researching human enjoyment.

Given what he believed to be the “vague, unfocused, constantly distracted condition of the normal mind,” he wanted to understand the circumstances that allow people to achieve intense, sustained focus over a prolonged time. In those who achieved it, this focus seemed to inoculate them against fatigue, doubt, and other factors that would typically undermine motivation and decrease effort. 

Years later, when he studied creative people, Csikszentmihalyi realized that the characteristics of flow were nearly identical to the characteristics of deep enjoyment.

Csikszentmihalyi’s research echoes the work of Richard Ryan and Edward Deci, whose research reveals the role that motivation plays in human achievement of all kinds. (I’ve previously suggested one particular Ryan-Deci study as excellent reading for teachers.) 

Humans naturally thrive when working toward meaningful goals. That is, intrinsically motivating activities (which are meaningful by definition) give us a desire — and stomach — for work, including the hard work of learning and creativity. Humans are wired to be learn and be creative, but we only reach our full learning potential and creative potential when we experience strong motivation. And experiencing that motivation requires freedom from self-consciousness and worry of failure, as Csikszentmihalyi found:

In flow, we feel that our abilities are well matched to the opportunities for action. In everyday life we sometimes feel that the challenges are too high in relation to our skills, and then we feel frustrated and anxious. Or we feel that our potential is greater than the opportunities to express it, and then we feel bored. Playing tennis or chess against a much better opponent leads to frustration; against a much weaker opponent, to boredom. In a really enjoyable game, the players are balanced on the fine line between boredom and anxiety. When the challenges become too great for the person to cope with, a sense of frustration rather than joy creeps in — at least for a while.

Between anxiety and bordeom lies flow: Csikszentmihalyi

Between anxiety (too-high stakes) and boredom (no stakes) lies flow. And learning.

 

This notion that flow lies between anxiety and boredom is, I would argue, easier to grasp when expressed in terms of high- and low-stakes endeavors. High-stakes endeavors tend to sharpen one’s mind and energies, but the scale and import of such endeavors can overwhelming, even paralyzing. A low-stakes endeavor tends to be approachable and nonthreatening, but its relative unimportance makes motivation hard to come by.

However, there are two “sweet spots,” i.e., tasks that are neither anxiety-producing nor boring: lower-stakes tasks that are fun, and high-stakes tasks that one consistently feels competent enough to achieve.

Whether it’s proving the Pythagorean theorem, creating a video for a class, or writing a master’s thesis, any endeavor flourishes when in flow. Flow exists only in the absence of anxieties that often surround significant challenges, be they learning challenges or creative challenges.

Therefore, as educators, our efforts to banish boredom, anxiety and fear from our classrooms must be continuous and vigilant.

One strategy to do that? Make more room in the curriculum for learning through creative self-expression, for making — and be sure to integrate creativity into both learning objectives and assessments.

Screenshot 2014-06-04 14.00.11

Source: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Perennial, 1997.

{ Rethinking Technology } Charles Fadel on Our Algorithmic, Automated Future

dorco-six-blade-razor-web

If you ask experts, How do you see the future evolving?, they come up with an acronym that summarizes their view:

VUCA — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.

That in a nutshell is the future. Actually, we’re already in it.

Perhaps the most surprising presentation at the recent Learning & the Brain conference was by Charles Fadel, the founder of the Center for Curriculum Redesign.

For me, Fadel’s talk completely realigned the conversation on 21st century education — by presenting a more accurate understanding of the breathtaking pace, direction, and implications of technological innovation.

What Fadel made especially clear is that the true nature and impact of this innovation tends to escape us for the simple reason that much of it evolves out of public view.

A very similar version of his entire 50-minute presentation can be seen here. It’s worth viewing in its entirety, but in the meantime, here are some key highlights.

on technological acceleration

In the first part of my career, I was in semiconductor technology… so I’ve seen what geometric progressions can do. When things double in capability every 18 months, it’s quite unfathomable…. We’re wired to understand the mathematical world in a logarithmic fashion rather than in an exponential fashion. Our perception of numbers is not preparing us to understand what happens when things double every 18 months in the case of semiconductor technology, or 12 months in the case of storage, or doubling every nine months in the case of bandwidth. We just cannot fathom what happens from one generation to the next.

tech-acceleration-Charles-Fadel

In current trends, you will have the latitude to buy an iPhone with 40 Terrabytes in 2015. What would you do with 40 Terrabytes? What would you do with 40 Exobytes in 2025?.. You will be able to record yourself, from birth onward, and store it. You’ll never have another argument with your significant other: Rewind, and — I told you so! 

Here’s the discontinuity: [This storage] is already possible in the cloud… It’s actually quite doable and affordable. And it’s only going to get more doable and affordable — on an exponential basis.

“The future is already here — it s just not evenly distributed.”
— William Gibson, 2003

[Technological innovation] is all around us, we just don’t see the point at which it’s going to scale up and become profoundly impactful. The internet was around for 25-odd years, virtually invisible to most people. And then all of a sudden it popped up because it passed the “knee” of the [S-] curve of exponential [growth].

