Web 2.0 and Creativity

I mentioned in a recent post that I’d participated in a webinar about dimensions of creativity.  In this post I’d like to share some of what I walked away with.  (Not surprisingly, it involves the use of some web 2.0 tools to foster creativity.)
Close up of The Thinkerphoto © 2007 Brian Hillegas | more info (via: Wylio)

J.P. Guilford in the late ’50’s created a model for divergent thinking and  the webinar trainer drew upon this work for our session.  In particular we were introduced to the following terms :  fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration.  Fluency in this context refers to the first step in creative problem-solving, the generation of lots of ideas.  Flexibility involved the ability to look at a task from different points of view, to try different approaches.  Originality means creating something unique, unusual, or unexpected, and elaboration refers to the ability to embellish and add details to a very general task.  Our trainer suggested using this vocabulary with our students, especially around projects.  She recommended tuning into kids’ strengths early on and using the rubrics to differentiate and encourage growth in particular dimensions when appropriate.

Take aways for me:

1.  Brainstorm everything!  Activate prior knowledge whenever possible and generate lots of ideas to build fluency.  Web 2.0 tools well suited to this include:  wordle, scribblar, and bubbl.us.

2. Look at assignments flexibly.  Consider shifting the time period used, or the persona involved, or the point of view.  Allow for different modalities to show evidence of learning.  Tools to aid with flexibility include Voicethread, Glogster, and the Guess-the-Google game.

3. Students often lose their originality early on in an attempt to be teacher pleasers.  Cheer and applaud their original ideas whenever possible.

4. Prompt originality with juxtapositions. (e.g.  What did the Boston Tea Party sound like?)  Web tools that foster originality include: bookemon, Google Search stories, bookr,  Glosgster, and Voicethread.

Of course the challenge for me will be to propose some different sorts of assignments to my teachers when approached about research or tech integration.  But that is our responsibility to our students if we want them to become active, creative  producers of information and ideas, not just consumers.