Creativity & Innovation in the Classroom

creativity, innovation

We just recently completed my first larger group ed tech professional development session called Next-Gen Teacher Academy in Saline. These sessions are designed for teachers who are interested in Next-Gen classrooms and might be interested in being a Next-Gen teacher in the future.  In developing our Next Generation Teacher Academy professional development sessions, we focused on really diving into 21st century skills and supporting pedagogy rather than your run of the mill tech tool based trainings. We want our teachers to reap the benefits of going deeper into technology integration. Our first training focused on creativity and innovation with a driving question of:

How do we foster creativity and innovation in our Next-Gen classrooms?

I discovered a gem of a video about thinking outside the box and it reminded me so much of the way our students’ ideas sometimes flow out. We decided to share this video out before the training as a way to get participants thinking about what creativity really looks like.

Through combining the EdLeader21 Creativity and Innovation Rubric with the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) Project Based Learning Creativity rubric, we were able to develop a great way to measure and evaluate creativity and innovation through the steps of the creative process in the classroom. We decided the most effective way to help educators to understand this rubric would be to experience the creative process and then reflect on what they did. We developed a creativity exercise on building a better bicycle and included the key steps of identifying the problem, gathering information, idea generation and refinement, creative production and self-reflection.

Here is the resource that we developed on creativity and innovation.

The fantastic thing about this training was that through the mix of tools (iPads, play dough, laptops, markers and paper) that we made available, tech savvy educators and tech fearful educators were able to feel confident in their ability to foster creativity and innovation in their classrooms.

Our participants gave positive feedback on the training and loved the way that they were able to be introduced to the Creativity & Innovation rubric through experiencing it.

I am looking forward to our next Next-Gen Teacher Academy training focused on fostering collaboration!



Creating a Student Maker Space

Maker Movement, MakerEd, MakerSpace, STEM

As part of a 20% time project, I decided to pursue my interest in developing student Maker Spaces. It just so happened that our main tech offices are moving to a new space and small space then has opened up attached to the library that I could create a student Maker Space. I have been doing some research and had an awesome visit and tour through Ann Arbor Maker Works. Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 8.08.07 PM


Obviously, there are tools that are not cleared for use with fourth and fifth grade student use but it was great to get an idea of how a true MakerSpace functions. A MAET alum and MSU Urban STEM professor Candace Marcotte

took some time out to do a Google Hangout with me and discuss how she has been transforming her Tech Club into an after school MakerSpace. She shared some really great ideas about what materials to start off with and how to structure the meetings. I was excited to hear that her work with the program stemmed interest from teachers who are now using the space with their students. That would be my end goal- to create an engaging and inviting space that could be used for interdisciplinary projects and fosters 21st century skills.

As the tech team transitions into their new space, I am looking forward to finding supplies to get our Maker Space up and running! Pictures to follow of what we end up with and how we shape our space!