Instructional Media

Blog on Creativity in the Classroom
July 18, 2011, 11:16 am
Filed under: EDIM 508

As an individual who loves the arts and enjoys exercising my own creativity and learning from others’ creativity, I would like to say that schools do not kill creativity.  If I were to say that, I’d be lying.  We are living in an age where schools are caught between educating the whole child and making AYP which is heavily based on standardized tests.  If funding and success is based off of a few bubbled in answers and a couple of brief essays, the focus shifts from art, music, dance, and other creativity based disciplines and falls heavily on what will be tested.  Frequently the arts are the first programs to be cut in an effort to fill budget holes in our districts. Sir Ken Robinson stated during his TED presentation that we steer kids away from the arts because they won’t be able to get jobs in them (Robinson, 2006).  At least here in America for certain, we also steer our students away from the arts because the material won’t be on a standardized test.

 As early as Kindergarten we prepare our students to take standardized tests: how to properly fill in the bubbles, how to narrow choices, how to explain answers, and how to double check work to be certain we have not made a careless mistake.  Sir Ken Robinson is correct; we stigmatize mistakes to the point where we are educating our students out of their creativity (Robinson, 2006).  Students learn to become focused on what is correct and it takes away from their desire to try other possibilities because they may fail.  The first few times I work with my Kindergarteners on how to fill in a bubble sheet, we see red bubbles, blue bubbles, and patterns of completed bubbles.  Practice continues throughout the year until one lone bubble is filled in, neatly.  I know this is what my district needs in order for the computer to be able to score my students’ tests when their testing time comes, but it is sad to see how the bubbles which were once a playground of colors and patterns decline into one graphite colored oval.

 Now, how can we nurture our students’ creativity using digital media while still maintaining the standardized testing scores our educational system is reluctant to give up on?  With the aide of drawing programs, music programs, cameras, and camcorders we can begin to integrate art, music, dance, and drama back into our curriculum.  Students can illustrate their essays to show characters, settings, predictions, etc.  PowerPoint or Prezi presentations can be assembled to illustrate the parts of a story, steps to a science experiment, or how to solve a math problem.  Students can create songs, poetry, dances, or skits about their subjects and record their performances to be reviewed and shared.  These are just a few very basic ideas of how we as educators can begin to use digital media to bring creativity into our classrooms.  We will have to step out of the textbooks and strict guidance of the planning and scheduling timelines to achieve this, but we can mingle what our districts need as well as what our students need.  Hopefully through this process of reintegrating creativity into our curriculum we will be able to successfully “educate the whole being” of our students so that they will be able to face the future as Sir Ken Robinson suggests (Robinson, 2006).

Robinson, Ken. (2006). Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity. [Video file].  Retrieved from

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