The creativity graphic from Scott McLeod

Spent some time today playing “catch up” in my RSS reader and posting some things I wanted to share. (Can you tell?)

This graphic from Scott McLeod HAS to be shared!

However, we must remember that all “single answer” problems are not abolished. We still have discrete solutions to calculus problems and engineering methodologies, however, with any problems dealing with PEOPLE, creativity does come to play as well as an understanding of people.

While this analogy cannot be stretched too far, it is nonetheless a GREAT picture to talk about the changes in the types of thinkers we must produce in this post-industrial society.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Karyn Romeis January 16, 2008 - 9:50 am

While I agree that “single answer problems are not abolished”, I would still like to see learners, particularly children being allowed to be creative in finding that single solution – especially in the beginning. Even when only one method works, allowing people to explore a few unsuccessful methods of their own is only harmful when no time allowance is built in to the inexorable drive towards the dictated learning objectives of the curriculum.

As an (admittedly silly) example of a single answer problem addressed by a different method: when I was a very small child, I figured out a way to take clothes that were inside out and put them on right side out in one go, rather than having to turn them right side out first and then put them on. Some years later, the matron of our hostel at boarding school saw me doing it and told me it was “wrong” and “lazy”. The fact that it was quicker than the conventional way, with exactly the same result made no difference to her.

I still use my own method today.

Mr Hitchen January 16, 2008 - 2:25 pm

As a long-time ‘lurker’, I would just like to share my appreciation for this blog: personally, I find it consistently inspiring that there are people out there who can break out of the old ‘right/left’ liberal versus traditional perspective on education – which dominates almost all discussion of education here in Britain – to see how technology is making such distinctions as irrelevant.

Many of the points raised on this blog focus on teenage children. I have seen some good projects for primary (3-11 yrs) kids, such as the ‘1001 Nights Tale’ wiki writing project, but are there any others you would recommend?

profv January 17, 2008 - 10:45 pm

Actually, if you were to ask someone in Asia to solve a problem in calculus or algebra, you would be surprised at how they arrive at the answer. We are taught in this culture that there is only one “correct answer” or method of doing Math and science (the “hard” disciplines). However, we still have dissertations in Math, which means there has to be new information/knowledge (otherwise they would not be able to offer Ph.D’s which require new ideas).

I had a colleague from Hong Kong who worked in statistics. The first time we worked together on a problem, I was shocked at her approach to math. What was even more shocking was that we got the same answer using totally different approaches/formulas! (She was just as appalled at my approach). If we look at the world in absolutes, we’ll stifle creative thinkers like Galileo and still think the sun revolves around the earth (or does it?).

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