TED Conversations

Karina Eisner

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed.

What place does creativity have in education?

Almost every education related TED video available states or implies that creative thinking is at the center of the learning process and at the root of every breakthrough.
What place do we give creative thinking, free exploration, uncharted discovery in our current educational models?
Are the prevalent public education systems becoming a means to program the masses rather than a way to facilitate discovery, growth and self realization? Are students truly turned into useful citizens, or rather adults trained to respond to induced stimulus in predetermined ways, much like rats in the lab?
Are we afraid of where original thinking can bring us? Are we afraid of change? Are we afraid of losing control? How far are we ready to go to keep it? And do we really think creativity can be killed?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This debate is closed, now what?

….......................................YOU ARE INVITED......................................

WHAT? Stage 2 of this debate, do it!
HOW? Connecting, cooperating, organizing information, sharing our skills, giving ideas, encouraging, writing or blogging, creating a web page, reaching out to our own communities.
WHERE? New TED debate, Creativity in Action
WHEN? Now.

We can overcome geographical, language, age and political barriers. We can make a difference. Let's take the next step. Are you in?

Share:

Closing Statement from Karina Eisner

This debate is closed, now what?

….......................................YOU ARE INVITED......................................

WHAT? Stage 2 of this debate, join us!
HOW? Connecting, cooperating, organizing information, sharing our skills,
giving ideas, encouraging, blogging, creating a web page, reaching
out to our own communities.
WHERE? New TED debate, here, Creativity in Action
WHEN? Now.

We can overcome geographical, language, age and political barriers. We can make a difference. Let's take the next step. Are you in?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 17 2011: Why it is important is beautifully expressed by the TED speakers listed above. Principally because creativity is agility of the mind and our world (and long life) require agility. Creativity is also a strong source of well-being and a universal pipeline of expression across cultures.
    Teaching creativity, like teaching anything else, is possible through example (creative teacher), through exercise (practice), through exposure (sharing) and through constructive criticism.
    Perhaps the best "channel" to teaching creativity is the search for personal motivation. What are those few things that really motivate a student on a personal level.
    • thumb
      Oct 17 2011: Welcome, Thomas! Glad to have a participant from Switzerland too, we are covering the whole world :-)
      Thanks for your input.

      You clearly summarized part of what we have concluded here; it helps us to solidify the idea of what is the common denominator in the theme of the connect (or disconnect) between education and creativity in general.

      I will highlight something that is quite new to this debate: "Creativity is also a strong source of well-being and a universal pipeline of expression across cultures."
      I agree with this, you articulated it beautifully. Isn't it at the very core of our being? I wonder, could we still be human without creativity? Wouldn't we become automatons instead?

      I have suggested earlier that every posting includes some suggestion for positive action in this area, and I think (intentionally or not) you do it when you say that "Teaching creativity, like teaching anything else, is possible through example (creative teacher), through exercise (practice), through exposure (sharing) and through constructive criticism."
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2011: Karina, On Wednesday night we are holding an event with artificial intelligence expert Jürgen Schmidhuber who will be talking about "A Formal Theory of Creativity to Model the Creation of Art" which in some ways tries to answer your question about whether creativity is purely human. He also asks whether a machine can be curious. He will be together with an Architect talking about beauty.

        My post suggestion (good idea by the way) is to take a Renaissance approach to teaching - teaching without artificial borders between disciplines. This is not the same as the "anything goes" approach but rather a rigorous and challenging endeavor that leverages connectivity and cross cultural communication to allow review and debate across disciplines. My children are in a much better position than I was (am?) to debate across disciplines because they have access to a "stream" of information that is less divided into sectors. My friend had a model for this in a platform that let people cross-play, that is they could compete against each other while playing different games...for the sake of clarity I play chess against you playing checkers.
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2011: Thomas, thanks for expanding on that, your post is so rich!
          I wish I were there Wednesday.
          By the way, may I ask you who the architect is? That's a dusty hat of mine, and I am not surprised one is involved in this, we are an extremely curious breed, everything is of interest.

          Which takes us directly to the Renaissance solution you propose for education.
          I think everyone here will agree that your approach is very 21st century; across borders and cultures, and interdisciplinary. After all, isn't it the way our children are learning outside schools already?

          I would like to continue exploring this vein...

          While I can imagine your friend's program being a very good way to step-up a game, I am having a hard time picturing how it would help in education. Wouldn't it contribute to information overload? Or reduce the ability to process, retain and turn information into knowledge -a phenomenon that's pretty much an endangered species already in our youth, with so much technology at their fingertips, but so little time?

          Could you help me understand how you think it would work.
        • thumb
          Oct 18 2011: Thomas,

          Regarding "A Formal Theory of Creativity to Model the Creation of Art", are you familiar with Cohen and AARON, his art creating software program? See: http://www.viewingspace.com/genetics_culture/pages_genetics_culture/gc_w05/cohen_h.htm
          In addition, Margaret Boden writes a chapter titled "Unromantic Artists" in her book "The Creative Mind - Myths and Mechanisms". This book describes numerous examples of machine generated work that eerily resembles what human creativity. Whether computers display creativity, curiosity and imagination depends on how we define such terms. If we define these words in terms of a human spirit or volition then we create tautologies and circular reasoning that does not lead to fruitful discussion. Of course machines lack human spirit or volition. But they can be programmed to follow simple rules and heuristics that give rise to breathtakingly complex results be they artwork or physics principles that are derived from observation of physical phenomenon (e.g. a software program called BACON was able to derive basic scientific laws based on data of real physical phenomenon, not unlike how a human would derive such laws.)

          The point here is not so much whether machines can be creative, but rather what can machines reveal to us about the mechanisms of creativity in humans. Research by M. Boden and others in cognitive psychology and computational creativity reveal that many mundane cognitive processes such as sensing, encoding, storing, extracting, comparing and transforming can combine to produce what appears to be human-like creativity. While we don't have the technology yet to see the molecular changes involved during creative thought in humans, we do have lab research suggesting that simple mundane cognitive processes seem to account for much of creative thought and output. This insight gives us hope that creativity is accessible and can be improved with the development of simple mundane cognitive processes.
    • thumb
      Oct 18 2011: Another solution to enhance creativity across cultures is to encourage play in people's lives regardless of age. Play seems to be forgotten in our hurried lives. Play, when pursued for the inherent joy of it, reveals, reflects and rejuvenates our inner spirit and essence. Sadly, too often play is pursued with overt goals and rewards that coopt the original purpose and benefit of play. Alfie Cohen's book "Punished by Rewards" is an eloquent work on the dangers of turning inherently joyful play into competitive endeavors with winners and losers and external rewards.

      One action I am taking is to promote play that is non-hierarchical, non-competitive, and without external rewards. One example is peer improvisation that is pursued for the joy of creating something interesting together without the fear of judgment and without the incentive of external reward.

      Make time for such gentle, joy-filled play.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.