Before anything else on this topic, I want to address a fact that I feel is relevant and important to this: I think that on the whole, creativity in schools needs to keep being emphasized even more than it already is. The maths and sciences are difficult for this, as a lot of the time we’re trying to teach methods to arrive at conclusions. But with computers, english, social, and other subjects, creativity and the desire to be creative should be put at the top of the list and encouraging creativity should be there before publishing is emphasized. (After all, you’re not going to publish a book that the author didn’t want to write.) It could very well be said that publishing content on the internet is a way to get students more interested in creating, but I also think that that drive to be creative needs to be there first.
Another side-note before I get into the nitty-gritty is my love of memes:
While memes are often simply cute pictures of cats online, they can also be a fantastic means of making statements in creative ways: As John Seeley Brown said, learning ecology is “a collection of overlapping communities of interest ( virtual), cross pollinating with each other, constantly evolving, and largely self organizing.” That’s one of the beautiful things about the internet: that many different types of information can come together and connections can be made more readily. Websites like Reddit are a hub of community and information and are excellent means by which to make differing topics of information relatable to each other. Or you can use it to look at cat pictures. That works too.
One of the great things about this Internet and Education course is the vast amount of resources that are provided for us. If you’re not savvy to the options of programs, software, and hardware out there, then so much is provided for us in these Topics for us to pick-and-choose from.
The first one I want to jump on is the idea of the flipped classroom. It’s something that I’ve really wanted to try ever since I first heard of them (and definitely something I want to give a go in my PSIII practicum). While there are obviously many concerns (students not coming to class prepared, lacking technology at home), I think that by showing students how easy it is to put your own content online, it will make that drive to be creative even stronger for them. Let’s look at Victoria Hart as an example:
Victoria Hart is a “Recreational Mathemusician” and ended up finding herself making videos full-time. She posts many math-related videos on Youtube and posts articles on her own personal website, vihart.com. Whether or not she wanted fame, she ended up finding it because of her funny illustrations and rants on mathematical concepts.
Another example is the musician Lindsey Stirling: she’s a violinist and since her rise to fame, she’s participated in many genres of music. One of the biggest reasons she became as big as she is is because she was able to make use of the internet (namely Youtube) to bring attention to herself and become recognized. She has performed musical tours, received numerous awards, and is a real-life story of an internet sensation.
While neither Vi nor Lindsey started their craft because of the internet and their ability to share their work, the ability to do so certainly helped to craft them and their creativity. By promoting tools such as Youtube to students, we can inspire them to want to create by sharing their work with the world (which is obviously a much wider community than friends and family are). That’s what this topic is really about, I think: wanting to have students share their work and inspire greater creativity.
That being said, I fear that we as teachers are up against a high-inertia opponent on this one: I’ve found that (mostly higher grade) students really don’t want to put themselves out their or to share their own work. I’ve seen cases where students will avoid answering questions on a test for fear of getting them wrong, or not wanting their work to be displayed because they don’t want others to judge their work. It’s quite a frightening scenario, honestly, but I also think that by promoting these means of sharing with a wider (and largely more anonymous) community of people can help students to regain that lost confidence and, once again, promote that level of creativity that may be suppressed.
Of course Youtube isn’t the only resource for this; websites like DeviantArt and Pinterest can be used for sharing art, photography, and writing, Thingiverse for digital models, and WordPress or Weebly for blogs and personal websites are all examples of how we can promote students sharing their work. We’re living in a world where literally anyone with a phone or computer can put their work out there. Many students already do this with Twitter and Facebook, but our job should be to promote more than just sharing what they had for dinner, it should be to encourage that higher-level Blooms and get them creative!
But not too creative…