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Is This Creativity?

Jul 9, 2012 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Classroom

Creativity is one of the aspects of teaching that I enjoy the most. If I thought about the traditional definitions of “creativity” there would be no way I would include myself in that definition but if you look at it through another lens then I can see why I like it so much. I simply love the challenge of thinking of solutions to challenges. Looking at all aspects of a challenge and coming up with what seem like ridiculous (creative) solutions. These are the things that I look forward to.

The other day when I was reflecting on my year 9 “Digital Connections” course that wave of creativity (or ridiculousness) hit me. Why don’t we just try something totally different next time? What we did this year was good but I am sure it always could be better.

Like all ridiculous ideas you need to have a sound board and luckily I work in a great team and I was able to “nut out” the idea with Ivan (who also teaches the other half of the students in the course).

So what was so ridiculous? Well our course is a non-assessed course based around “digital” issues. We have a lot of flexibility with what we cover but at times we haven’t got all our students won over. Don’t get me wrong they enjoy coming along but at times it has felt a bit forced. So the challenge Ivan and I were facing is how can we offer a course which is engaging, relevant and challenging whilst also ensuring our student’s learning needs are met.


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Diego Dalmaso

We discussed Cathy Davidson’s graduate program where students basically lead the course and are fully peer assessed, ISB’s Google Ninja training and a range of instructional approaches. We also looked at integration and curriculum models from ISTE and Common Sense Media. They gave us a huge range of ideas and in the end I think we have settled on something of a hybrid of all of these.

Here is how things stand at the moment:

  • ATLs – IB Approaches to Learning (ATLs) will be the framework we use for our learning experiences
  • Strands – We are designing a range of learning experiences for each strand of the ATLs.
  • Grouping – In class students can work alone, in pairs or in small groups
  • Self Directed – students will have choice over which activities they complete
  • Badges – student will work towards earning badges (based loosely around the Mozilla Badge system). They will need to complete a set number of experiences in order to earn a badge – e.g. after completing 4 experiences from the Communication strand they will receive their “Communicator” badge
  • Assessment – learning experiences are peer assessed against a class developed rubric.
  • Requirements – to earn a badge in a strand the student will need to give a presentation or run a tutorial for the class. They will also need to design an original learning experience for each strand.
We are only at the early stages of planning things out but I think we have a solid framework from which we can make this “ridiculous” idea  a reality. Once again I have been reminded why I enjoy teaching so much – the creativity


cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by scottwills

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