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Lucubrate Magazine, Issue 37, August 17th, 2018
Creativity is an essential aspect of teaching and learning that is influencing worldwide educational policy and teacher practice and is shaping the possibilities of 21st-century learners. The way creativity is understood, nurtured, and linked with real-world problems for emerging workforces is significantly changing the ways contemporary scholars and educators are now approaching creativity in schools.
What is Creativity?
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.
A product is creative when it is (a) novel and (b) appropriate. A novel product is original, not predictable. The bigger the concept and the more the product stimulates further work and ideas, the more the product is creative.
Sternberg & Lubart, Defying the Crowd
Creativity discourses commonly attend to creative ability, influence, and assessment along three broad themes: the physical environment, pedagogical practices and learner traits, and the role of partnerships in and beyond the school.
Photo: Kaboompics .com
Even those of us not in explicitly creative fields must come up with new ideas and insights to move ahead. How can we shake up the way we think? Creativity has been pegged to conducive environments, perfect collaborators, personality traits, serendipity, and even spiritual muses. Research shows that creative thinking involves making new connections between different regions of the brain, implying that we can make ourselves more creative by engaging our divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing ourselves to new experiences and learning. While research psychologists are interested in increasing innovative thinking, clinical psychologists sometimes encourage patients to use artistic expression as a way to confront difficult feelings.
Creativity begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering a way of thinking. You can learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesizing information. Learning to be creative is akin to learning a sport. It requires practice to develop the right muscles and a supportive environment in which to flourish.
Facing the rapid changing world driven by globalization and technology, we need to reconsider our practice in this world and pay more attention to creativity. As we all know, creativity is the sustainable power of technology development which calls for more talented creators for further development. But on the contrary, our education system is suppressing students’ innate creativity potentials with uniform curricula and mechanized teaching method.  Sir Ken Robinson, the champion of the importance of creativity in education, talks about the need for all children to have a creative outlet. He mentions that ‘’creative intelligence is dynamic, it’s diverse and it’s distinct’’. Creativity is as important as literacy and we should treat it with the same significance. More and more children are educated out of taking risks and they become numb to trying and failing before they succeed. We need to teach them to be prepared to be wrong and to be original. The world is becoming more and more dynamic and the ability to be adaptable is now a valued commodity. Creative intelligence generates the perfect skill set which we need to equip young people with so that they can navigate an increasingly complex and unpredictable world. “Innovation in education is stepping outside of the box, challenging our methods and strategies in order to support the success of all students as well as ourselves. This transformation may be small or a complete overhaul, but it is done with purpose and supports the whole student.” Whitney
Sir Ken Robinson
WHY IS CREATIVITY IMPORTANT IN EDUCATION?
“…if you speak to business leaders, they say they want people who are creative, who can innovate, who can think differently, who can work in teams, and who can communicate – all the things that are not now taught in schools that have to submit to these rather standardized programs and policies… “
Example from Ireland
A culture-based wellbeing initiative, the Creative Ireland Programme is guided by a vision that every person in Ireland will have the opportunity to realize their full creative potential. In 2017, the programme supported a range of successful talks, workshops, and events on culture, creativity, and well-being, to encourage deeper understanding and appreciation of creativity’s role.
The new 2018/2019 scheme aims to identify, support and collaborate with a range of strategic partners on projects that are genuinely innovative.
150 schools participate in the initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme
Thousands of children and young people will enjoy more access to creative activities at school via this Arts Council-led initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme. Reflecting the diversity of educational settings in the country, 150 schools nationwide have been chosen to participate in the Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools pilot programme, beginning in September 2018.
In a total 150 schools include primary, secondary, special, DEIS and co-educational schools; as well as Youthreach centers, rural, urban, single-sex and Irish-language medium schools will participate. The enthusiastic response to the call for applications indicates just how vital creativity and the arts already is within our school system. With the pilot beginning in September 2018 and running to the end of 2019’s school year, this appetite for creativity and arts through education can now be steadily built upon. 
Creativity in Schools in Australia
Creativity is once again front and center in the call for educating more effective 21stcentury workforces. Today we know that creativity is ubiquitous, that everyone is creative, and that all students deserve the opportunity to develop, and learn and maximize their own creative thinking abilities. Having progressed through industrial and knowledge economies, we are now propelled into a dynamic creative economy of enormous complexity, interconnectedness, and opportunity. The Australian national curriculum mandates the development of the general capability of creative and critical thinking. However, achieving this is severely hampered, as the report attests, by inflexible curricula, teaching models that limit differentiation and creativity, and stymied organizational leadership that limits teacher practices and de-incentivizes schools as innovative environments. In Austraila, they shall develop a national Creativity Index that will measure creative skills and capacities alongside literacy and numeracy. Their research shows an urgent need for a more ecological approach to improving creativity in schools, not just for measuring it. This means approaching schools as ecosystems in which teachers collaborate with other teachers, students, and leadership, and teaching and learning are approached interdisciplinarily. It also urges the immediate incorporation of compulsory creativity training in all initial teacher education and professional development across the country. With support from the Australian Research Council, the Australian national curriculum is offering new Australian research and practical tools built from the 600+ teachers, principals, and students expressed needs for improving creativity in their classrooms. Large-scale, current and empirical research and tools grown from within the Education sector can greatly enhance models. Using practical and collaborative approaches they can expand user-centered innovation possibilities and have the potential to radically improve Australian education, and more effectively implement the Australian Curriculum’s ‘critical and creative thinking’ general capability. 
Why is creativity important?
Multinational companies such as Adobe are now conducting their own research to stress the need for creative skills and capacities in their recruits. While market needs shouldn’t drive education, they play a strong role in determining what gets taught, and how. Digital technology is playing an ever-greater role in the how of educational engagements. And we’re not talking about just being able to put a Computer or Tablet in every learner’s hands, but actually using hybrid reality technologies and emerging digital technology to educationally meet and extend our own and our students shared creative imaginations. This is not only a good education but good business too. From augmented reality and games development to the immersive world and virtual reality technologies, to smart homes, workplaces and smart cities, creativity and creative ways of thinking are at the forefront of educational needs today.
Lucubrate Magazine, Issue 37, August 17th, 2018
 Yanmei Yin: Punya Mishra and Danah Henriksen: Creativity, Technology & Education: Exploring their Convergence, Springer (2018)  The Creative Ireland Programme, Ireland  Australia Association for Research in Education
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The photo on top: Gratisography