Random Thoughts

Imagine, Create, Innovate

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Safe and sound in Brussels after 13 hours of flying and making a 45 minute connection in Amsterdam.

As I was walking to collect my luggage in Brussels I passed this sign:


What a great way to be welcomed into Brussels and right away I knew I found my theme for the next three days. The website that is cut off in the lower left hand corner is: http://create2009.europa.eu/ and well worth a visit. There is a very interesting survey on the site asking teachers what does creativity mean to you?

Something else struck me about this picture as well. Why is it when we talk about creativity and innovation we picture children and the world. I mean, they use it in this photo but many times when people talk about creativity and innovation there is talk about global societies and children today.

My thinking has gone even farther with comments left on my last blog post. I was surprised to see people debating and talking about the questions that ISB has on their website when talking about technology.

Russ starts the conversation off reminding us that we need to also look at today when we are educating students.

We pretend that they don’t need to apply what they’re learning with us until “tomorrow.” That’s simply not true.

I’d agree with this statement to the fact that to often we do not ask student to apply their learning to real world situations. We tell them they need to learn stuff, we teach it to them, in hopes that someday near or far into the future they will need it. Students do need to be applying what they are learning in the classroom to real world situations all the time. If we are not allowing them or giving them the opportunity to do so, then we are failing them (See problem and project based learning 😉 ).

Dana chimes in with:

If you provide students with skills that can be utilized in a multitude of different ways, their education becomes a transportable gift.

I like this idea of a transportable gift that we as an educational institution can give to our students. That transportable gift is not content but skills. If we can teach students to be imaginative, to be creative, to be innovative those are skills that whether we’re talking today’s world or tomorrow’s world are needed. Instead of leaving no child behind the test what if we made sure every student left more creative, more imaginative, more innovative than when they came to us? We’re not talking content here, content will not solve global warming, hunger, or the economic crisis. What we need to make sure every student is leaving our institution with is the idea that they can make a difference, and that they have the skills to make a difference. Why aren’t we comparing the creativity that comes out of schools rather than the test scores that are coming out of them? Could we compare patents? Or ideas, products, non-profits, that help to solve a global issue? What if we really allowed our schools to be institutes of creativity, imagination and innovation? What would that look like? And where do I sign up!

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Pingback: Tom Whitby

  2. Interesting thoughts. I imagine one way of approaching measurement of what students leave school with would be to look at how contented they are when they are older (ie a longitudinal study) and to compare the graduates of different types of education.
    I have long thought that any education that does not furnish students with a very deep knowledge of themselves is lacking in a very fundamental respect. (It is not for nothing, in my opinion, that one of the oldest sayings is ‘Know Thyself’.)

    Part of ‘knowing thyself’ is being able to recognise and celebrate what one is good at, and to be able to recognise and celebrate it in others. At the moment, the only sort of achievement we tend to acknowledge is academic. I think we should also acknowledge skills like being able to get on with others, having a sensse of humor, and being able to write a blog post out of the blue from having been stiumlated by a poster!

    • I agree…that goes along with what Gardner writes along with others. I’m in the middle of reading Disruptive Class and the more I read the more I’m thinking we need to be celebrating all types of intelligence. We don’t do a very good job of that I think.

      Hope all is well!

      • Thx, u2. Sounds like a great conference. I’m reading Gardner’s 5 Minds at the moment: very good. Not familiar with Disruptive Class.

  3. I love it – from the website “2009 is the European Year of Creativity and Innovation.”

    Lets have that in the US as well, because as far as I can tell, 2009 is the year of teaching to the test, like it was in 2008, 2007….

    Thanks for this great post Jeff, this is the kind of thing that art educators have been pushing as art funding has been slashed. I dub you an honorary art teacher 😉

  4. Pingback: jasonmkern

  5. Every time I read about what is going on at an International School, I often wish I was working at one. For whatever reason, we just don’t seem to be doing things the right way where I am. Perhaps some of the ideas I read about can be implemented, but overall school change isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

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