Posts Tagged ‘Blooms’

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.32.56 PMThe Creative Revolution – full STEAM ahead

First there was the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century with the mechanisation of the textile industry. Then, the second industrial revolution of the early 20th century leading to increased mass production and in the 1980’s the Digital Revolution was well underway, changing industry again. So what’s next?

Are we about to have a new revolution or is it staring us in the face? Could this be the Age of Creativity?

According to Sir Ken Robinson, “Creativity is as important in education as literacy” so what are we doing about it? (TED, 2009)

Ken Robinson Creativity

We read about the importance of STEAM and the integration of the Arts being crucial for holistic education, so why, in the UK, are creative subjects being cut from GCSEs and A Levels, including History of Art. (Independent, October 13th 2016) In fact, A Level History of Art will see its last students examined in 2018. In response, historian Simon Schama says: “Axing art history deals another blow to the creative capital of this country. Art history is an exacting discipline: to engage with it needs history, philosophy, languages, literature, tools the next generation needs.”

In the US, Trump proposed cutting funding to Arts related agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) (Independent May 1st 2017)

In Australia, over 50 creative subjects have lost funding for student loans including jewellery, circus and art therapy (Student loans cut to creative courses, Richard Watts, ArtsHub, 10 October 2016).

So instead of supporting and promoting more time and resources to creativity it appears to be quite the opposite.

Why is creativity so important to our future?

For over 20 years I have been promoting the benefits of the Arts and how the skills involved in our subjects go beyond simply being able to paint, draw, sing or dance.  It genuinely upsets me that students, at aged 14, can all but give up any form of creativity as they enter GCSEs. Even Group 6 of the IB Diploma is optional, where students do not have to choose a creative subject and can opt for another science or language for example. In my short video, prepared as a proposal for an ADE showcase on creative thinking, I highlight the growing trend away from creativity further up the school and how this skill is such an important life skill. A skill needed for a world that is rapidly changing, for jobs which we do not yet know and the obvious need for innovative and creative thinkers.

Being creative is not about being artistic, dramatic or musically minded. It is about thinking differently. Creative thinking is a skill that must be encouraged and taught through opportunities in every subject.

Tara Prendergast, in her TEDx talk The Creative Revolution, reminds us that we are “living in a world that is moving so fast and where technology is blowing our minds”. Being creative is one of the top skills needed to prepare students for this future. According to P21’s Framework for 21st Century Learning “A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future.”

 

In order to develop this essential skill Prendergast says we should “build community and a culture around creativity”. So what does this look like in your school? What exists already to encourage and cultivate a culture of creativity?

How can we encourage creativity?

In Primary school, play forms a crucial role in allowing students the time and space to freely experiment, invent, fail and succeed.

The Kindergarten approach allows learners to develop as creative thinkers for a world that is changing more rapidly than ever – the need to be creative is imperative in order to come up with innovative ideas for solutions we don’t not know about yet. “We need to develop innovative solutions to unexpected problems that will arise” (Mitchel Resnick, MIT). In the same way that Kindergarteners learn, we need to continue this approach throughout our lifetime: experimenting, inventing, failing and succeeding. There is a genuine need to tinker and play in order to develop creativity.

In my previous post about Play, I talked about the need for students and adults alike to be more playful, to problem solve and thus more creative. But what about higher up the school? How can all subjects integrate elements of creativity alongside their content?

In the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, CREATE appears at the top, upgrading “synthesis” and leapfrogging “evaluating”, for we know that, in order to create we must thoroughly evaluate first. How do different curriculum areas incorporate this higher order thinking?

 

What do you do to promote creativity?

Taryn BondClegg, a 5th Grade teacher, recently posted about creativity on her blog, Risk and Reflect. If you are in Primary, I urge you to read this engaging post about her Creativity Thursdays. Actually, if you are NOT in Primary, I urge you to read her post! In brief, she dedicates one whole day a week for her students to pursue their creative passion or a creative project they want to learn more about. They select from “a menu of creative endeavours” each week and what Taryn noticed goes way beyond simple creativity:

Not only were students developing their Learner Profile attributes, PYP attitudes and ATL skills, but there was also rich, authentic engagement with literacy, math, humanities and science!

