About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What creativity, time, and interest can produce

I have often felt that the current focus in the US system has lost is creativity. As China focuses their research on moving to a more creative system, the US has moved to "standardizing" which kills creativity. Pushes in creativity within the educational system has resulted (usually after a lag time) of great prosperity. This can be seen in the 60's and the 90's.

This spring and summer, my daughter had more time on her hands. She also attends a school that is 100% project based learning. One of the unexpected results of project based learning is the increase in creativity. The initial focus of the school was to improve STEM education. However, where students excel on standardized tests was English and History. Why? I believe it is because these topics allow for greater levels of creativity within the testing assessments. However, STEM needs personnel that have a high level of creativity.

With this in mind I began to think of what conditions are needed (and that her school includes in their curriculum, including STEM). If STEM assessments began to include creativity in their assessment, teaching within STEM would need to change. So what would need to be included? In looking at the work my daughter has done over the last 3 months, I would say that creativity needs time (to try things out), interest (see Dr. Margaret Haviland's post on project based learning to see how to integrate student choice into the curriculum), and student accountability/self direction.


My daughter set a goal to get on the dance team at her dance school despite the fact that she did not know how to tap dance. She taught herself how to tap using YouTube and spending three hours a night a week before tryouts practicing. When she got stuck, she would ask me (6 years of tap). She used both online tools and personal experts to help her to learn something that was needed to achieve a personal goal she set. Part of the goal setting was due to her school, as was finding resources to achieve that goal. However, the other part was time (she did this during a week off from school) and passion (not for tap, but for dance in general).

During the month of May, my daughter finally found herself with time on her hands as school work was winding down and she no longer had any extra curricular activities (plays, dance). She took this time to play around with audacity, a program she had learned about school. She has been very focused this year on developing her music skills, both in her piano/keyboarding skills and singing. She spent hours putting recording her singing and putting together harmonies. This was the result:

The entire piece is her voice (6 tracks) that she figured out and recorded on her own.

Finally, again using a combination of YouTube and experts, my daughter has taught herself to sing. Again, this is something that she takes seriously and wants to be able to do without hurting her voice. She has acquaintances who have lost their voice (as teens) because of improper use.

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