Funny the Way it Is

because, “you know how in school you’re creative, but you’re doing it for a grade so it doesn’t really count?” -from Living With New Media

Of everything I read, watched or listened to this week, this quote is what struck me the most. 

Are we ruining creativity by assigning it?
Are we ruining creativity by assigning it?

What is it about school that makes a creative kid feel as if school has sucked the creativity out of her chosen form of creative expression?  That’s rough.

It makes me think about Clark.  The high school kid that walked campus alone and sat in the corner of my humanities class with out speaking for the first few weeks of school.   But then, stood up in front of the class and gave a dynamic presentation about his favorite video game.   By the end of his presentation he had the whole class laughing and asking questions about a game that five minutes ago they cared/knew nothing about. 

Clearly messing around and playing this game was more than just a passing phase for Clark.  He put thought and creativity into strategies and resources that were needed to win. He had an entire cohort of people he collaborated with online.  Yet, the essential reasons the game was so important to him was the connection he was able to maintain with his friends in the States.

After that presentation, he was a little more vocal in class, but he never showed that kind of interest again.  Work was turned in late and he just kind of floated through the class. The creativity was definitely in there, he just felt no reason to bring it out for World Wars or politics on the global levels.

It certainly warrants a look at what it is we are doing for and to our students. It makes me wonder why more schools aren’t experimenting like this. It is hard to develop creativity in an environment that fosters compliance.  Yet the first ISTE Standard for Students is creativity and innovation.  I’d go along with the argument that there need to be some major changes in our approaches to education if we really want to see worthwhile creativity from our students. That is creativity that isn’t practiced or developed just for a grade.

My little ones learning to code together on an iPad
My little ones learning to code together on an iPad

If students are spending their time at home developing, creating and innovating with technology and we are constantly trying to predict the next big thing and keep up with them by bringing those same tools and platforms into the classroom, are we encouraging their creativity or ruining it?

Image credit http://www.upsidelearning.com/blog/index.php/2011/09/23/sir-ken-robinson-on-schools-killing-creativity/ (ironically enough a Testing eLearning company’s site)