ON COMPUTER-DRIVEN ALGORITHMS

What the hardware progression [over the past few decades] has been hiding is how fast the software is progressing… Kinks and bugs give us the impression that [software] is doing very poorly by comparison [to hardware].

But actually, algorithms, which are themselves are powering all sorts of industries…, are progressing at an amazing rate. So [the time required to complete one linear programming task] has dropped from 82 years to one minute [in just fifteen years], which is an improvement of 43 million. Of which a factor of 43,000 is due to algorithms. That’s 43x times more than the increase due to hardware.

ON INCREMENTAL VS. RADICAL CREATIVITY

Invention Machine [a Boston innovation company] cataloged thousands of patterns, and started noticing [that] very often Innovation occurs following patterns.

[Fadel gave the example of propeller blades increasing from one, to two, to three, to four blades, and then to “double-four-blade” propellers.]

Charles-Fadel-innovation-patterns

There’s an object you use in your daily life that has followed the same progression: the razor blade. One, two, three, four — six [blades] now. You can literally predict that at some point, Gillette or someone will say, Hey, I can have this thing move in the middle, and that will be a double-four blade. That has happened with cameras, albeit digitally, not mechanically….

So inventions follow patterns, and if it’s a pattern, it can be automated. You could literally launch a computer program, then go in and patent the next three-blade, four-blade… It’s so incremental, it’s almost mindless. What’s amazing to me is we actually do buy six blades.

Incremental Innovation = improving the existing ‘state’
Radical innovation = inventing a completely new ‘state’

There’s a difference between incremental innovation, which can be quite readily automated, and radical innovation, which isn’t.

So, the good news is that computers aren’t quite yet capable of radical innovation. You’re not going to have a computer coming up with a Bach piece by [itself].

But the bad news is that most innovation is actually incremental. So when we say we’re going to teach our kids creativity — yes, incremental creativity and invocation is important but we also have to realize that we have to somehow push them to the radical side as much as possible. Because the Incremental side can be automated.

 

SO WHAT DO WE TEACH IN THIS AGE OF INNOVATION?

Wisdom
Ethics

Fluidity with technology 
Adaptability
Resilience
Curiosity
Asking the right questions
Synthesizing/integrating
Creating

They’re not so much about knowledge — traditional knowledge that we all love and nurture — but about higher-order skills of all types, particularly skills and character traits.

To learn about other incredible examples of existing technology — such as augmented-reality contact lenses, cancer diagnoses made by offshore computer, and robotic prison guards, to name just a few — I encourage you to watch Charles Fadel’s entire presentation, made available by the Ross School.

Tony Wagner on High Tech High’s “classroom of the future”

high-tech-high

“The philosophy of High Tech High is founded largely on the idea of kids making, doing, building, shaping, and inventing stuff.

“The engineers that I know, the architects I know, the artists I know, the great educators I know, the entrepreneurs I know — they’re all perplexed and curious about how they can do it better the next time. And that type of perplexity leads to engagement, it leads to learning, it leads to innovation. We are trying to inculcate that type of perplexity and curiosity in our students in everyday practices.”

— Larry Rosenstock, CEO of High Tech High

rethinked...* logo

Tony Wagner — the Expert In Residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab and a favorite here at rethinked…* — is a vocal champion of High Tech High, a network of 11 charter schools in San Diego County.

High Tech High’s 4500 students are admitted via zip-code-based lottery. Sixty percent of the students are minorities, and 48% qualify for free and reduced lunch.

But as Wagner noted in a speech at the 2013 (co)lab summit, the 11 High Tech High schools are also notable for what they don’t do. They don’t offer AP classes. They don’t offer varsity athletics. And they don’t teach to standardized tests, so, according to Wagner, the schools’ “state scores are average.”

And yet, in many important ways, High Tech High is a school of the future.

Though its name may conjure up images of students immersed in digital learning, a wonderful clip of an upcoming documentary on HTH — which Tony screened at the Learning and the Brain conference I recently attended — reveals that the school’s philosophy of innovation inhabits the wood shop just as fully as the computer lab.

high-tech-high2

The clip (which begins at 2:23 in the video below) features an interdisciplinary physics and humanities project at HTH. Collaborative groups of students developed theories of the rise and fall of the Greek, Roman, and Mayan Empires — and then manifested their theories in fully-functioning mechanical presentations.

The students’ ingenuity, perseverance, and demonstrably hands-on learning yielded astounding visual results.

What’s more, the final stage of the project involved an annual all-school open-house, where students presented final projects to the general public. In this case, the “general public” was literally thousands of people.

One key takeaway?

Counterintuitively perhaps, in the “classroom of the future,” the most profound innovations — making and presenting as integral components of learning — are as timeless as they are transformative.

For the documentary clip, please jump to 2:23.

Sign up to receive more information about the documentary film at learninginnovation.us.

