Adding "Creative Workflow"- 3/1/2020

Yesterday, I had the most amazing experience as a #SaturdayTeacher. Along with about 100 other dedicated educators, I participated in the first Adobe Creative Educator Day. This was an entire day dedicated to promoting creativity in our students as we built on our own current understanding of what creativity truly is. We addressed our misconceptions and built on them as Rebecca Hare engaged us on a process of what creativity can be and should be. It was fascinating as I was so happy to represent #FCPSsbts, along with fellow colleagues, Ryan Richardson and Michael Greene.

The day began with a Rebecca's Hare's keynote that inspired all of us there: Practical Creativity: How to Recognize and Cultivate it in Your School. As she began, Rebecca led us through a variety of creative challenges based on Torrance's Test for Creative Thinking to build our understanding of creativity. It is based on five norm referenced measures. Before completing these challenges, many of these measures would not have entered my mind as being measures of creativity. When I think of creativity, was I including all of these? If not, why? Which of these measures was I strongest in and which can I aim to improve as I monitor my own creativity? Was I looking at all of these areas with my students? Where was I limiting creativity? If as Rebecca shared, creative thinking was the biggest predictor of lifetime achievement, why wasn't I being inclusive of all measures of creativity?

So many questions flooded my brains as you can see. As Rebecca continued she shared this very profound statement, pictured to the right. "We need to develop DIGITAL LITERACY and CREATIVE LITERACY in ourselves," it began. As educators, we often use terminology as if we all share the same common understanding of terms. If I have learned anything as I have explored the PLC culture, it is making sure we all have the common understanding of our targets.

Rebecca defined digital literacy as "the ability to find, use, evaluate and create with a variety of digital tools to express ideas responsibly and ethically." I loved this definition- so much of what I do as a School Based Technology Specialist fits into this, not to mention how I use digital resources as I blog.

The idea of creative literacy, however, was new to me. Rebecca defined this as "the ability to create with purpose, use methods, and processes to generate new ideas, create with a variety of media, and reflect and understand creative work." This was a great place for me as an educator to start focusing on in myself, as I began this new journey into creativity.

But my journey was not just about myself, but also my learners. If I believed that digital literacy captured my vision of digital literacy, how did this materialize in my daily interactions with my learners? I love using digital tools like online databases to help students not only find, but also use and evaluate information as they research. Using databases not only helps students find reliable information, but it ensures that they use this information in a responsible way. Here are just a few examples:

  • Gale's Kids Infobits is a kid-friendly database that includes leveled text so that students can find what they need at the reading level. It also has citation tools so that students can give credit to the sources they used.

  • Smithsonian Learning Lab allows students to search many museums, based on keywords and even curate their own collection. In fact last week, the Smithsonian announced Smithsonian Open Access. This amazing collection of over 3 million Creative Commons Zero images is now available for our students to use, remix and more.

Creating with a variety of digital tools is one of my passions. I advocate that I want my students to create content when working with me over just consuming content. This year, I have worked with my students to expose them to a variety of digital tools- adding them purposely to their toolboxes, so that they can use the best tool for each time they create. Tools like Wixie, Flipgrid , Google Draw and Adobe Spark are versatile enough to be used for a variety of purposes, while also being easy to use.

As I shared earlier, creative literacy was the area that I identified that I needed to work on. Could I use my work with my learners to CHALLENGE myself to incorporate more creative literacy. One new way I learned to promote creativity was creative work flow.

Define is the first step of this process. In this step, students determine their purpose and understand the opportunity that they have been presented with.

Create happens next. Students brainstorm ideas. They explore these ideas, refine them and develop the best way to express their ideas. This is where students explore and find the best media to use for the intended purpose.

Reflect follows. Now, students review their process and their product. They discover new insights as they do so.

Reviewing this process, I quickly realized I spend most of my time with students in the create section. Some projects also include the define section, while others might touch on the reflect section. But I couldn't easily recall any projects that included all three sections. That was a great place to get started. Could I revise one of my upcoming units in one of my grades to include the creative workflow?

During this day long experience, we engaged in this creative workflow as we each made our own individual commitments to creativity.

  • First, we were asked to define what that commitment would be. We were all given a sheet of paper and a Sharpie to determine what our purpose would be.

  • Next, we were given an opportunity to create. I created initially created this using Adobe Spark Post. In addition, I also created a video using Adobe Spark Video.

  • Finally, we reflected on the process and experience, as well as the product using Adobe Spark Video.

We talk a lot in education about promoting creativity. In fact, I am even hosting a #NoVAEdChat next week on creative and critical thinking skills. But how much do we really understand about creativity? Thank you to the Adobe Education team for sharing these gems with us on a Saturday and reminding all of us that it isn't about the tool (yes, we did use Adobe products) but helping our students to develop their creativity, the greatest predictor of lifetime achievement.