Creativity-Powered Learning

two sparklers light up the darkness

Many teachers hear “I’m not creative” echoing from their students when starting a project that requires them to make something. In many students’ minds, the thought of doing something “creative” conjures up arts and crafts projects, not the idea of making something innovative in other academic content areas. For others, creativity and innovation are tantalizing ideas dancing in their heads, which they believe are just out of their reach.

Creativity is valued in business and industry to the extent that it is often taught in training programs. An Adobe Systems poll of five thousand people from five countries on three continents reports that 80 percent of people feel that unlocking creative potential is important in careers. Yet only 25 percent of these people feel that they’re living up to their creative potential. What the other 75 percent are missing is creative confidence.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Everyone is inherently creative, but sometimes it gets lost or hidden as we grow up. Teachers have the chance to prevent that loss.

Creativity masterminds David Kelley and Tom Kelley are brothers who have a life mission to promote “creative confidence.” In their book, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, they contend that everyone has the capacity to be creative. The difference between the innovators from the rest of us, they add, is “believing in your ability to create change in the world around you.”

The Kelley brothers have drawn from 40 years of creative thinking work. David Kelley is the founder of both IDEO, the global design firm, and the Stanford d.school, a centerpiece of design thinking. Tom Kelley, a partner at IDEO, is the author of “The Art of Innovation.”

They suggest that creative confidence “is like a muscle — it can be strengthened and nurtured through effort and experience.” Looking to bring the benefits of design thinking to education, the Stanford d.school has created the K12 Lab Network to “inspire and develop the creative confidence of educators and support innovators catalyzing powerful models for teaching and learning.”

If creativity is good for innovation in business and solving problems in the world, it follows that teaching students how to develop creative confidence would be good in all academic disciplines and contexts.

If we know that students can demonstrate high levels of creativity, then…
Why isn’t creativity at the center of all the disciplines taught in schools?

And why do so many students believe the deceptive thinking, “I’m not creative?”

To be continued in the next post. If you are attending ISTE 2019 in Philadelphia, you can find me here.

[Note: I am presenting this topic at ISTE 2019, Philadelphia, Monday, June 24, 2:00–4:00 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) in Convention Center: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 37]