Making-Connections-Creativity

Creativity Chit-Chat: I NEED MORE INPUT Daddy!

Creativity is about Making Connections – Steve Jobs

I need more input Stefanie! Who remembers this line from an eighties movie classic? Short Circuit was one of my favorite movies as a kid. I was glued to the television as Number Five, speedily read through every book in the house as he craved more ‘input’. In some ways, the characteristics of this robot resemble our own little ones as they seek to obtain information about their world. The ‘Why’, the ‘How, the ‘What’ questions are all associated with their desire for more input – even if they become annoying after the Zillionth time of asking.

SEE ALSO: Hollywood’s Hidden Call for Creativity

What does this have to do with Creativity? Well some folks believe that in order to produce ‘something’ creative within a particular field, you need to master knowledge for that field. For example, if we’re going to produce something new and useful for the New York Subway, then we need to have knowledge of how subways work, it’s infrastructure, the commuters, and existing problems that need solutions, etc. – we need ‘input’.

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This example is perhaps too far into the future for our little ones to appreciate, but as parents we can better understand how information about a topic, combined with the ability to think creatively, will more likely lead to an outcome that can be considered creative, even if it’s audience is not as large as commuters of the NYC Subway. Creativity is about Making Connections – combining new and old information to make something new and useful.

SEE ALSO: What is Creativity

So where do we start? Well not only must we cultivate creative thinking skills such as the ability to produce and consider many alternatives, but we must also create an environment that supports our child’s need for input. Now some of you might be thinking – ‘that’s what school is for’. Yes, this is true, but I would argue that the system of education should really begin at home, and more importantly school is a place predetermined knowledge, so we need to offer opportunities for a variety of ‘input’ that expands beyond the classroom environment, and occasionally better accommodate our child’s individual interests.

Museums provide 'more input' for children. Here my eldest examines ancient artifacts at the British Museum.
Museums are a fantastic location for ‘more input’. Here my eldest examines an ancient artifact at the British Museum, in London.

Reading a variety of books is a great start, but with the World Wide Web we have access to so much more. I make use of YouTube, and was pleased when Google recently published their YouTube App for Kids. This new addition from Google offers more child friendly content, an easier interface to navigate, and the search bar appears to be better at formulating questions from keywords.

Promoted by Hurricane Patricia, which recently made landfall in Mexico as the most powerful Hurricane ever recorded. My eldest became intrigued in tropical storms. In his desire to know more– to see more – I put him in front of the YouTube app and set him up with some videos of Hurricanes, as well as educational content. Almost independently he was able to learn about category five being the strongest type of hurricane (though occasionally in his world he gets a Hurricane 1000), and he knows that they cause floods, and destroy towns near the ocean. Like Number Five, each new input takes him to somewhere new, and he was able to build upon this new knowledge to make connections and discover something new about his world.

Son: Daddy, Hurricanes don’t come here right because it’s too cold?

Daddy: Yes, they do sometimes…

Son: WHAT!!! (Being very dramatic)

Pause

Son: But they’re not very big right?

Daddy: No…

Son: ‘And we’re not near the ocean’…

Daddy: No (this might have been a tougher conversation if we lived further down South)

The brief summary of our conversation demonstrates how my boy was able to make connections with the new information he had obtained from YouTube. The thinking can be considered creative because it led to a new discovery, and while it might not have been useful to a larger group, it had value to him – this is Little C Creativity!


 

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Matthew Worwood
Matthew Worwood is Associate Director of Digital Media and Design, at the University of Connecticut. Recently he produced a documentary that explored creativity in education, and is currently working on a crowdsourcing, visualization, and documentary project called CLASS of 2032. He recently co-founded the blog, DadsforCreativity.com and serves as an Executive Board member of the EverWonder Children's Museum.

Matthew Worwood

Matthew Worwood is Associate Director of Digital Media and Design, at the University of Connecticut. Recently he produced a documentary that explored creativity in education, and is currently working on a crowdsourcing, visualization, and documentary project called CLASS of 2032. He recently co-founded the blog, DadsforCreativity.com and serves as an Executive Board member of the EverWonder Children's Museum.

3 thoughts on “Creativity Chit-Chat: I NEED MORE INPUT Daddy!

  1. Sometimes feeling you have to know how something works hinders learning. As an older person raised on that principal I struggled when computers came along. It sat in the corner with me trying to comprehend how to it worked and feeling that I would break it if I didn’t do it the right way. My 7 year old son saw it, switched it on, and played around until he figured it out. Once I had made that leap off the mountain I also played and soon became a self taught user, importing stuff etc. No right way just differing outcomes.

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