True learning is creative! … iPad, please!

The iPad empowers students to create products within any subject context, physical space and even on the move. This is why the iPad is so important in transforming education into a genuine learning experience, not a knowledge absorption space. This well known Ken Robinson video has, for a while, indicated the importance of creative process in learning. Creating is important because during the process of creating something new, a student is:

  1. the owner of that process
  2. fully immersed in the experience
  3. genuinely engaged
  4. driven by and personally connected to the learning objectives

Under these four circumstances, you create truly life-long learners, who are intrinsically motivated by their own demands and ideas.

 (picture via @gcouros)

Common misconception 1:
“My subject’s not creative”

Many teachers do not see creative process as part of their subject. The factory based education system used throughout the 20th century, isolated subjects as disconnected silos of information and creativity was removed from most of these study areas and confined specifically to the arts subjects only. This is not how the real world operates and creative thoughts and processes are demanded in most, if not all industries. All subject areas within schools (while those areas still exist), must harness both the students’ genuine will to create and the iPads power to enable this in so many forms and under so many circumstances.

Common misconception 2:
“I can’t grade & compare different creative output styles”

What exactly does grading do for a student? It gives them a record of how they compare with their classmates or even national year-group. What does this positioning mean? … nothing! The minute you leave school you will be working and competing with different groups of people of various ages and your grade comparison becomes meaningless immediately. Yes, you looked amazing in your school when up against your fellow students  performing standardised tests, but now you’re suddenly struggling against people from different backgrounds and may even look quiet incompetent.

Students also become distracted from their learning when focusing purely on their grade comparison with their friends. This removes any interest in learning for the sake of bettering oneself and even engagement with the objective of the tasks. Students take shortcuts and do anything that would increase the grade regardless of the impact it might have on truly understanding concepts or not. Students also find it very difficult, if they can do it at all, to articulate what an A or a B means. The grades themselves are arbitrary and mean nothing in terms of personal achievement and only make the lower grade achievers give up on learning anything.

This UK BBC documentary, The Classroom Experiment, covered many common traditional teaching habits that actually do harm rather than good in education, including grades:

A shifting agenda

An increasing number of educators are agreeing that:

  1. Personal creative processes should replace fixed content delivery and
  2. meaningful comments from both peers and teachers should replace meaningless grades

The iPad is both a personal creative device and a great tool for collaboration and documenting discussion. This is the basis on why and roughly how schools should push forward with 1-to-1 iPad integration.

7 thoughts on “True learning is creative! … iPad, please!

  1. Talking about misconceptions: #3 an iPad enhances creativity more than a cardboard box, a visit to the zoo or an old Dell laptop

    1. I’m not sure of what your point is but as far as offering every child an HD film camera, editing software, full art-set, photo editing, stop-frame animation, 2D animation, eBook creation etc, all in a portable device that’s non-intrusive to the classroom (unlike laptops), I think there is an enhancement to what they can do independently without having to hope their classroom has the equipment or their teacher will permit “that kind of output”

  2. This post is very good and very true. Grades are often arbitrary, even when guidelines are used to award them.

    I was given the same low grade for my physics work at school after working extra hard. The teacher made some encouraging comments such as ‘ Well done, you have obviously worked hard to improve!’ Then she gave me the same low grade as before. I gave up with the subject.

    Later, I was told ‘You must realise that you aren’t university material’ – yes really – I noted those exact words – very encouraging! Fortunately, I always wanted to learn things and eventually I went on to get a BA with The Open University, which meant working a lot on my own without the help of tutors on hand, as I would have had at a normal Uni – it was just before emails etc took off but I did it and would have loved to have waved my degree in the faces of my teachers! Now, at 59, I just want to keep on learning and would have loved an iPad at school and the freedom from graded learning.

    I’m not sure that there is an ideal way of teaching in schools and inner city ones might different approaches from those in rural areas but any way that makes kids want to learn has got to be good.

    My grandchildren love school and learning. Far from being a dreaded place to get away from as soon as possible, most of my music students love it, too, so things are changing. My youngest grandchild, now at pre-school, can’t wait to get to proper school – a totally different attitude from that of my age group.

  3. Im so glad I stumbled on your blog.
    I’m currently a student in college and have hated the school system my whole life.
    Your blog is exactly what I’ve always known we need. While we’re still an unfortunately long way away from even a modest implementation of these tactics and ideas, I’m glad people like you are atleast pushing for it.

    Please do everything possible to share these ideas with schools. Heck, if theres anything I can do let me know.

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