Monday, May 5, 2008

Creativity and Technology

It is interesting and quite paradoxical that I have been assigned the topic of Creativity and technology in the classroom. As my classmates know, I am the one who has just received my first cell phone this past Christmas. I still don’t know how to use it, other than to answer it and punch phone numbers in and press send (or the green phone sign) I had my kids a just the sound so if by any slight chance I get a call during class it will not disturb anyone else. However, it was quite a novel experience for me to be having a conversation while driving during a recent road trip. What a wonderful opportunity to utilize time to accomplish another task. Mind you I would not have tried it in intercity driving; too many distractions and I am not a multi-tasker by today’s standards. Now admit it ...if I was talking on my cell, even with the earpiece, but slowing down others or recklessly driving you would be cursing me on the road.

I come from a different generation whether I want to acknowledge it or not. The fact is “ More information has been produced in the last 30 years than in the previous 5000” (Wurman,1989,p.229 in Runco, 2007) It is hard to believe I know, but I was completing my undergraduate work thirty years ago this spring! I was entering the education field without the use of computers. The first home computer had just been introduced less than half a year before my graduation. There was no internet, no search engine and Sony's Walkman was the most incredible piece of technological genius on campuses at the time! The Post-it had not been introduced until 1980.

With the way the education system works, you know these technologies would not be available in the classroom for some. I know it is a stretch for some of you, but really consider how you could learn/teach/facilitate in an environment without the technology you have currently available. Can I adapt to the new technology? Yes, I can. Do I want to adapt to it? Well, this is a more important question for an individual to consider.

I have personally begun to acknowledge new technologies in what has become a disposable society. With some certainty, I can state that at some point for a number of people, all of these new technologies are novel. It is a judgment call whether they are truly useful. Ascertaining usefulness is the key using any new technology, especially in the classroom. Let us also remember that the parameters of the “classroom” are not necessarily the traditional ones.

What is it we really need to educate students in today’s classrooms? What is the main objective or goal we are trying to achieve in educating our students? Does technology allow us to achieve more of these goals in a faster period? Can we achieve the same goals without the expense of new technologies? Can we engage our students without using technology as a crutch or is it a necessity?

As educators/facilitators, these are the questions we must explore when dealing with technology. The reality is that teachers must be creative both innovating and adapting programs, methods and tools to aid in reaching the ultimate goals of our endeavors. Buying into the latest technology is not always the best call. It really is up to us to do our homework and use our minds in these kinds of decisions. It is a great way to use the Creative Problem Solving process to decide what is best for the given situation.
That being said I did a search and found the following interesting read with some great applications of technology for the classroom. The abstract and reference is below with a link to the PDF.

Bonnie Doliszny, ICSC graduate student

Runco, M. A. (2007). Creativity theories and themes: Research, development, and practice. New York: Elsevier

Abstract ftaken directly from:

Thompson, S. D., Martin, L., Richards, L., & Branson, D. (2003). Assessing critical thinking and problem solving using a Web-based curriculum for students. Internet and Higher education, 6, 185-191.

Assessing critical thinking and problem solving using a Web-based curriculum for students
Critical thinking skills lead to more productive, prepared, and employable students in the workforce. In view of the skills that are necessary when students enter the job market, a Web-based curriculum requiring critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills was developed to meet those needs. A multidisciplinary team of educators created the “virtual exchange,” in which students are presented with scenarios involving relevant societal issues. Each student was assigned a scenario character to portray in their interactions with the other characters (students). They interact on the Internet to promote critical thinking skills in a “virtual exchange” of research-based ideas. The process used to design this exchange is discussed


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