Creativity: The Currency of 21st Century

I finally been able to carve out some time and space to catch up on some professional reading in the past couple of weeks.  I’ve picked up many articles, white papers, reports, and a book that came recommend from several sources via twitter called “The Originals.”  This post is just a quick reflection of some of that reading, which I would like to elaborate further on in the coming weeks.

From blended learning to STEAM to interoperability, though the topics were all education focused they covered a wide variety of topics.  Somewhere along the line I began to see a pattern among these stories, which ultimately tie back into the book that I am reading at this time, and that is the importance of creativity.  The ability to think creatively is not just important, it is a linchpin to maintaining a leading edge in the 21st century.  I’m probably not the first, nor the last to make this claim, but I want to provide some context to this statement so as to better explain my positioning, and opinion on how we can approach making this skill a foundation of all learning opportunities.

The 20th century, across much of the world, was marked by industrialization.  Small mom and pop shops fell the wayside of assembly line technologies.  The improved technology and processes that help create bountiful markets throughout the world were driven on very different principles than those of today.  Assembly line work required workers to have just enough understanding and know how in the areas of reading, writing, and math in order to complete perscripted and repetitive tasks.  Compliance was the hallmark of effective workers of the day, and it was necessary or could even be seen as dangerous to provide workers autonomy.

The idea of compliance runs counter to what many would describe as the future of work.  Autonomy, inter and intra personal skills, and creative thinking are some of the skills cited by many studies and polls from leading businesses worldwide.  So what is driving this change?  This infographic created by Inc. Magazine outlines what they believe are some of the major change agents.  In particular, technology has created an interconnected world that requires a new set of skills once not relevant or non-existent for the workplace.  The ability of technology to augment our human capabilities and capacities means much of what we know about intelligence will change.  It stands to reason that this shift would mean much of the future of work will be shaped by how we can creatively leverage technology and create new forms of intelligence.

With no end in sight to the rise of technology and machine learning, preparing our students to leverage technology is critical.   How can we provide opportunity for our students to leverage technology in our classrooms?  What space are we providing for teachers and students to grow and experiment with creative solutions to challenging problems?



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