Importance of creativity in education

“Creativity is the New Literacy”. That is what Chase Jarvis, a world-renowned photographer told the crowd at GeekWire Summit 2013.

Jarvis stressed that as a culture we need to value creativity. He also said that creativity could solve all of humanity’s fundamental problems.

It is crucial for us to have an education system that fosters creativity.

Creativity is not limited to just actors, artists, musicians, etc. It even plays an important role in business.

Like Jarvis said, “Whether you are building a business or an iPhone app, creativity is the thing that drives what we do.”

Creativity is the mental and social process used to generate ideas and concepts. In other words, creativity is about innovation.

Companies such as Google and Pixar are known for creativity and innovation and for their unique workplaces (Nhan, 2012).

Creativity sometimes is not recognized or even possible without support from others (Csikszentimihalyi, 1996).

This is another reason why educators need to encourage creativity.

Sir Ken Robinson has spoken twice at TED about how schools kill creativity. He explained that there are three major reasons:

First, they promote standardization and a narrow view of intelligence when human talents are diverse and personal. Second, they promote compliance when cultural progress and achievement depend on the cultivation of imagination and creativity. Third, they are linear and rigid when the course of each human life, including yours, is organic and largely unpredictable.

Many school districts across the country have been adopting the Common Core education standards, which is President Obama’s replacement for No Child Left Behind. The Common Core provides new national standards for core subjects such as reading, writing, and math.

Ashley Lauren Samsa believes that in many ways, the Common Core is a great thing for both teachers and students. She explains that with the focus no long being on content, educators can teach whatever they want in their classroom as long as students are taught to read, write, and think critically. However, she is concerned that with Common Core’s emphasis on nonfiction texts, technology, and career skills, teachers might forget about creativity.

The advocates of the Common Core standards say that we need Common Core otherwise students will not be prepared for college or a career

According to Diane Ravitch, there is no evidence that these standards will prepare students for careers because there is nothing in them that has any relationship to careers.

Ravitch stresses that schools across the nation are suffering from budget cuts. This means less time and resources for subjects like arts, physical education, and other subjects, which are crucial for a real education.

These programs are essential to promoting creativity.

As I stressed earlier, creativity is about innovation and plays an important role in business.

In a previous blog, I talked about how interactive games and tabletop roleplaying games can be used as a teaching tool to promote storytelling and foster creativity and learning. I mentioned how a school in Demark used roleplaying as a teaching method for all academic subjects.

I wrote in Interactive games and tabletop roleplaying games as a teaching tool:

Roleplaying and storytelling can be used to motivate students and encourage them to want to learn. These games are effective because students engage in learning more when they are actively participating and it is important to work with their interests.

The constructivist learning theory is the best way to encourage creativity in the classroom. According to Gabler and Schroeder (2002), the theory is about providing students with ways to connect what they learn in the classroom to the real world; it focuses on how students can create meaning in what they are learning.

Every student has a different style of learning but an effective strategy to motivate all students is to focus on how students can create meaning in what they are learning. By incorporating the constructivist learning theory into the curriculum, educators can help students learn beyond the classroom experience and encourage creativity.

In Journalism is not dead, importance of storytelling, I discuss the importance of media literacy and how a journalism education teaches people how to become better storytellers. I stressed that we need to emphasize the importance of journalism and photography as forms of storytelling.

Teachers need to make sure that their classrooms emphasize creativity and critical thinking skills.

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References

Csikszentimihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Gabler, I.C. and Schroeder, M. (2002). Constructivist Methods for the Secondary Classroom. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Manders, D. (2013, September 16). “Creativity is the New Literacy” – Chase Jarvis Stirs up the Crowd at GeekWire Summit 2013. Flip the Media. Retrieved from http://flipthemedia.com/2013/09/creativity-is-the-new-literacy-chase-jarvis-stirs-up-the-crowd-at-geekwire-summit-2013/

Nhan, D. (2012, March 6). How a creative work environment encourages more risk – and more rewards. SmartBlogs. Retrieved from http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2012/03/06/how-a-creative-work-environment-encourages-more-risk-and-more-rewards/

Ravitch, D. (2013, August 24). The Biggest Fallacy of Common Core Standards: No Evidence [Blog] Retrieved from http://dianeravitch.net/2013/08/24/the-biggest-fallacy-of-the-common-core-standards-no-evidence/

Robinson, K. (2012, December 7). Do Schools Kill Creativity. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sir-ken-robinson/do-schools-kill-creativity_b_2252942.html

Samsa, A.L. (2013, September 3). I Welcome Common Core education standards, but let’s not forget creativity. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/03/common-core-national-education-standards

Beyond the Snapshot – Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan: Beyond the Snapshot

Overview

Photographs must do more than just capture a memory. They must capture a moment in time and tell a story.

Critical Engagement Questions

  • What makes a photograph catch your attention?
  • How do we recognize a good photograph?
  • What can we do to take more interesting photographs?
  • Why are photographs an important element in media?
  • Why do we respond to certain images?

Objectives

  • Photograph the “moment”, or peak action that tells the story.
  • Watch for the human side of the story
  • Face and hands reveal emotion
  • Get the facts (ask for names, correct spelling, other caption information)

Activities and Procedures

Activity 1

  • Students will watch a Powerpoint slideshow that introduces photographic composition techniques such as cropping and the rule of thirds.
  • Students will be asked to view magazines and newspapers and to select photographs that appeal to them. The students will analyze the photos to determine why they were appealing and explain how and which composition rules are used.

 Activity 2

  • After being introduced through lecture on photography basics, the class will take a walking tour of campus and be required to take photographs of “hands, feet, and faces”. These images must illustrate various concepts such as rule of thirds, standard daylight exposure, back lighting, depth of field, panning etc. They must also reveal emotion.

Activity 3

  • For homework, students will continue working on their “hands, feet and faces” photo assignment. After the photos are developed or printed, each student will submit at least five images. In addition, they will mount their best photograph to a piece of black construction paper and will present it to the class.

Resources and Materials:

  • paper (black construction paper)
  • pencils/pens
  • camera

Writing the lead – Lesson Plan

Every news story begins with a lead, the most important part of the story.

A good lead to needs to catch the reader’s interest and make them want to read the rest of the story.

Less is often better as it helps you get your point across quickly.

Think Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Social media can help you become a better writer.

Lesson Plan: Lead Writing

Objective

  • Student will learn to write effective leads using 140 characters or less.

Activity 1

  • Students will identify the lead sentence of three stories taken from a newspaper article. Students will explain why a particular sentence was chosen as the first sentence, why it is important, and what makes it interesting.

Activity 2

  • Students will write at least 10 questions (no yes-no questions) and spend 15-20 minutes interviewing a fellow classmate. Their assignment is to gather information that will be used in a future assignment to write a short bio about their classmate.

Activity 3

  • After completing the interview, students will think about how they want to begin their story. Students will identify the most important and/or most interesting piece of information. Students will write a short sentence (140 characters or less) using the 5Ws and H to write an informative and interesting lead.

Assessment

  • Students will be given three short articles and will identify the strongest and weakest lead and explain why it is strong or weak. In addition, they will explain what catches their attention when they pick up a newspaper, what makes them want to read a story, what makes a story interesting, and what can cause readers to lose interest in a story.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Newspapers