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Technology in schools gives educators exciting and innovative ways to teach in the classroom, providing students with both proven and new techniques for learning. EdTech also permits more personalized learning, allowing kids of all ages to learn and understand at their own pace and level. But are we as parents and educators forgetting about the importance of creativity?
What Is Creativity In the School Curriculum and Why Is It Important?
A World Economic Forum report in 2018 states that in order to be successful in the future it takes “nothing less than a societal mindset shift for people to become creative, curious, agile lifelong learners, comfortable with continuous change”. The agreement among educators is that creativity is important, but what does this mean from a practical standpoint?
The English Oxford Dictionary defines creativity as “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness”. Take this a step further and consider that you need creativity to turn imaginative and new ideas and thoughts into reality. But being creative isn’t limited to writing a book or painting a picture. Creativity is also about applying new thoughts to things practical, such as any STEM topic.
Encouraging kids to think outside of the box is what gives them the skills to solve problems and be innovators of the future. We need novel and new approaches for students to spread ideas and share their creative minds.
Used the right way, there are numerous tech tools that allow for unlimited possibilities to create, imagine, and have fun with the learning process.
Learning to Create Original Content
Children are exposed to huge amounts of digital content every day. In fact, they have access to so much content that’s already been created for them that they often don’t have the skills or tools to create something of their very own. If we want to prepare kids for the future, which is becoming even more technology-based, we need to incorporate creativity into education. And educational technology is just the way to do it.
There’s a wide variety of EdTech tools available with the aim of letting kids get creative. These tech tools allow students to look at things from different angles and try a whole bunch of interesting combinations to find solutions, ask more questions…and to simply create.
When it comes to STEM in the classroom, creativity is just as important as learning to code or prepare a science experiment. In fact, it’s that creative and questioning mind that’s the driving force behind STEM learning. Students need to be creative in order to come up with new ideas that can be applied to STEM subjects.
Sometimes it all comes down to a space to create and having software that allows educators to provide a platform for kids to learn while doing something fun and interactive. CoSpaces Edu is a good example of an educational tech tool that helps develop skills such as coding though virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
After building and creating anything in 3D such as buildings, castles, games, and robots, kids can explore what they’ve created in a virtual world. VR puts programming concepts right in front of kids in an immersive 3D environment. And AR lets them add sound, text, and other special effects as they add on to their creativity. Used in schools throughout Canada, the US, and Internationally, CoSpaces Edu is just one example of EdTech that’s making the pursuit of creativity in the classroom a reality.
Bricks 4 Kidz®
Although not software that you can download for kids, Bricks 4 Kidz® is a program that brings kids together to use their creativity and LEGO® Bricks to build models and play games. Offered across Canada and the US as after-school and vacation camps, this is a great way to allow children to be as inventive as they want and apply their creativity to concepts they can use in STEM topics. As kids get creative and start designing, they up build up problem solving and lateral thinking skills.
Used in schools around North America, KidBlog is software that lets students blog safely without posting online. Shared within the classroom, kids can be as creative as they want, writing content and adding photos and graphics to their blog entries. Students can collaborate and share what they’ve written, challenging each other with new ideas and thinking as they develop research and problem solving skills.
Creating the Future
If we look at creative learning combined with technology as a way to change the world, and blend imagination and originality into all topics of learning, we can educate a new generation of creative minds that are ready to take on the future. There’s a quote by Canadian David Suzuki that nicely reminds us to use our creativity:
The human brain had a vast memory storage. It made us curious and very creative. Those were the characteristics that gave us an advantage – curiosity, creativity, and memory. And the brain did something very special. It invented an idea called “the future”.
Take all that creativity that children have to offer, combine it in unique ways with technology and education, and we pave the way for future generations of creative STEM thinkers.
1World Economic Forum. (2018). Towards a Reskilling Revolution: A Future of Jobs for All. Retrieved on May 29, 2019 from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_FOW_Reskilling_Revolution.pdf
2Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Definition of creativity in English. Retrieved on May 29, 2019 from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/creativity