Whether you are interested in STEAM projects or just want to help develop curious and creative individuals, there is compelling evidence for teaching innovation and creativity.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

Pete O Mara, in the Times Herald article on May 17th, 2017, states that “developing the creative mind has never been more important“. Why are schools and parents paying more attention to grades and assessments and such little emphasis on creativity and imagination?

“We place such a high value on intellect in our education and ignore imagination.”  (Pete O Mara)

Creativity in Education - exploring the imbalancePhoto Credit: Shakespeare1980 Flickr via Compfight cc

There are so many ideas for incorporating creativity, imagination and thinking, I found it hard whittling my research down to just one to start you off! The 3 Rules of Creativity by Stephen Guise on Pick the Brain, back in 2014, still rings true for me today and hopefully offers you some simple guidance:

3 Rules of Creativity

Rule #1 Limit your options and narrow your focus

Being specific about what your task or goal is will help focus your ideas. Too many options can be overwhelming so limit these so you can develop better ideas. Narrowing your focus can lead to greater creativity.

Rule #2 Believe you’re creative

Self belief plays a huge part in being more creative as it does in many walks of life. Believing you can improve is the first step.

Rule #3 Embrace bad ideas

By rejecting bad ideas you may be preventing a good idea forming. By accepting bad ideas are just ideas you might be able to combine them to produce a good idea.

Simple, right? You have no excuses – get out there and not only teach creatively but teach for creativity. (Quote courtesy of Sir Ken Robinson)

I’ll leave the last word to John Spencer on how creativity is tough. It is tough but worth it.

 

 

Mark Prensky's "Shaping Tech in the classroom" visual note by Nicki HAmbleton

Marc Prensky’s “Shaping Tech in the classroom” visual note by Nicki Hambleton

Juggling and balancing

It occurred to me that I write too much. The thing is, I have lots to say and many ideas. The idea of making the visual notes was to consolidate my thinking and clarify my thoughts, yet it seems to open many doors to new forms of thinking. My head is like the internet, a web connecting one thought to the next; to a TED talk, an image, a quote, blog post, conversation or link on Twitter. I am juggling many thoughts and ideas this week and wondering how to balance it all. Imagine 28 tabs open all at the same time- that’s my mind.

Have teaching and learning changed with the introduction of new tools?

Whilst reading the final part of  “Living and Learning with New Media” (MaCarthur Foundation) and Marc Prensky’s “Shaping Tech for the Classroom” on Edutopia I was reminded of Ken Robinson’s “Changing Education Paradigms” RSA animate. We teach in an intensely stimulating world and students are easily distracted from what Robinson calls “the boring stuff”. We need to engage them and understand their world, find out what motivates them and how to incorporate this meaningfully into our lessons without losing the grip on what and why we are teaching this. In a world of distractions to us adults too, I find this choice a minefield!

Waking them up!

Ken Robinson pinpoints that in The Arts students are fully alive, operating in the present moment and that through art, dance, music and drama their senses are on full alert “operating at their peak”. “We should be waking them up to what they have inside of themselves”. How can we do this?  What have I done recently that “woke them up”? It seems to be a sad fact that students become less imaginative and lose creativity the further they rise up the school. In kindergarten, students have multiple ideas for any given theme, yet as they move through Middle School they seem to lose this, “as they become more educated,  so creativity deteriorates”. Education knocks it out of them. This week I decided to jump on the imagination bandwagon with Matt McGrady in sharing drawing prompts with my MS art classes. In a nutshell, I start the lesson with a 5 minute observation drawing to literally warm students for doing art up yet calm them down ready for the learning ahead. (adapted from Marvyn Bartell‘s warm up ritual). Matt decided to shake things up a bit and connect with other teachers through Twitter and suggested an imaginative drawing prompt. So from Monday morning my students were given this: Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 17.32.34 From unicorns to doughnut factories, hot air balloons and fire breathing dragons they let their imagination run wild (and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of choice to boot). 5 minutes wasn’t long enough for them, yet it was crucial there was a time limit (we had other work to do too!). But at the end of the 5 minutes it felt hugely important to them to talk about their drawing. So instead of letting them just explain, I tipped it on its head. Using one of Howard Gardner’s Thinking routines (Visible Thinking), the artist remained silent for one minute whilst their partner spoke about what they see, think and wonder. It was hilarious to watch their faces and they were itching to share what they were communicating and the idea behind their drawing. It had truly woken them up, yet had also given them an effective strategy to discuss artwork.

photo 1 photo 2

During our monthly PLN meeting my group (Assessment for Learning) was discussing the power of peer learning and how this might be more effective through technology. It was here that the conversation arose about the “I see I think I wonder” routine. It seems that learning to talk about art can help students analyse and this is a valuable skill across curricula as Amy E Herman explains:

So, how can I effectively incorporate technology in the same engaging and motivating way, yet keep the essence of the learning at the forefront?

