Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Creativity in the Classroom: Is it lost?

Sir Ken Robinson had an incredible impact on me, my views of the classroom, as well as my views on my students’ habits and actions. I totally agreed with him that we are teaching towards a group of children who are afraid to take risks, challenges, and be wrong. It’s not because they want to be that way, but it’s because our society and educational system has shaped them to be that way.

Robinson mentioned that every school in the world has a hierarchy that includes Math and Language at the top, and the arts at the bottom. Much of the bottom also includes creativity, and it’s becoming lost within our society. Because there is little time spent on creativity, we are teaching our children to operate and push towards the next level of simply getting an education or diploma, instead of pursuing challenges and ideas. Without students’ curiosity and ability to think on their own, it’s unsure what the future will hold. Education systems are so fixated on Math, literacy, and test scores that we are forgetting that everything we have today came from an idea in someone’s mind. Someone who was using his or her creativity.  I agree with Robinson that creativity is just as important at literacy, but unfortunately the way society and school systems are run, it doesn’t necessarily allow teachers to help encourage their students creativity in the classroom. Things need to change and I feel digital media can, and will, help this problem.

I believe the use of digital media will help bring creativity back to life in schools, and will help to keep it alive.  To help encourage creativity in my classroom, I try to create as many connections for the students as possible. For example, if we are studying a particular concept in Math, I try to have a conversation about what professions may use that skill. It helps to show students that even though we’re learning something from the text, it’s applicable in their lives. To enhance creativity I also use short video clips from Discovery Education, Teacher Tube, and Brain Pop to activate students’ knowledge and get them motivated to learn!  I try to include as many media based projects as possible such as IMovie, Kidblog, Blabberize, TikaTok, and Pod Casts. I am excited to attempt the use of Glogster, Prezi, and Edmodo within my classroom next year as well.  We are fortunate to have mobile carts in each grade level that allow us to create interesting projects and assignments for our students that will allow them to share their creativity with others. Despite all that technology can offer creativity, I believe it’s crucial for teachers to let students know from day one that it’s okay to be wrong. I know I personally stress to my students that we are a community of learners who are going to support, respect, and challenge each other throughout the year. I let them know what I too am a lifelong learner and I will make mistakes and be wrong, but I’m okay with that. I want my students to feel safe when exploring technology and their creativity because I feel that is the only way they will truly be able to express it.

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