Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Disruption -v- Innovation

Suzie Boss is coming to ASB next month, so I've started to read her book Bringing Innovation to School.  So far I'm interested to read her observation that many students today have problems coming up with new ideas.  She says they lack the confidence to think boldly because schools in general don't reward students for having crazy ideas.  As I read this it made me think of the Design Thinking workshop I'd attended in Detroit in the summer where we were told that during ideation we should brainstorm as many options as possible and to note down all ideas no matter how crazy they might seem.  Some of us as educators found this hard to do too.

Suzie Boss writes that "if we're serious about preparing students to be innovators we have some work ahead.  Getting students ready to tackle tomorrow's challenges means helping them develop a new set of skills and fresh ways of thinking."  Student creativity is actually dropping according to the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking - it has been dropping since the 1990s.  This test measures creative potential in art, literature, science, mathematics, leadership and interpersonal relationships.  The test found that students with creative strengths are able to appreciate diversity and to see things from different angles.  They are also able to connect seemingly irrelevant things.  The test also measures other characteristics that appear to be linked with creative thinking such as as being energetic, talkative, unconventional, humourous, lively and passionate.

Unfortunately the many educational establishments don't value or encourage such behaviours.  Traditional classrooms see these things as being disruptive to learning.

Photo Credit: Hampton Roads Partnership via Compfight cc

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