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David Hughes, founder of Decision Labs and professor at UNC Chapel Hill, argues that innovation is an essential skill for our global economy. In talking about creativity in schools he says, much of the blame for a lack of creativity, and therefore innovation, can be traced to our traditional educational systems.

What we do now to educate students will not be, cannot be, what we do five years from now.

As much as the innovation of the wheel changed how folks got around, the innovations that are taking place with technology are changing how we learn.  This is no secret.  The question is how will we as educators innovate all pop tab floweraspects of education to truly address the learning needs of students we teach.  This means we must also be proponents and users of 21st Century Skills that include collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and personal reflection and not just a mantra that is rattled off to impress.

Suppressing creativity in light of our own desire for control over learning and classroom atmosphere is what stifles a child's ability think in non-linear ways because they know that we prefer control and power over legitimate demonstration of learning.  We have a knack for telling kids how we want it done, how it is to look, how big, how small, how many words, what colors to use and not use, and on and on and on.  With all of the restrictions we place on a child's creative juices, it is no wonder innovation solutions are not created to complex problems - we have caused in box thinking while cutting out the out of box creativity.

Doing school the same way our predecessors did is simple neglect.  It is neglect to not address that we no longer live in an agrarian society.  It is neglect to tell students to keep their devices in the bags and lockers not allowing them to use it as a learning tool.  It is neglect that teachers need to be connected to each other in a variety of ways but many choose not to.  In the very near future, and I believe this is in the next five years, students will come to expect informal collaboration where the technology is secondary to the learning experience with others to achieve goals.

Creative thinkers and doers create solutions we have not now but do need to transform education from its traditional roots to a completely different platform.

photo credit: Urban Woodswalker via photopin cc

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