Creative Development: Transforming Education through Design Thinking, Innovation, and Invention

Creative Development: Transforming Education through Design Thinking, Innovation, and Invention

by Robert Kelly

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781550596717
Publisher: Brush Education
Publication date: 06/29/2016
Sold by: De Marque
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 10 MB

About the Author

Robert Kelly, PhD, is an associate professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Calgary, where he teaches studio art, curriculum theory, design, and creativity theory and practice. He has been a featured keynote speaker at conferences and workshops across Canada, speaking on creativity and educational practice. He is currently developing new courses on creativity through his Creativity Education Project.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction: The Concept of Creative Development

Education as Creative Practice, Not Consumptive Practice

Let's begin on the waters of Loch Long in Scotland. British conceptual artist Simon Starling is staging an event on the loch entitled Autoxylopyrocycloboros (2006). The work takes the form of a voyage in a twenty-foot-long wooden boat called Dignity that had been previously recovered from the bottom of Loch Long and completely refurbished. Starling fitted the boat with a single-cylinder marine steam engine. The artist, accompanied by a collaborator, embarks on a voyage in this small, steam-powered vessel, using wood from the boat itself as fuel. They feed wooden pieces and planks pried from the boat one bit at a time into the engine's boiler until the Dignity is no longer seaworthy, reaching a point where it sinks and returns to the bottom of the loch. Not to worry—both boat occupants are wearing life jackets!

Autoxylopyrocycloboros can be interpreted metaphorically in many ways. A self-destructive preoccupation with consumption seems to stand out. This is an apt metaphor for traditional mainstream educational practice and its preoccupation with the consumption of curricular content and the assessment of a student's capacity to restate or retell this content as measures of successful educational practice. Despite the best efforts of many involved in present-day, industrial/factory-informed school structures to engage students to learn, the inertia of this highly consumptive-intense educational model skews many well-intended, new, innovative educational initiatives into servants of the consumption juggernaut. Green (as cited in Cheek, 2015) argues that this inertia has a way of gobbling up innovations and stripping them of their most transformative elements, leaving these systems intact—impervious to deep and lasting change. Cheek adds that these educational structures have remained relatively stable while large-scale societal changes have significantly altered learning needs. Waks (2014) and Leadbeater (2008) argue that this model, taken for granted by many as what education is supposed to be, has outlived its usefulness. They further argue that the time has passed for attempting to retrofit new tools to old educational processes. The time has come to open the floodgates to collaborative, creative work accessible through the Internet and innumerable networking and interactive channels with implications for new ways of educational practice. The current educational structures, which are predominantly consumption intense, are not sustainable against the backdrop of significant social and cultural change.

Creative Development: Transforming Education through Design Thinking, Innovation, and Invention presents educational practice as a creativity-intense practice as opposed to a consumption-intense practice. Implicit here is an educational imperative that educational design has to enable collaborative, creative environments that go well beyond equipping learners and educators with discipline competency. Educational design must shift toward a learner and educator disposition that emphasizes creative design practice characterized by learning through engagement in original research, production, and action. A disposition speaks to the tendency to act in a certain manner under given circumstances, or when something is dispositional in nature that there is an increased likelihood that effective actions will be taken when confronted with problematic situations (Costa & Kallick, 2014). This would apply to problems that are both extrinsically and intrinsically generated. What is the educational sense of equipping both learners and educators with discipline content knowledge without a corresponding disposition that enables the initiation of new learning through problem setting and ultimately innovation and invention?

If we practise something often enough, we will eventually do that action or sequence of actions well, whether it is a positive or a detrimental action. In sports, it is common to engrain bad technique through inappropriate practice. In education, if we engage educators and learners for the majority of time in the consumption and demonstration of any type of memorization or internalization of discipline content, we can get good at doing just that. However, we cannot assume that this type of practice implies that someone will automatically be proficient at engaging in creative practice for innovation and invention. We cannot assume that this type of practice leads to the development of intrinsically motivated creative problem setters and problem solvers. To develop competency in creative practice, educational design must encompass systematic, longitudinal creative development that ultimately enables student-initiated innovation and invention to be practised on a continual basis. This has profound implications for the role of the teacher and teacher education as educators move from more traditional teacher-centric roles to teacher-as-designer roles. As designers, educators create and facilitate learning experiences and learning environments for students engaged in diverse creative practice in an interconnected global culture (Kalantzis & Cope, 2010).