Students love to be in control, or at least to think they are in control of their learning. We owe it to them to include them in the planning, the preparation and the process. In order to effectively integrate technology we must first consult the students – what do they use, how best do they learn, what is their passion? It is through these conversations that we unravel what it is to be a middle school learner. In an education world where personalised and Individualised learning is becoming far more necessary we, as educators must search for ways that help students to learn more effectively.

But are we using technology to do what we would have done but in a different way. Prensky highlights the change in our approach from dabbling to innovative methods of incorporating technology into the classroom in a similar way to Blooms Higher order thinking. It was through visualising this process that my mind started to wander into thinking about what we actually do in terms of technology in the art room and is it transformational? As we integrate more technology into our lessons, we need to bear in mind that “it’s not about the device anymore but it’s about the learning going on” (Dana Watts, COETAIL livecast February 11th 2014).

New ways to do old things

In what ways are we trying to redo old things but in new ways? Are these methods valuable as we discover what technology and tools work in today’s classroom and as we experiment with new media? What is new media today?

Sonja Delafosse captures these thoughts beautifully and helps us to understand what skills are necessary in “Teaching in the 21st century”

Collaborating on Google docs, connecting through Twitter, communicating and sharing on student blogs, offering feedback on Picasa. Are these helping to integrate technology effectively and with the desired effect on student learning?

New things in new ways

One way I found that can help develop our thinking is to read Kathy Schrock’s “Bloomin’ Apps” article. She shares multiple suggestions in which technology can be used to support Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy as well as making the crucial link with the SAMR model. Visit the site to see how she visualises which types of apps are best used at which phase in the thinking and it is invaluable as a check for how learning is enhanced by technology.

In my Global concerns group PAW (Promoting Animal Welfare) we meet once a week through lunch for 30 minutes to discuss and find ways to share and learn about animals in danger and students have recently been sharing their PAW passion through a google presentation in order share with the group for a 2 minute “Spotlight”. It seems like a new way to do an old thing so we started to discuss new ways to communicate and engage others in their learning: stop motion, video scribe and animated RSA style visual notes and an ebook to capture their ideas, communicate and share with the community. One 12 year old is developing an app and a group is planning an ebook to share their findings and communicate their concerns with their peers and the community. Surely this is heading in the right direction, isn’t it?

Balance

So as usual, I am left with a question – why use technology in Art when traditional media will work just fine? I am faced with this quandary on a daily basis – when is it authentic, useful, worth it? How do we balance the traditional skills with the new?

And so to my planning project, the one about Sustainability, collaboration and connecting. As Sir Ken said, “collaboration is the stuff of growth”. We learn best when collaborating. Students love working with others, “hanging out” and “messing around” with ideas and sharing direction. I want the project to centre around working together to discover, develop and communicate. As it is a difficult subject to research and students may have only a little prior knowledge, we will start collaboratively using Padlet to brainstorm ideas and harness the knowledge in the room. I want students to reach out into the Twitter community and connect with organisations and experts who can help them discover where the food on their plate comes from, hence the title “Food for thought”. Through this process I am hoping they will make connections and find new ways to feed their imagination and find out what they want to communicate through their Art. As their ideas start forming for their installation work I am hoping they will feel compelled to communicate their findings through a short PSA style video and to share this through Youtube. As my plans begin to solidify, any feedback on the process or the development along the way would be very gratefully received!

Just what are we doing differently than before – how are you developing new ideas from new things? or are we just doing old things in new ways? Has my teaching changed – it has, it is and it will, but it will take some time, investigation and experimenting to find out what works best and what will be the most effective. In the mean time, I’m having fun trying!

“I don’t know where the journey ends but I know where to start”. Avicii– “Wake me up”