Earlier this month, Newsweek reported on a “Creativity Crisis” in America, noting “The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future. Yet it’s not just about sustaining our nation’s economic growth. All around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions, from saving the Gulf of Mexico to bringing peace to Afghanistan to delivering health care. Such solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others.”
While the article doesn’t venture any real conclusions, it cites as possibilities the amount of screen time kids engage in, and a general “lack of creativity development in our schools,” noting, “Overwhelmed by curriculum standards, American teachers warn there’s no room in the day for a creativity class.”
Beyond the irony of that statement (can “creativity” actually be “taught”?), perhaps the problem is that we aren’t looking at creative ways to employ the things that kids gravitate to most these days – screen time.
Edutopia reports on a Florida elementary school, Key Largo School , that’s embraced technology as a creative way to inspire learning and, well, creativity! Spurred on by a $250, 000 grant from BellSouth that builds on research from the book, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (National Research Council)
According to Edutopia “technology provides opportunities to use such important science of learning principles as pre-existing knowledge, active learning, mental models, transfer, and learning for understanding.
“A list of disconnected facts doesn’t lead to deep understanding or to easy transfer of knowledge from one situation to another, according to the book. However, knowledge that is organized and connected around important concepts and mastery, which includes being able to visualize a concept, does lead to transfer and deeper, longer understanding.”
Does all that foster vital, individual creativity? Results show it certainly encourages more curiosity and interest in what’s being taught, and curiosity and interest are crucial not just to learning, but to creativity. Most schools currently aren’t set up to foster creativity. Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.
But clearly some, like Florida Virtual School, and the Key Largo School, are exercising and encouraging creativity as they continue to move steadily towards more individualized ways to teach, and learners continually find more individualized ways to learn about the world around them, utilizing things like citizen science opportunities . When you get right down to it, what inspires creativity most is exposure to a lot of interesting people, things and ideas. If it really takes a village to raise a child, maybe all the villagers need to be the creativity they wish to see!