Creativity and innovation in education are hot topics today and rightly so. Since the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989 and the expanded use of personal computers in the home, there has been a growing paradigm shift in the role of creativity and innovation in education. I’m quite certain you have noticed this shift in education.
For example, does your local public school emphasize STEM or STEAM classes? Have you noticed a change in the furniture that fills our classrooms and office space – chairs that are designed to wobble, desks that adjust for height, or can be easily grouped for collaboration. These changes have been influenced by the need to develop a workforce that is prepared to embrace a mindset of creativity and innovation.
According to Dan Pink, author of A whole New MInd, “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people – artists, inventors, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers – will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.”
Quite frankly, as an educator, I am both terrified and enthralled by the possibilities of creativity and innovation in the classroom. You see, designing a creative classroom experience requires a whole new skill set. It requires the freedom to let go of old norms and necessitates reflection. In short, the creative classroom is dynamic, fun and exhausting!
Imagine, giving twenty-five twelve year olds the task of creating a roller coaster for a marble (Yes, I said marble!) with foam pipe insulation that has been split in half, red solo cups for height and lots and lots of masking tape. Oh, did I mention those same students have an hour to tinker and design before it’s time to do it all again for the next group of twenty-five students. Exhausting, yes, but well worth the fun and enthusiasm that turns dry lessons about force and motion into real life experience and innovation.
I’m going to leave you there with the hopes that your memory opened to a similar experience you may have enjoyed in school. Stay tuned; In my next blog I will delve into the questions of how Riverstone United Christian Academy creates worthwhile creative and innovative experiences for students.