Posted by: Dave Moursund
Tagged in: Creativity
Quoting from http://www.csun.edu/~vcpsy00h/creativity/define.htm:
Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.
In order to be creative, you need to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. Tests of creativity measure not only the number of alternatives that people can generate but the uniqueness of those alternatives. the ability to generate alternatives or to see things uniquely does not occur by change; it is linked to other, more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, and the enjoyment of things heretofore unknown.
Robert Sternberg’s theory of multiple intelligences has creativity as one of its three components. See http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm?section=news&tpl=article&BrowsingType=Features&ID=91413. Creative people often make uses of tools as they express or demonstrate their creativity. Computer-based tools provide new outlets for creative people.
In brief summary, one creates by making use of available media, tools, and so on. Computer graphics software, the Internet, and other new tools and media can now expand our creative abilities and opportunities.
Of course, creativity is difficult to define in a manner that allows us to measure it or to develop ways to enhance it. However, measures have been developed and used in research over an extensive number of years. There appears to be increasing evidence that the average level of creativity in the United States is actually decreasing.
Here is an article that I recommend to you:
Bronson, Po, & Merry, Ashley (7/10/2010). The creativity crisis. Newsweek. Retrieved 12/24/2010 from http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.html.
Quoting from the article:
Like intelligence tests, Torrance’s test—a 90-minute series of discrete tasks, administered by a psychologist–has been taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. See http://www.indiana.edu/~bobweb/Handout/cretv_6.html. Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect–each generation, scores go up about 10 points. See http://iae-pedia.org/Brain_Science#Flynn_Effect. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.” [Bold added for emphasis.]
It is easy to conjecture why this might be the case. For example, it might be because children are spending a lot of time engaged in electronic entertainment activities that do not require a lot of creativity or the imaginative use of their brains.
It might be because schools are spending less instructional effort on engaging students in using their naturally creative brains. More time is spent in having students learn specifically what the teacher, books, and the curriculum tell them they should be learning. The emphasis is on learning the facts and processes needed to score well on standardized tests.
What You Can Do
This is a good topic for educators to reflect on. How do you define and measure creativity? How do your students define creativity? What do you do in working with students that is specifically designed to help increase creativity? What might you do to increase the success of your efforts in this area?
Think about what you mean when you say a person is creative. Are all of your students creative, or do you use a highly restricted definition of being creative?
Suggested Readings from IAE and Other Publications
You can use Google to search all of the IAE publications.
Then click in the IAE Search box that is provided, insert your search terms, and click on the Search button.
Click here to search the entire collection of IAE Blog entries.
Here are some examples of publications that might interest you.
All educators are engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/all-educators-are-engaged-in-the-scholarship-of-teaching-and-learning.html.
Brain Science. See http://iae-pedia.org/Brain_Science.
Biological creativity. See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2010-33.html.
Capabilities and limitations of human memory and computer memory. See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2010-35.html.
Cognitive development and IQ. See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2009-20.html.
Creativity by artificially intelligent computer systems. Issue 34 January 2010. See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2010-34.html.
Declining level of student creativity. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/declining-level-of-student-creativity.html.
Mind and Body Connection. See http://iae-pedia.org/Mind_and_Body_Connection.
Neuromythologies (brain science mythologies) in education. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/neuromythologies-brain-science-mythologies-in-education.html.
Teaching for increased creativity in science. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/teaching-for-increased-creativity-in-science.html.
The role of emotion and skilled intuition in learning. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/the-role-of-emotional-and-skilled-intuition-in-learning.html.
The role of fiction in cognitive development and maintenance. Issue 37 March 2010. See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2010-37.html.