As humans we have a habit on focusing on the negatives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in my opinion, as I feel (or hope) it’s part of our natural instinct to produce solutions to problems. However, given that it’s Thanks Giving, I thought it would be nice to identify 4 great things for advocates of Creativity.
1. Digital Technology
In some circles within education, digital technology might be perceived as a distraction, or worse, a nuisance to the traditional system of information transfer that is still a significant component of the classroom experience. However Digital Technology, which continues to evolve as a rapid pace, is offering new opportunities for our children to create and make. Many of us see this in our little ones, who having been inspired by their favorite YouTube videos, ask for our devices so that they can produce their own content. With minor adult intervention, these videos can not only be impressive, but also engage a variety of Creative Thinking skills along the way.
Moviemaking is just one example of how digital technologies have encouraged creating and making, which also encompasses 3D Printing, Digital Game Design, Authoring iBooks, and storytelling through a variety of mobile apps.
2. Maker Spaces
One of the greatest outcomes of our Digital Age, has been the transformation of the everyday user from consumer to producer. As I mentioned above, Digital Technology now offers a variety of opportunities for people to create and make, and this has spawned a new type of D.I.Y movement, which has led to Maker Spaces, popping up all over the place. Libraries, museums, schools, and universities are redesigning rooms so that they can accommodate this exciting venture. While many of the early Maker Spaces usually centered on 3D Printing, they have since evolved to include, not only other forms of Digital Technology, but also traditional arts and crafts as well. More importantly, from a Creativity perspective, the facilitators of these spaces often encourage participants to apply Creative Problem-Solving principals to their process, with one of the preferred favorites being Design Thinking, which I particularly like because it places significant emphasis on the intended user, as well as some type of Iteration process.
3. New Toys
The combination of new technology, and the interest in engaging young children in creating and making, has led to some exciting developments within the toy industry. Little Bits, which is an electronic kit, has offered support to the Make Movement, and with a vibrant online community users can be inspired to make absolutely anything. I might add that with the introduction of the Little Bit apps, children can also interact with their creations using their mobile devices, which I feel is taking this toy to another level. The base kit is a great place to start for the little ones, and runs between $80-$100.
Little Bits is not the only cool new toy to embrace the Maker Movement, Makey Makey is another cool example that engages young children in computer engineering and software development, and Legos now offers kits that teach children about robotics and programming.
4. Growing Discussion
With an energized community of parents and educators, who are engaging young children in creating and making activities outside the classroom, the discussions about Creativity in Education is expanding. Once more, as the alternative learning opportunities outside the classroom begin to define themselves further, the school system and the traditional role of the teacher might be challenged for the first time by parents – who are taking an increasing interest in Digital Technology, Creativity, and Project-Based Learning.
As I look at the 4 great things for advocates of Creativity can be grateful for this Thanks Giving, I can’t help but highlight the opportunities that have arisen because of Digital Technology. Yes, it certainly brings about challenges within society, but the innovation that is has spawned has allowed people like me to share my voice, and engage my little boys in Creative activities that wasn’t possible just 10 year ago – for that I’m truly thankful!
Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance, is a documentary film that explores Creativity in education. The film is available on Amazon or can be access for free by simply commenting below or subscribing here.
7 Ways to Cultivate Creativity is a FREE eBook for parents who want are looking for ideas on how to cultivate creative thinking skills at home. Subscribe here to download the book.