Friday, December 31, 2010

ICT in the PYP - Create

In September I went to Hong Kong to be part of a group of educators from around the world developing a document about ICT in the PYP (IB Primary Years Programme).  We came up with 6 strands that are relevant to all learners in an increasingly digital and connected world.  One of these strands is Create which we defined in the following way:
Creating is a process through which learners are provided with an opportunity to be innovative. Learners construct meaning, apply critical thinking and original ideas to real world situations, and share knowledge through self-expression, problem posing and solving, and reflection.
One of the joys of being on school holidays is that I have the time to catch up on reading blogs, watching movies and so on.  I also have more time to try things out and to evaluate and reflect on what I've been doing during the past term at school.  Recently I've been thinking about being creative - this has probably been a result of our daughter also spending a lot of time this holiday on her IB Art workbook where she is trying out new techniques and ideas, many of which have been influenced by her time in Thailand and her move to Switzerland.  Recently she's been using the iPad to create some artwork too.

Probably one of the most influential writers/speakers about creativity in education at the moment is Sir Ken Robinson.  Today I finally had the time to watch all 7 of his video responses to questions he's been asked on Twitter.   He talks about how creativity is a practical process you go through and that you can learn about and develop your skills in order to get better over time.  He talks about how creativity also involves you thinking of or developing something for the first time and how this process is a rigourous one and he also talks about how creativity is valued and how you can judge whether what you are doing is relevant and worthwhile.  This got me thinking about the Dutch artist van Gogh, how little he was appreciated during his lifetime, and yet how influential he has been on 20th century art.  Today he is recognised as one of history's greatest painters, yet in his life he suffered from anxiety and must have been frustrated and depressed at how little his paintings were appreciated as he only sold one painting in his lifetime.  Creativity, it seems, sometimes cannot be judged by the standards of the day.

Sir Ken also talks about how schools can kill creativity - rote learning and memorization for example, the absorbing of information uncritically, the conformity of thinking and only ever dealing with the understanding of received wisdom all stop creative thinking.  In fact critical thinking is absolutely necessary for creative thinking.

I've also been reflecting on how technology can encourage creativity in schools.  I started looking at our curriculum documents and redrafting them to show the new strands we identified for ICT in the PYP.  It's already clear to me that Create is going to be large part of what we are doing in technology in all grades this year.

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