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Creativity is a birthright.


We are all born with creative impulses. Although we all vary in “talent,” we can train ourselves to be more creative by understanding how creativity works, by practicing divergent thinking strategies, and by worrying less about right and wrong while caring more about playing and exploring—two of our most basic instincts.


Creativity is a tao.


Creativity is a way of thinking, being, and doing—a tao. It’s a lens through which we experience a richer world. It’s about using unexpected mediums and repurposing that which would be cast aside to develop something new. Creativity may evolve in its purpose and appearance, yet it remains a pathway to understanding and problem solving.


Creativity is connecting disparate dots … and we must grow our dots.


Creativity is about seeing relationships which others fail to see, forcing juxtapositions between the unexpected. It’s playful and often stems from whimsy, tinkering, and humor. And while inquiry and experiential learning is sticky, direct instruction and guided learning (both with formal and informal pathways) are necessary because that is how we grow our dots in order to make connections. These metaphorical dots are bits of knowledge and experience we’ve gathered and stored over time. Creativity in education, then, is a balance of curating (“dot collection”), finding, sense making, and associating.


Creativity has lineage.


All creative work is derivative and built upon the ruins and triumphs of the past. Nothing is truly novel; Everything is a mash-up or remix, including ourselves! What we absorb into our lives—the people, books, films, music—makes us who we are. Creative work reflects our selected influences. Respect and acknowledge the work’s creative heritage, as well as that of the creator, and always, always give attribution.


Creativity thrives on context: time, trust, and tools.


Fostering creativity means providing an environment conducive to creative, playful thinking and making. The environment is both physical and psychological. Trust and respect in the social setting are imperative. The concepts of mise-en-scène (setting the scene) and mise en place (having tools at the ready) help us think about the physical environment. Mobile technology and a resurgent respect for another mobile technology -- journaling, doodling, and sketching -- means our studios can be anywhere at any time—so long as we are willing to trust ourselves to try.


Creativity craves constraints.


The way out of the “box” is via the shackles. Creativity works best with prompts, parameters, and limitations. Too much freedom is daunting and inhibiting. We flourish with conditions, rules, and challenges. While we can develop constraints, serendipity and chance also work as an inspiration.


Creative thinking and being are the skills of the century.


The need for cognitive agility and flexibility is ever increasing in our uncertain and exponentially changing world. We need to be chameleons who can learn, unlearn, and relearn anew. When we are able to remix a concept, we have truly learned it. Thus, all learning should involve some aspect of creativity — whether it be thinking about something differently or making something tangible to bring life to knowledge. Education should inspire us to want to wonder and learn about things on our own. It should point us in the direction of tools (hardware, software, and mindware) that we can use to facilitate our lifelong learning pursuits.

Frameworks & Philosophy for Developing a Culture of Rigorous Whimsy 
June 2017, 333 pg.  b&w
40+ Lessons, Activities & Assessments for Integrating Creativity in the pre-K to post-12 Learning Environment
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