After watching Sir Ken Robinson’s presentation on the role of creativity in schools, I am self-reflecting and analyzing the opportunities that my students have to be creative during our school day. We sometimes but not often. They dance in their weekly music class and in our weekly All School Sing session; but rarely ever during their regular daily classtime. They have art weekly and that tends to be the extent of their art experience; we occasionally do artistic projects to supplement a unit of study in science or in social studies. When I take out math manipulatives for them to use such as the 3-D blocks, linker cubes, pattern blocks, or base-ten blocks for example, it is almost impossible to keep them from building and creating with them. I do realize that they don’t get much time to play with these objects and so I give them time to play with them before I ask them to use them to facilitate them in learning a particular math concept. I have to admit, they really don’t get much time to play and create with materials. It could be very true that not allowing children to have more free time to be creative with such manipulatives or art materials is killing my children’s creativity.
If I were to name ways that I think my students do use their creativity, they would be mostly through the use of digital media. My students are able to create Google presentations. They use their creativity by choosing images to put into their presentations; by choosing different transitions between slides; by making the text or objects animated; by choosing layouts, templates, fonts and colors of text. Another tech tool they use to be creative is a tool called Jelly Cam. This is a stop motion program that the students use to create movies, created by taking still pictures of objects that they manipulate. When the pictures are played altogether, they create a video out of the still images. Recently some of my students have learned how to use Photo Story 3 and they have been creating digital stories. This allows them to be creative as they create or choose images and sounds, then record narrative to go with them. As the students are shown more and more tech tools and programs they will expand their creativity by not only using the tools in a creative way, but also making decisions about which tools to use to create their projects.
Another way that technology is bringing creativity into my classroom is with its capacity to show information to students in multiple ways. My students are being exposed to more video, digital imagery and audio, which is broadening their experiences. The exposure to examples of various digital projects, games, and information fosters their creativity by giving them inspirational ideas. The more knowledge my students have, the more topics they will have the chance to be creative with. They need some basic understanding first, then they can manipulate and be creative about the topic. They are really good at asking what if questions and creating different scenarios for possible outcomes. I notice their creativity when they use higher order thinking through inferencing, questioning and coming up with alternative outcomes.
So maybe my classroom isn’t so devoid of creativity afterall. My students certainly show creativity with their spoken and written words. They have very rich discussions about topics and they question, analyze and explore different scenarios out of the norm. It seems like they have alternate ways to be creative, beyond the traditional, with the technology tools available to them. However, one thing Sir Ken Robinson spoke about that keeps playing in my head, is that we don’t let our students dance every day and for some children this is important. They need to dance and move in order to learn. For others it could be singing, painting or drawing. The point that I am taking with me, from him, is to allow my students to use creativity in its various forms and in the ways that they need to learn best. Of course, I need to figure out how to do this in a way that is cohesive for everyone. Change is good. One little step at a time. Creativity shall flourish.
Robinson, Ken. (2007). Do schools kill creativity? (video) . TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) website. retrieved at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY