Sunday, February 24, 2013

(Digital) Creative Spaces and Common Core

Image by ToGaWandering


Critical Thinking. 


These four C's of the Common Core Standards are of course important for success in and out of the classroom and the workplace. School systems have always been spaces where creative minds can come together to teach and learn with each other, but I think with the push for these 4 C's and the other vitally important skills we hope every child has throughout their school and life that its time to look to the digital creative spaces where these 4 C's can occur. Social media like Twitter, blogging, Pinterest, Facebook, and many other tools can take a classroom limited by the minds held within its walls and connect it to an almost infinite amount of people, places, ideas, and resources.

Steven Johnson talks about this in his book Where Great Ideas Come From. Johnson discusses that "good ideas normally come from the collision of smaller hunches, so that they form something bigger than themselves" but historically the most important and recurring theme around these collisions of hunches, he says, is a creative space. Johnson takes a look at the advent of coffee houses during the Age of Enlightenment, the frequenting of Parisian Cafes, and we already know that schools and universities are creative spaces for minds to meet, but digital creative spaces are too often overlooked.

Social media created these digital creative spaces that we need for education as well as all other aspects of our lives. Only three of my students are connected on Twitter for various reasons, but since the four of us follow each other I caught a conversation they had the other day in which one girl asked another about a science fair idea at which point a high-school student in Oregon who follows this student told her a great idea for a science fair in which they could work together to do a comparison based on the experiment done in different locations and they will facilitate all their updates as to their experiment on Twitter - brilliant! These students were communicating their own creative ideas for the science fair and came up with a unique way to collaborate together to create this science project.

A second example was with the digital tool Skype. Skype Education has a project called Mystery Skype, where classes around the world voluntarily sign up to have a Skype call with each other and guess the class' location. (For more information on this check Pernille Ripp's blog post here) In it's most simple form though Mystery Skype has students using digital or non-digital resources from globes and maps to Google Maps and search engines. The students collaborate together to decipher clues, use critical thinking skills, and all the while they are communicating with each other and students in classrooms around the world.

Digital media can provide endless creative spaces that allow for anyone to build ideas and collaborate until ideas become reality. We can't ignore these tools anymore, as Steven Johnson says, "Chance favors the connected mind."

See below for a short RSA-style preview of Johnson's book:

Image source.

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(Digital) Creative Spaces and Common Core by Anthony Pascoe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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