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Creativity and Learning!

This evening at our College’s latest ICT SIT (School Improvement Team) meeting we viewed Sir Ken’s 2006 TED talk on “How School’s Kill Creativity”. My colleague Michelle and I spoke about how there are some school settings out there giving their students 20% time, or ‘genius hour’ time to work on creative based projects of their choosing.

The notion of doing this is based on Google giving their employees 20% of their working week off, one day effectively, to work on company based projects of their choice that could add to Google’s offerings! A wonderful concept that fosters heavily on creativity and innovation. 2 things that we want our students to be aware of, and to attempt, as often as they can.

2 great local examples of this are from two fantastic teachers in Anthony Speranza and Narissa Leung, both educators in Melbourne. Their blog posts and online resources about what they are doing with their students is amazing and is certainly something I encourage not only our own staff to take up but are great for anyone wanting to ‘release’ their students to showcase what they are capable of!

What i really enjoyed reading was the way that both teachers went about integrating this and guidelines that they put in to place.This gave this idea I feel a greater purpose and meaning for the students as it guides their thinking to be more creative. This is evident in Narissa’s first project guideline where “Students had to learn something new while doing the project- it wasn’t enough to simply regurgitate information they already knew.” 

Reflecting on Sir Ken’s TED talk which i’ve seen several times now, he promotes a lot of thought provoking ideas and discussion points on the notion of innovation and creativity versus academic ability. The idea that the public education system does not cater for learners who have a need and drive for the creative. That schools are based on their academic success and results and it is this reason that our young learners grow to loose their creative ability.

As teachers and educators we need to ensure that we let all of our students have the chance to play to their strengths. That we do not simply rely on academic ability to judge how successful our students will be.

What do these 5 have in common…

  • Thomas Edison – Inventor
  • James Cameron – Director
  • Walt Disney – Animator
  • Mark Zuckerburg – Facebook Founder

and of course…

  • Steve Jobs – Apple Founder

They all are school dropouts. Oh, and all are known for their creativity and innovation in their respected fields.

The more we can encourage our students to be creative and showcase their skills and innovative capabilities the greater learning I feel we will see. By encouraging our students to think outside the box and move away from the norm is certainly something that needs to take place. The days of producing kids in the education system who are only academically driven are fast, if not already, becoming something of the past. Skills needed to be successful in the 21st century rely more not on reading, writing and numeracy, but on the ability for workers to be more technologically minded and globally connected.

The image below showcases 10 key skills and 6 key drivers our students will need by the year 2020. This has been developed by the ‘Institute for the Future‘ who have focused this work on future work skills, not future jobs. These skills being ones that are transferable across a range of jobs and work situations, all of which will aid workers to be successful in their chosen fields.

Click to Enlarge…

I seem to have gone off on some sort of tangent here however… there is a point! 😉

That point being creativity needs to have a greater focus placed upon it in our education system and i feel that in most cases that the buck stops with the teacher. We need to step back, make room and space, and give our kids time to showcase and demonstrate what they can do, and the notion of ‘Genius Hour’ and or ‘20% Time’ is one great way in which we can assist in making the above happen.

For more information on what both Narissa and Anthony have been up to please head to their respective blogs.

Narissa’s Blog – Teaching in the Big Wired World and her post titled – ‘Putting the G in ‘Genius

Anthony’s Class Blog – Year 5/6 @ St.Marks Primary School and his post titled ‘The Genius Hour!

Anthony’s Personal Blog – ReconfigurEd If you scroll down you’ll find a number of posts related to his Genius Hour exploits as well as presentations that he has completed on this topic.

Corrie

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