Creativity, that is really what this post is about. When I was reading through the ISTE Educator Standards I was immediately drawn to the Facilitator standard, specifically 6d which states; “model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.” Reading this standard made me think back to my own learning experience and my time as a teacher and I started to wonder where I had experienced creativity during the learning process. In my experience I think creativity is often something that is overlooked and not used as a means for assessing student understanding. So my question for this post really became about:
How might educators build a classroom community that highlights creativity as a way for students to communicate their thinking and ideas?
So How Might We Model and Nurture Creativity?
I think there are many ways that this can be done in the classroom. In order to best do this educators need to think about the structures and routines that are needed in the classroom to support this. For creativity to flourish students need to feel supported to express their ideas and thinking, they need to have a voice and choice in their learning. In the book, Sparking Student Creativity, Patti Drapeau talks about the importance of creativity in the classroom and even details a roadmap for integrating creativity into the classroom. Drapeau (2014) specifically talks about how creativity needs to become a habit, “Students will make it a habit to express their creativity in an environment where they feel encouraged to do so.” This left me wondering, how am I making creativity a habit for my teachers? How can I support teachers in making creativity a habit in their classrooms? What resources are out there that might support this.
Along Came ThingLink
There are so many resources out there that support creativity. When I first started thinking about this my mind was all over the place thinking about things like; project based learning (PBL), Prezi, WeVideo, BookCreator and the list could go on and on. But I really wanted to find something that was a little different. I wanted something that could be used for presentations, group work, assessments, allowed for various forms of media, I wanted something that gave students options. So I started checking out other resources and along came a resource called ThingLink. If you have not heard of ThingLink before, it is an online tool that allows the user to embed content into images and videos. There can be links to external web pages, audio recordings and even videos. I immediately started thinking that this could be a really cool way for students to demonstrate their learning around a particular topic. They could embed different methods of demonstrating knowledge (images, audio, video, text). Teachers can assign projects for students to work on and students can work both independently or in groups.
ThingLink, Creativity and Assessment
Playing around with ThingLink and looking at the examples that the website had really got me excited thinking about how this might be used in the classroom for assessment. I love the idea of giving students a different way of communicating their understanding. Instead of just another test or quiz, students could create something. With structures in place such as a rubric so that students know what they are being assessed on and how they are being assessed the door then opens up to allow for more creative ways of assessing. By using something like ThingLink students could use pictures or videos as their main background. They could then make connections using the various tags found in ThingLink. These connections could be from one core concept to another, demonstrations of their work, audio if them explaining their thinking, example problems that highlight the idea being assessed, and so much more. Students would be able to build upon their ideas and synthesize their thinking in a creative way. How exciting would it be to see what students come up with when given the chance.
Check out my own ThingLink example below. I spent time the other day creating my own and have barely scratched the surface of what I could have done. For my first one I think it turned out well and I am ready to see what my teachers and students can create with it. Let the creativity begin.
Bartis, A. (2014, April 11). Assessing With ThingLink. Getting Smart. https://www.gettingsmart.com/2014/04/assessing-thinglink/
Cropley, D., & Cropley, A. (2016). Promoting Creativity Through Assessment: A Formative Computer-Assisted Assessment Tool for Teachers. Educational Technology, 56(6), 17–24. JSTOR.
Drapeau, P. (n.d.). Intentional Creativity: Fostering Student Creativity from Potential to Performance. Retrieved May 17, 2020, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/115007/chapters/Intentional-Creativity@-Fostering-Student-Creativity-from-Potential-to-Performance.aspx
ISTE Standards for Educators | ISTE. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators
Long, K. (2017, April 26). Five Ways to Bring Creativity Back to the Middle Grades—Education Week. Teacher. https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2017/04/26/five-ways-to-bring-creativity-back-to.html
Miller, A. (2013, March 7). Yes, You Can Teach and Assess Creativity! Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/you-can-teach-assess-creativity-andrew-miller
Price-Mitchell, M. (2015, August 14). Cultivating Creativity in Standards-Based Classrooms. Edutopia. Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/cultivating-creativity-standards-based-classrooms-marilyn-price-mitchell
Spencer, J. (2016, March 6). We Need a Bigger Definition of Creativity. Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTCOExd0hDk