Wednesday, February 1, 2017

3 Ways To Encourage Creativity In Your Classroom This Year

This post is in partnership with ACER. Over the next few months I will be writing and sharing many of the exciting classroom products they offer like tablets, desktops and more!

A while back I was having a conversation with a colleague about creativity in learning. We debated back and forth about what creativity looked like and could you really teach creativity. All this stemmed from a comment I made about me not being creative. Sure, I’ve written books, I talk in front of teachers a lot and create professional development to deliver. But does that mean I am creative?

As educators, when it comes to creativity in the classroom, we can take the path of least resistance and take creativity out of the learning process or we can create an environment that fosters creativity in learning and allow kids to explore their talents.

Fostering creativity in learning in the classroom doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. Here are 3 ways you can encourage creativity in your classroom this year.

Encourage Choice- Imagine being given a task and being told the product you are expected to produce. Everything related to that product is dictated to you. The colors, the font, the margins, the length, the steps you should take to get to that end result. Many of us would revolt. Yet this is what happens to students in classes each day. Projects are assigned and the expectations for the end product outlined. Instead of it being a project, it's more of a recipe.

The easiest way to encourage creativity in the classroom is through choice. Allowing students to discover their own paths to content and process and products helps invest them in their learning. While content may be set by standards or expected outcomes, students can get creative in how they learn that content, the methods by which they connect that content to already known knowledge and especially in how they demonstrate their understanding.

Choice can also come from the types of technologies student use. There are all sorts of ways from students using tablets (like the Switch Alpha 12) to create videos and audio podcasts, to building or replicating historical events in Minecraft, to using drawing and spreadsheet tools to create infographics. And because we are using a tablet we can do this kind of creation from anywhere.

There are all sorts of ways for students to show off their creativity by fostering choice both with process and product.

Encourage Mobility- I am constantly on the go. Whether I am in a hotel room in another city or flying across the country I am rarely in the same spot for more than a few days. So my office is where I am. And how I work has to adapt to where I am and what I am working on. I carry a laptop and a tablet along with notebook and each is needed for the work I’m doing.

Students need the same opportunities. It you look at historical pictures of classrooms and compare them to images from today, not much has changed in how they are set up. We can’t expect to produce our best work it we are uncomfortable. Allow students to move around, make their own spaces where they can learn. And since technology is in a place where we can be mobile students don’t have to be tied to a desk. Convertible laptops like the Switch Alpha 12 that allow students the full function of a laptop but the mobility of a tablet can encourage learning anywhere and help boost creativity of students.

Encourage Audience- One of the best ways to boost creativity in your classroom this year is to widen the audience of your students work. In the past much of the work students did lived between the teacher and the student. The student would write a paper and turn it in. The teacher would mark it up with the red pen and return it. And that’s where it ended. What if what students were creating, writing and making could have an impact on the lives of others. The only way we’ll know is by sharing.

We live in an age where sharing is as easy as creating a post, sending a tweet or making a video. You can boost the creativity on the projects and work you assign by tapping into our social side and get students sharing their work with peers, their community and the world. Posting videos to you YouTube, creating podcasts, writing a blog, and building a website are just a few examples of how students can share with the world what they know and help foster creativity. Having resources like the Switch Alpha 12 directly in the hands of students, not only allows helps foster creativity and mobility but now students have an easy to use way to publish to their own blog, a website or use something like Twitter or Facebook to share their ideas with the world.

blog comments powered by Disqus