Thinking Creatively

As part of my 2013 review I’ve been looking over some blogs and reports I read this year, and this one by Anthony Chivetta, whilst originally posted in 2008, still has so much impact today, some 5 years on – “21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively”

“Today’s world is no longer content with students who can simply apply the knowledge they learned in school: our generation will be asked to think and operate in ways that traditional education has not, and can not, prepare us for.” (Chivetta, 2008)

Just so you know, at the time of writing (Jan 2008) Anthony was 18 years old. We must also remember that in 2008 we didn’t have tablets like the iPad, we were still using desktops and laptops and netbooks, and we had only just received the first iPhone (June 2007). Yet this observant millennial had already seen the power and advantage a device like this could give a student, and that his teachers were lagging further and further behind their students.

'The need to know the capital of Florida died when my phone learned the answer.' Click To Tweet

“The need to know the capital of Florida died when my phone learned the answer. Rather, the students of tomorrow need to be able to think creatively: they will need to learn on their own, adapt to new challenges and innovate on-the-fly. As the realm of intellectual accessibility expands at amazing rates (due to greater global collaboration and access to information), students of tomorrow will need to be their own guides as they explore the body of information that is at their fingertips. My generation will be required to learn information quickly, use that information to solve new and novel problems, and then present those solutions in creative and effective ways. The effective students of tomorrow’s world will be independent learners, strong problem solvers and effective designers.” (Chivetta, 2008)

How about this conclusion, Chivetta is a very observant individual … “Traditional-rote learning has its place too, as a jumping-off point for our intellectual endeavours. We are, however, crippling our students if we don’t give them the tools necessary to be life-long learners.” Have we rectified this yet, have we caught up and embraced new tools that make learning more engaging or more interesting (or even easier)?

Why is this a big deal? As I’ve said before, the students have made the connection between the device and the way they’re learning, so we as educators need to match, if not better, this. Steve Wheeler has written and spoken on this many time and his post ‘Always-On Learning’ just reaffirms my belief that we don’t currently do enough to engage  students on their own devices, and encourage our colleagues to embrace (“the three e’s” – Engage, Encourage, Embrace?) these developments:

“Students can use their personal technology to interact with, and gain a purchase on content at a much deeper level than we were able to do in the days before we had such tools. What’s more, their learning can be built upon at any time, and in any place, because the student takes all their content with them wherever they go. ‘Always on’ should therefore also be seen as a positive phenomenon, in which learners can access content, interact with their peers and tutors, and create, organise, repurpose and share content at any time.” (Wheeler, 2013)

Chivetta, A. 2008. 21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively. Anthony Chivetta, [blog] 22 Jan 2008, Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Wheeler, S. 2013. ‘Always on’ learning. Learning with ‘e’s, [blog] 17 Oct 2013, Available at: [Accessed: 1 Dec 2013].

Image source: On top of my head by Kristina Alexanderson (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)