Original Research, Production, and Action

Let's now move to Iceland. I recently visited the newly created LungA School, an innovative school of arts and creativity for applicants 18 years and over from around the globe. During a driving, mid-September rainstorm, I arrived in Egilsstadir, a major administrative center in eastern Iceland. As I got out of the aircraft and approached the tiny terminal my excitement grew as I could see the smiling face of Jonatan Speljborg, one of the creators of the new LungA School in the tiny village of Seydisfjordur at the end of a long fjord, about a 30-minute drive from Egilsstadir.

I had met with Jonatan two and a half years earlier in my office at my home university in Calgary in western Canada. Jonatan had been at the Banff Centre and had been directed to me by a mutual colleague to discuss a school he was planning to start that had a focus on creativity. The concept of his proposed LungA School was fascinating for me at the time because of its central focus on creativity in educational practice. It was even more exciting to be actually visiting the school, now up and running with secured government funding, after following it through its developmental stages from concept to form.

However, what was most intriguing to me about the first visit with Jonatan was the context in which this initiative came about. At the time Jonatan was in his third year at the Kaospilot, a private university of enterprise and design in Aarhus, Denmark. Jonatan is also from Denmark. The LungA school initiative was a third-year culminating project created by Jonatan and two of his Kaospilot colleagues. Here was a third-year university student collaborating to create a new school in another country! I immediately reflected on what typical third-year university students in North America would be doing in their normal course of studies. Engaging in original research and production at this level is not the norm, with the focus typically on engaging discipline complexity development.

A question arises: “Where in K to postsecondary education is educational design and practice conducive to innovation through student-initiated original research and corresponding original action and production?” In Kelly (2012), Adam Royalty of Stanford's contends that almost all of what students do is work on problems that have already been solved. The need for discipline understanding is certainly essential in engaging in creative practice. However, he goes on to question why we don't trust learners to come up with original problem-solving solutions and why we typically wait in formal education until someone reaches graduate school or has lived a substantial portion of their lives before we engage in original research and production.

Let's now move to Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas, a country bordering China and India. Kiran Sethi's global Design for Change initiative out of Ahmedabad, India, empowers learners as young as eight years old to originate school- and community-based problems and to engage in actions to solve these problems. The children at Ragatung Primary School in the Chukha area of Bhutan had a major safety issue along their walk to and from their school. Their daily journey was an hour and a half each way and took the children along topography that had potentially dangerous steep drop-offs alongside the pathway. This daily route to school also had some potentially dangerous obstructions. Through the Design for Change lens, a group of students at this school engaged the community and recruited the necessary expertise to construct a lengthy bamboo fence along the pathway to ensure the safety of the students on their daily trek. They cleaned up and reduced many of the pathway obstructions to effect change for the benefit of everyone. This is only one example from a vast sea of Design for Change young learner initiatives from around the globe. These learners apply design thinking to a wide range of problems, including environmental concerns and human rights issues. The Design for Change method and more examples are featured in Creating Development 4—Design Thinking for Change.

Creative Development: Transforming Education through Design Thinking, Innovation, and Invention is designed to equip educators with theory, strategies, and tactics that enable the creation of educational spaces that are conducive to student-instigated original research and production at any level of education and across the discipline spectrum. These educational environments are characterized by a focus on systematic creative development, enabling learners and educators to engage in increasingly more complex levels of creative practice over time.

A Global Perspective

Now that we have a foundation from which to understand creativity-intense education, let's look at challenges that lie ahead, from a global perspective, to issues that will require an incredible amount of innovation and invention. The United Nations' (2015) Resolution 70/1 Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development put forward the following goals outlined in Table 1.


Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Implicit in these comprehensive goals is the need for educational design and practice that enables the development of a disposition of creative design. That disposition is required to initiate original research and production that will lead to innovation and invention. Costa and Kallick (2014) contend that, going forward, this will necessitate the transformation of educational design and practice from a content-oriented, subject-centred, test-driven framework to a view of education being dispositional in nature. They recognize that students will likely have to invent or reimagine their vocation more often than the previous generation. Further, they espouse that in the context of twenty-first-century learning, the way ahead depends on development of capacities for creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Kalantzis and Cope (2010) add that “building the knowledge capital of a society, the creative capacities for innovation as well as the sensibilities to navigate ambiguity and complexity—is now fundamental” (p. 202).

Operationalizing Creative Development

It is one thing to call for educational design that is conducive to creative development through continual creative practice leading to innovation and invention, it is yet another thing to make it happen in educational practice. It is a call we all experience from many directions whether it is an inspirational TED talk, the burgeoning proliferation of Maker Faire events, or a call for more economic innovation from government. However, operationalizing this shift within the fabric of daily educational practice is the challenge we all face. This goes well beyond bringing in yet another new trend or way of doing into existing traditional educational organizational structure and practice. Creative Development: Transforming Education through Design Thinking, Innovation, and Invention is about systematically operationalizing educational practice through the concept of creative development, which means enabling the growth in the level of complexity in which one can engage in creative practice over time. Creative development is viewed as essential in education for enabling educators and learners to engage in meaningful original research, production, and action, which leads to innovation and invention. As a result, creative development is viewed as being equally important as more traditional developmental strands such as literacy and numeracy.

This volume begins with an examination of the vocabulary in the field of creativity relative to general educational practice, and then provides a detailed description of the eight interwoven, developmental strands that comprise longitudinal creative development. This is followed by a discussion of the characteristics of an educational culture conducive to collaborative creativity, which is essential for enabling creative development to flourish. The journey continues with a detailed description of what systematic engagement in creative practice entails through the lenses of ideation and design thinking and practice over time. We then go right to the shop floor for a detailed examination of learning experience design and assessment as creative development through the lens of teacher as designer, facilitator, collaborator, and mentor. This volume finishes with a look at implications for teacher education and thoughts on the way forward for transforming educational practice to incorporate the concept of creative development. Throughout this book, voices and examples from the field are highlighted in the Creative Development features to further develop understanding of, and insight into, the concept of creative development and how it can be educationally enabled. Creative Development: Transforming Education through Design Thinking, Innovation, and Invention is an invitation for educators and learners to embark on a journey of lifelong creative development to enable an engaging educational culture and life journey of hope, imagination, exploration, experimentation, and invention.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The concept of creative development
Chapter 1: Understanding creativity, creative capacity, and creative development
Creating Development 1: A Journey into connectivity, creativity, imagination, and perception: A conversation with John J. Cimino Jr.
Chapter 2: The educational culture of collaborative creativity
Part 1: The foundations of an educational culture of collaborative creativity
Part 2: Creating conditions for a culture of collaborative creativity
Creating Development 2: Building trust and accepting ideas
Chapter 3: Engaging in creative practice: From design thinking to design doing
Creating Development 3: Introducing design practice: The idea exchange, mousetraps, and elephants in the room
Creating Development 4: Design thinking for change
Creating Development 5: Designing educational space for creativity
Chapter 4: Learning experience design for creative development
Creating Development 6: Learning to let go: Transferring creative ownership to students
Creating Development 7: Lingering with words: Developing creative writing and living creatively
Creating Development 8: Creative development in mathematics education: A conversation with Conrad Wolfram
Chapter 5: Assessment as creative development
Chapter 6: Creative development in teacher education, in the field, and beyond
Part 1: Creative development and design thinking in teacher education
Part 2: Creating change in the field
Creating Development 9: Transforming My Elementary School Culture: A Principal’s Story
Creating Development 10: Challenge convention
Creating Development 11: Scaling creative development from district to nation
Creating Development 12: Inventing and creating a new school: A conversation with Andy Smallman
Epilogue: The way forward: Implications for global education and its transformation
Afterword: Flying into the unknown

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