The Power of Creativity


Creativity is the most important trait that a person can possess. It allows you to create meaning, importance and curiosity. It is the essence of why and how children and adults learn. As teachers and schools evolve, they should be asking themselves, how are our schools enhancing our students’ and our teachers’ creativity, curiosity, and engagement?

Recently, my school came together as a community to think about this question. It is an important question because it will determine if our school will meet the needs of our students in the 21st century. One way our school plans on maximizing its impact on students is to create PLNs, personal learning networks, where teachers help each other investigate new ways to create curriculum and organize instruction. In our PLNs, our teachers along with administrators, will learn creative ways to combine technology and great teaching strategies to engage students in project based learning, and teach other how to use collaborative structures to keep students engaged and curious enough to strive to learn or explore topics and projects on their own in and out of the classroom.

With that in mind our school is taking time to consider what teacher and student tools we are using as a community to promote creativity. In order to promote creativity as a school, we first chose to examine how the learner is changing in the 21st century, and then used this knowledge to change our teaching so that it will enhance this new style of learning and at the same time promote creativity in our school.

While working with my school PLN group, I came across a video conversation with Discovery Education’s own, Hall Davidson, speaking about what makes a creative school. The video intrigues me because Hall’s answer is that in a creative school, the learner is someone who learns by creating and interacting with video, experimentation, and collaboration to construct or enhance their own understanding. This implies that the teachers will have to flip in the 21st century, not just the classroom to enhance student learning and creativity. Technology and collaboration will be the tools the students use to learn new concepts. Teachers have to use technology to help students be engaged, but students need to be creative in the way they think of using the technology, art and print media to represent their thoughts. The teacher and students roles are flipped from the traditional teacher/ student model. Now the classroom is a place where teacher and student help each other make connections and teachers mentor and help students think through issues, solve problems and use creativity to understand what they are learning.

This idea has great impact on a teacher’s view of delivering the curriculum content and also on how teachers will organize the students’ learning time. Teachers and students will need to use  creativity to improve instruction and learning. For example, teachers will need to be creative in how they structure their lessons to encourage thoughtful collaboration among students. The students will use technology, as the video implies, to create content that helps the student to better understand what they are learning.  Interacting with media in a creative way will help students develop new ideas and form new curriculum connections. It is the creative interaction of students and teachers that will lead to enhanced learning.
How can administrators and teachers foster creativity? One way to enhance creativity is to encourage the use of tools like Discovery Education, or other teacher tested web 2.0 tools, that give students the tool set they need to employ their own creativity to interact and create new ideas with the core curriculum.  Another way creativity can be fostered is by giving teachers time to collaborate with other teachers, for example encouraging teachers to attend a DEN event or DEN webinars. If you think about it, being a member of DEN enables you to be involved in an international personal learning network. Creativity is the key to keeping teaching and learning relevant. Discovery and DEN are one of the tools our school utilizes to creatively increase teacher-to-teacher collaboration and student learning. Creativity is powerful. How will your school creatively engage students and teachers?

Comments

  1. Sheryl Roberts

    I am fairly new to all of the resources DE has to offer. Our school division offers professional development and one of the courses was an introduction to DE. This course has taught me so much already and plan on sharing it with my fellow teachers. No one in my school uses DE that much and I don’t think anyone is a member of the DEN. I’m hoping to encourage collaboration and creativity. The possibilities with DE are really endless.

  2. Sheryl Roberts

    I just posted a blog n my web site for my students. I plan on assigning video clips and assignments for them to comment on. I am hoping this will build curiosity with my students.

    • Tracie Belt

      Your story sounds a lot like mine. I can tell you will be a good ambassador for DE at your school.

  3. Cheryl Woolwine

    Great article Tracy I really enjoyed reading it. You are so right the way to help students become creative is to allow them to interact with the technology – they can and will teach us stuff!!! – Cheryl

  4. Kati Searcy

    Hi, Tracie ~ Do you know if there are any DEN pre-conference events or other events for FETC 2012. I will be there !!! Kati
    404-661-9416

  5. Kati Searcy

    Tracie – great article – you may be interested in seeing what the state of Georgia has done. In 2010, I worked with the GA DOE to design and deliver a comprehensive suite of customized, standards-based, and assessment aligned resources to the teacher’s desktop. We released over 400 standards- aligned performance tasks showcasing the integration of the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) for K-8 mathematics, social studies, science, and english language arts that will assist teachers in providing students with performance based tasks designed to improve their college and career readiness and 21st century skills.

    Here is the link: https://www.georgiastandards.org/standards/Pages/NETS-S-Performance-Tasks.aspx

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