In an increasingly connected world, emphasis is often put on developing and utilizing technology in the classroom. Technology, after all, is necessary in helping classrooms stay up to date, getting students with different learning styles to better adapt, and creating an environment that prepares young adults for today’s workforce. But in the midst of using technology for learning, we are sometimes skipping over an extremely important factor: creativity.
Creativity helps build new ways of thinking, moves our country and our world forward, and allows for the development of innovative products, services, and more. It helps build new technologies in the first place. Nearly three-quarters of college-educated professionals actually say creative thinking should be taught as a normal course. Somewhere in the midst of the higher ed technology boom, however, we seem to have lost the ability to think in original settings—to test our minds and truly think outside the box. So how can we meld technology and creativity to produce well-rounded and free-thinking students?
While many colleges and universities advertise themselves as idea factories, the actual emphasis seems to be on having students cycle through huge lectures and sit through classes that don’t involve them or challenge their ideas enough. Teaching styles should allow for more freedom in classrooms and laboratories, letting students ask questions and discuss their ideas in order to make creative connections between new and old knowledge. Technology utilizing online comment and innovation boards alone help encourage ideas and discussions, but there is so much more available to teaching staff.
Technology and creativity needn’t wait until college: Globaloria is a game creation social learning network that encourages young students to develop educational web games. Already familiar with such technology or not, having higher ed students create digital resumes and e-portfolios—not carbon copies of each other but real, disparate catalogues of each student’s experiences—can foster creativity. Sites such as flavors.me help students and recent grads easily design and showcase their work, content, and social media personalities by combining everything into an online presence. Researching complex ideas online and working in small-group settings also encourages creativity with the use of technology.
If you’re looking to incorporate technologies into teaching creativity but don’t know where to start, ask your co-workers: Collaborate, organize workshops, and get the creative ideas flowing. When flipping the classroom, concentrate on creativity and let students ask questions and suggest ideas for more interactive and challenging experiences. From web design to ideas that go outside the realm of traditional education, the ability to think creatively will likely be an even bigger asset to every student, graduate, and faculty member in tomorrow’s workforce.