Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Creative Power of Lolcats

I saw an amazing presentation at a conference last week about design thinking and creativity in school. The hook was how our schools have emphasized consumption over creativity. I realized we do a lot of things to have kids consume: worksheets, lessons, lectures, etc. Creating consumers doesn't do much for learning though -- it teaches you how to access information but it doesn't force you to think critically or reflect on that information. I read a book recently called Cognitive Surplus which suggests that even the smallest creative contributions can make a significant impact on society. The accompanying TED Talk likens it to "lolcats". If memes of cats are the stupidest possible creative act, it's still a creative act. And that naturally leads to a greater capacity to be a creator. Creators have to plan, think, and develop their ideas. And while it may seem dumb, try to remember that the next time you see a cat picture on the internet. Someone engaged a design philosophy to create that. That's more than a lot of people create.

Think of this: what are you doing in your class to have students develop their ideas? How are you engaging them in creative tasks? What makes your student a critical thinker? What's the lolcat in your classroom?

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