Monday, April 7, 2014

Why Creativity Really Matters

     Many practical reasons exist for schools to be putting more emphasis on creativity in all its forms. The move from the information age to the creative age, employment prospects, the new emphasis on design, ties to innovation, the fact that thus far computers can't ideate--if you're reading this blog, like me you know most of the broad strokes, all of which I have invoked in various fora. I've even made hour-long presentations on this very topic.
     I love what this emphasis on creativity has brought to schools. We see more project-based learning, more integrated curricula, more collaboration, more questioning. The use of design thinking principles fosters key character and intellectual principles foundational to human progress. Maker spaces and design dens and innovation labs (and whatever else they are called) are pretty awesome places to see in action. Simply yet profoundly, education now seems more engaging and more relevant. More real.
     Having said all that, I don't know that we've articulated maybe the most important reason this trend matters.
     As I see it, the educational process and all its pieces should add up to a single whole: the creation of a self. In many ways growing up is forming updated prototypes of oneself, better iterations of one's core, hopefully in relation to others.For that to happen, one must be able to dream, to conceive of the possible, and to imagine oneself moving into it, whether by baby steps or in a giant leap. The stages of design thinking, for example, thus becomes a metaphor for striving to fulfill the mission. But a crucial difference is that doing so is as incumbent upon the students as it is the school. Probably even more so, which should be the goal since education should be about their futures. When it happens, that's learning at its most meaningful.

1 comment:

Pam said...

When I first began working as a communication director, I allowed myself time to explore and dream. During the day. At work. That time proved to be an invaluable source of inspiration and spawned many great projects. Now, my days are fast-paced and production-focused, and sometimes, I feel the ache of that missing time desperately. I wonder how our students feel. I wonder if they believe they have time to explore and dream. I wonder what they would create if we gave them that gift.