Kathryn Andrus
Instructional Technologist, Multimedia Specialist

Helping college students have the courage to be creative

Steve Jobs said in the mid-90s,  “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people."  

How do you as an educator encourage students to see technology as a tool to solve problems creatively?

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jamie sobolewski

Posted on 10/27/15 3:42:21 PM Permalink

In class, I give an assignment and tell my students that they should not even look at the computer to start. Think, brainstorm, create, sketch. It is only after they have come up with several ideas, (the crazier the better in some cases) that they are allowed to touch the computer (technology) I find when they think up crazy ideas, they can make those ideas come to life on the computer. They search for tutorials, they play on it, they ask people around them and then...It is really fun when a student comes to me and says "look what I did on the computer, this is exactly what I wanted, and it worked."

Kris Foote

Posted on 10/27/15 2:52:36 AM Permalink

I think technology is only part of teaching students creative problem solving. Tech tools make students more sufficient reseachers via the internet/search engines but there are trade offs - technology can be distracting, and hamper students' attention span. Teachers strive to strike that ever shifting classroom balance.

Brian Dawson

Posted on 4/14/14 5:41:24 PM Permalink

This is such a great topic and question. I agree that younger students are more apt to try new things, probably because they don't have the realistic hindrances that go along with deadlines and production times. I think their creativity shines brightest once they have internalized the skills required for using a tool, and then apply experiences they have toward getting a result. I love it when a unique result comes from thinking outside the box and trying something new. In golf the saying is "never up...never in". Great topic!

carolyn brown

Posted on 10/16/13 5:43:07 PM Permalink

I struggle with this teaching adults in a 2-year vocational program. Many of them are only able to follow a step-by-step how to make a project. While others feel that anything they do should receive high marks because they were expressing their creativity. Creativity is fine for brainstorming and problem solving, but it is not so successful if you need to prepare a press-ready brochure in InDesign. Ideas can be very creative, but production often has technical and usability limitations.

Meredith Blache

Posted on 7/30/13 6:06:56 PM Permalink

I struggle with this as students get older. The younger grades seem to be very creative. As they reach Higher Ed they seem to struggle with creativity. I had students in my Digital Photography class actually evaluate an assignment saying I should give them a subject to photograph for the assignment versus have them find a subject for the assignment.

I think in teaching this class next, I will include additional research, to explore more works and more and more "assignments due" many just based on creativity. I think it is all about breaking down the barriers.

Dan Armstrong

Posted on 7/29/13 6:23:32 PM Permalink

In my classroom we specialize in solving problems with technology. As you stated in your post we usually don't create the solution we simply connect the problem with the best existing solution we are capable of finding. So while we do not create the original solution the way in which the solution is applied to the problem is unique.

Terry Marsh

Posted on 7/27/13 12:33:46 AM Permalink

Interesting question...

I like to explore areas of creativity where students already have the greatest interest. I've found that if you teach them how to improve in those areas where they are already exploring, they exhibit a greater desire to learn and connect their experiences into new platforms that encourage creativity.