A decade ago a revolution started in education, a groundswell for change. In June 2006 Sir Ken Robinson asked, Do schools kill creativity? This short talk has become the most popular of all time with close to 40 million views. The message resonated and Robinson concluded,
“and our task is to educate their [the students’] whole being, so they can face this future. By the way – we may not see this future, but they will. And our job is to help them make something of it.”
Revolutions usually begin with a tension for change and an event to galvanise the hearts and minds of the people. This talk by Sir Ken Robinson and the other merging voices of the time seemed to be able to put language around what many educators were thinking in the first decade of the 21st century. There have been a few landmark changes in that time.
The language shifted from ‘classrooms’ to ‘learning environments’ or ‘learning spaces’. We asked, ‘How can we create a learning culture that encourages creativity in schools designed in the last century?’
“Cells and bells”, “Factory model” and “Industrial-era design”, these terms referenced the physical environment, the need for rethinking the places where learning occurs, rethinking the physical constructs of school and even rethinking: ‘what is school?’
In 2010 the ipad heralded the opportunities of mobile technology. At the time technology was fixed, located in computer labs, with desktop computers and the necessary hardware and wiring. Ipads, ubiquitous wifi and the increasing mobility impacted the design of the learning and spaces.
Simultaneously, the role of the teacher started to change, with language describing the teacher’s role as ‘coach’ and ‘facilitator’, and the phrase, ‘the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage’ was often heard.
Have we managed to bring creativity back to life?
5 questions to see how far we’ve come (or not):
1. Are your students risk takers?
If they don’t know will they “have a go”?
2. Are you allowing students to be artists?
3. Does success at the so-called “top end” of the hierarchy of subjects still determine academic ability?
4. Is the education we are providing meaningful or meaningless for the future?
5. Have we recast our view of intelligence sufficiently diverse, dynamic and distinct?