#Change11 Creativity and Connected Learning

I have been thinking about this basic question: How does creativity impact on learning?

In this post on Why Creative Teaching is Essential for the Information Age? http://summify.com/story/TvhSby7XrzJFKqGg/www.good.is/post/why-creative-teaching-is-essential-for-the-information-age/ and this post on Why Making Schools Creative Requires Radical Change http://www.good.is/post/why-making-schools-creative-requires-radical-change/

“Our modern information age needs curious, humble minds—people willing to absorb new knowledge, think critically and put information into context. Abandoning a narrow, one-size-fits-all approach to curriculum standards would help students develop the curiosity they need to become the innovators of the future. That matters more than the ability to recall an answer on the test.”

To what extent is the following true?  I would like to examine the assumptions behind these.  When the dropout rate of students is high, we need to ask: Why did students drop out?

Posts on High School dropouts – here and here.

REASONS YOUNG PEOPLE GIVE FOR DROPPING OUT:

  • Didn’t like school in general or the school they were attending
  • Were failing, getting poor grades, or couldn’t keep up with school work
  • Didn’t get along with teachers and/or students
  • Had disciplinary problems, were suspended, or expelled
  • Didn’t feel safe in school
  • Got a job, had a family to support, or had trouble managing both school and work
  • Got married, got pregnant, or became a parent
  • Had a drug or alcohol problem

“While there is no single reason that students drop out, research indicates that difficult transitions to high school, deficient basic skills, and a lack of engagement serve as prominent barriers to graduation.

Most dropouts are already on the path to failure in the middle grades and engage in behaviors that strongly correlate to dropping out in high school. Various researchers have identified specific risk factors, such as low attendance or a failing grade, which can identify future dropouts—in some cases as early as sixth grade.

Ninth grade serves as a bottleneck for many students who begin their freshman year only to find that their academic skills are insufficient for high school-level work. Up to 40 percent of ninth grade students in cities with the highest dropout rates repeat ninth grade; only 10 to 15 percent of those repeaters go on to graduate.

Academic success in ninth grade course work is highly predictive of eventual graduation; it is even more telling than demographic characteristics or prior academic achievement.

Unfortunately, many students are not given the extra support they need to successfully make the transition to high school. As a result, over one third of all dropouts are lost in ninth grade.

The six million secondary students who comprise the lowest 25 percent of achievement are twenty times more likely to drop out of high school than students in the top-performing quartile.

Both academic and social engagement are integral components of successfully navigating the education pipeline. Research shows that a lack of student engagement is predictive of dropping out, even after controlling for academic achievement and student background.”

In response to these, what might be the options and possible solutions?

For poorly motivated kids or school dropouts, surely the school environment may not be the best community for them to learn.  However, there are lots of potential for these kids to be connected to others via the community, both inside  and outside school, so they could develop themselves into adult lives.  So why not leveraging the potential of community as part of their classroom activity to re-boost their interests of learning and socializing?

Here in this video:

I re-post part of the transcript as shown on Youtube here:

“We can debate outcomes of engagement all we want, but the thing that’s really important, I think, to have on the public agenda is really the question of ‘Who is getting access to the kinds of experiences that are productive and engaging, and who is not?’ And what are the factors contributing to that?” (3:30)

“I think there’s still a persistent perception among parents and teachers that activities like gaming and social media use are a waste of time and a distraction from learning, rather than something that is inherently a support for productive forms of learning.” (6:25)

“It’s often profoundly uncool to care deeply about something […] kids have mechanisms for hiding these kinds of identities[…] Now, the online world suddenly offers an opportunity for kids to affiliate and connect with others who share these passionate interests in a way that’s not bound by the social status hierarchies of high school.” (12:46)

“Now what was extremely interesting about Clarissa that made her different from […] almost all of the kids who we talked to as part of our study was she was able to take the work she did in the role-playing world and make it visible and consequential, in a positive way, to the adult-facing world.” (15:33)

“We’re doing work right now in trying to develop some alternative assessments, ways of thinking about dispositions, metacognitive capacities, preparation for future learning […] that can really enable us to make an argument why it’s not domain-specific knowledge that we should be looking at as much as an underlying disposition for learning and capacity for future learning that’s the most important outcome.” (22:27)

“Our theory of change, it’s really centered on the fact that–in the best circumstances–new technology can really lower the barriers of access to connected learning experiences. That it can help really connect the dots between these diverse spheres of learning that young people navigate through in their everyday lives.” (27:09)

The connected learning mentioned by Mimi are based on:

-Friendship, Community

-Interests, Affinity

-Reputation, Achievement

She also mentioned about a Theory of Change that is based on the use of technology, with technology affordance, media and community that would:

– lower the barriers towards connection with community and others,

– recognize their achievement of competencies,

– connect the dots, via community,

– navigate the networks, community and webs,

–  negotiate with others, and

– voice their views and opinions.

Further research is required to explore how such connected learning based on informal learning outside school setting be integrated with the school education and learning.

In reflection, this connected learning relates to Connectivism and Connective Knowledge significantly.  Also the concepts of Conversation as part of the pedagogy in Community and Online Learning (see here and here) are not only valid for adult and community learning, but also crucial to K-12 learning, though the degree and depth of conversation among learners may vary, depending on the maturity of the learners, and the context of conversation and discourse.

I reckon creativity is related to connected and connective learning.  If we could help and support our fellow learners and educators in creating a learning environment and ecology via technology and media, then they would feel more comfortable and easy in connecting, conversing, cooperating and collaborating with each others, and be able to exercise their creativity and talents in the engagement, production and sharing of artifacts.  Surely that would lead to networks and communities of learning that could fulfill their life-long and life-wide learning aspirations.

I will continue to explore this in the coming posts.

6 thoughts on “#Change11 Creativity and Connected Learning

  1. I think creativity is related to problem solving and learning. The more one is motivated to solve a problem and the more information available to show possible solutions to the problem, the more creative a person can be in developing solutions. Thus, the more information we make available about the drop-out crisis, and the more information we provide on related topics such as workforce development, jobs, poverty, elearning, etc. the more we have available to solving this problem.

    I’ve been aggregating a library of information related to this issue for more than 30 years and have been sharing it on the Internet since 1998 at http://www.tutormentorconnection.org and http://www.tutormentorexchange.net. I use maps to show where poverty and poorly performing schools are located and to focus attention of adult learners (leaders) who need to make the resources available throughout a city so that they are available to youth in every high drop out school area.

    Helping people find this information and teaching people to use it in their own learning, planning and actions, is a huge challenge that also requires a massive amount of creativity and innovation.

  2. Hi John,
    This is a fabulous posting! Rather than informing ourselves on changes needed to education by studying the experience of graduate students, why not study the people that education failed? What’s to be learned from comments made by people who have bought into and succeeded in education from start to finish?

    The internet opens up learning to everyone yet we are furnishing it using the same old decorator and calling it change.

    Thanks for this,
    Scott

  3. Pingback: #Change11 Creativity and Connected Learning | Learner Weblog | Student Engagement for Learning | Scoop.it

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