Scott Barry Kaufman On Game-Changing Teachers

Last week I wrote about how my high school classmates and I developed intellectual self-perceptions based on our teachers’ expectations, for better or for worse. Particularly for students who had been typecast as strugglers, the existence of just one or two teachers who instead celebrated those students’ abilities had an enormous positive impact on the students’ ability to recognize their own potential. One friend called those teachers “game changers.”

Just this past Saturday I attended a truly inspirational talk by Scott Barry Kaufman, who’s been featured on rethinked…* before. Kaufman, a cognitive scientist at the University of Pennsylvania (along with Karen Reivich, Angela Duckworth, and Martin Seligman), studies intelligence, imagination and creativity — what they are, how they are developed, and how to measure them. All research is in some way ME-search, Kaufman said toward the beginning of an unusually autobiographical keynote at the May 8-10 conference held by the Society for Learning and the Brain.

Kaufman shared the story of having been diagnosed with central auditory processing disorder at age five, due to having had chronic ear infections as a toddler. Frustrated, he was placed in various LD and special ed programs for almost ten years — on some level knowing that he was capable of a lot more than his teachers believed. One day, a substitute teacher, simply by taking notice of his frustration, changed the course of his life.

For one thing, he became determined, at age 15, to “come up with a new theory of intelligence,” and he has.

Kaufman’s talk is not available to the public, but a shorter — and decidedly less relaxed and funny — version is. Despite these shortcomings, it is ten minutes worth watching. He traces the same details of his autobiography to explain why kids need more than game-changers. Kids need an education system that, rather than “plucking out” IQ scores and judging kids accordingly, takes a holistic approach to achievement by considering kids’ engagement and motivation, as well as their ability.

From Evaluation to Inspiration: Scott Barry Kaufman
at TEDx Manhattan Beach
, published January 4, 2014.

It took Kaufman years to track down and thank his game-changer.
Her name is Joyce Jeuell.

Jeuell and Kaufman

Kaufman with his one-time substitute teacher and game-changer

 

Who were the game-changers in your intellectual development? How did they shape the course of your life?

And is there someone that you can be a game-changer for now?

How to think about CREATIVITY in education…* { Part 3 }

For my third installment of how to think about creativity, I will explore the questions:

1) How does creativity function with grades and assessment?

2) Is creativity always a good solution?

(see Part I and Part II for more ideas about creativity in education).

#5 ASSESSMENT AND CREATIVITY

As discussed within some of the previous ideas, creativity is comprised of multiple factors, including ways of thinking, dedication, teamwork, and interest. Therefore, any assessments of creativity or creative potential should take this into account. Rather than simply giving students a test of divergent thinking, for example, one would want to potentially assess personality variables, prior experience, and interest in the subject area.

Another interesting aspect of creativity and testing is that adding external rewards (extrinsic motivators) to a task has been shown to be detrimental to creative output. Many educators already know of the benefits of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation in the classroom, and creative products are particularly sensitive to the type of motivation behind their inception and development.

Furthermore, people can modulate their creative focus and behaviors based on the expectations of a task. Students produce more creative work when asked to be creative, and can excel in particular ways (i.e., flexibility, originality) on divergent thinking tests if they are specifically instructed to be more flexible or original.

For educators, this research suggests reducing evaluative pressure on students and encouraging them to produce work that will not be graded. It also suggests making creativity explicit; define the concept and explain its value. Additionally, allowing students to partake in self-directed work can foster the context where they will have greater intrinsic motivation and therefore greater creative success.

#6 CREATIVITY ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH

This last powerful idea about creativity is similar to #3 Creative People Can Be Difficult. Hanson (2013) discusses the danger of creativity as a disruptive force, shaking the status quo. In addition to the ways in which creative individuals can be perceived as troublemakers and uncooperative, the uncertainty of creative work in terms of grading makes many uncomfortable in our assessment-driven education system.

Furthermore, any large-scale creative endeavor inevitably includes protocols and practiced “uncreative” components. In fact, many tasks include only a small creative component. It is important to recognize that creativity is NOT a cure-all and students will vary in their creative expression across subjects. As Hanson (2013) states, “…educators need to think of using theories of creativity to enhance good, overall education more than using education simply to produce creativity” (p33).

 

Overall, I believe that creativity is and will continue to be a valued construct in our society. It is important to understand how it functions, what kinds of environments foster it, and how it interacts with other educational efforts. However, I strongly agree with Hanson’s overarching idea: creativity research can inform better education, but we should make sure not to over-emphasize its importance or underestimate the amount of hard work and dedication that truly creative work entails. We should take efforts to identify and be encouraging of those students with passion and creative potential who may deviate from the norm and be labeled “uncooperative.” Lastly, I would urge educators to become more explicit in defining what they expect when they ask students to “be creative.”

 

References:

Hanson, M. H. (2013). CREATIVITY THEORY AND EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE: WHY ALL THE FUSS?. The Creative Imperative: School Librarians and Teachers Cultivating Curiosity Together, 19.

%d bloggers like this: