Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How is creativity viewed by students?

                As I progress throughout my masters course work I am constantly thinking about ways to better incorporate technology into my lessons and projects.  Yet, I am left wondering how effective is this use of technology and do the kids even want more technology in the classroom?  This use of technology allows for the students to present their knowledge in ways that are more creative than what was ever possible before.  Again though, do the students want more creativity in the classroom?  With that in mind I decided to ask some of my students how they felt about technology and creativity in the classroom.

                To understand this I first asked some students what they value in my classroom.  After assuring them that I was not trying to trick them and was genuinely interested in their opinions a few students really started to open up.  In regards to the first question that I asked them, student R responded that they liked how creative I allowed the students to be in regards to their projects and that assignments were not always the same thing over and over again.  This allowed this student to demonstrate their understanding in a way that was comfortable to them and not just in a specific mold that was forced upon them by me, the teacher.  While everyone had an opinion on this particular topic, most students mirrored the response of student R.  It was the next question that I asked that got the students truly interested in sharing.

                The second question I asked was what they would change about their learning environment when it comes to digital media and technology supporting creativity.  The most passionate response was from student M who stated, “Creativity is important but there needs to be structure in the project.  Not just do anything, but a little bit of guidance.”  This comes from a recent presentation that the students had just been asked to complete.  The guidelines were simple, make a 5 minute presentation about a lesser known civil rights leader that is creative and uses technology.  However, a PowerPoint presentation will not allow you to receive an A because it is not creative.  The freedom that I provided the students was apparently too much as most of the struggled to come up with ideas that were creative and also helped with the classes understanding of their civil rights leader.  Another student stated, “Creativity needs to be included in the class, but it must be structured in a way to provide some guidance.”

                After hearing these responses from my students I was struck by a saying from a superhero movie that I had recently watched with my son, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  While technology is ever present in these students’ lives and provides them the opportunity to be creative and passionate about whatever they are interested in, it is too much of a good thing.  Creativity needs to be encouraged in the classroom but it must be structured and have guidelines around it.  Without these guidelines the students are left feeling overwhelmed with possibilities and lost in the creativity potentials allowed to them.  However, as a teacher I want them to feel a bit of stress and see what they produce when they have all the possibilities of their creative mind available to them.  Taking into consideration what my students said, I will definitely try to provide more guidance as to what is expected of them during projects, but it will definitely be a balancing act of providing guidelines for the students while also allowing them the flexibility to be creative in their work.

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