According to a review commissioned by The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, the following five elements are important for encouraging creativity:
1. Knowledge
a) Deep, extensive knowledge of the domain
b) Broad knowledge of many different areas
2. Creative thinking skills
a) Synthetic: Combining existing knowledge or understanding in new ways,
often through many attempts of which only a few are successful
b) Analytical: Ability to judge one’s own ideas
c) Practical: Ability to promote creative ideas
3. Motivation
a) Curiosity
b) Intrinsic interest
c) Perseverance (delayed gratification)
d) Willingness to take risks
e) Comfort with ambiguity
4. Metacognition
a) Explicit decision to be creative
b) Knowing about creativity (i.e., all of the above)
5. Environment
a) Non-controlling (risk taking and unconventional solutions rewarded rather
than sanctioned)
b) Non-threatening (intrinsic incentives vs. extrinsic rewards or threats)
Source: Adams, K. (2005, September). The sources of innovation and creativity. Paper commissioned by the National Center
on Education and the Economy for the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. Washington, DC: National
Center on Education and the Economy

ECOO Conference

Presented a seminar at the ECOO Conference yesterday on how to create an engaging game based project in Wikispaces. The resources and information are posted here. Participants in the seminar shared a common goal in wanting as much student centered learning as possible embedded in the wiki experience. This could mean that students create the wikispace themselves, determine the success criteria, the assignment options, the point system, and the design. Producing an appealing project for your students on a wikispace takes a bit of front end work, but then once it is set up, students take over.

The conference had lots of positive energy and the future looks technologically bright for our students.

Learning through Hip Hop

A surgeon shows, through functional MRI imaging, that during improvisation the brain is working on many important levels, unlike when someone is using memorized material. Creativity is a neurological process that can be measured and this experiment measured brain activity while musicians were playing or rapping – comparing improvised jazz keyboard playing and hip hop rapping. The experimental question was: What happens in the brain during something that’s memorized and over-learned, and what happens in the brain during something that is spontaneously generated, or improvised, in a way that’s matched motorically and in terms of lower-level sensory motor features?

So if the brain is engaged on many levels during improv vs memorizing, then students should not be memorizing content. Why invest precious classroom time in a strategy that simply does not benefit the student? This speaks to the importance of learning through creativity, self-direction and discovery.