BLC07 Closes - Time to move on from just creativity...
Building Learning Communities 07 has now come to an official end, although posts with the old BLC07 tag will continue to thump through Technorati from this blog. The conference, in a way, marks just the beginning of a refreshed learning journey for myself, for other speakers and participants.
Alan asked me to help sum up at the end of the conference. The obvious remarkable factor is that this was not a 'Boston conference' as it had been in previous years. Through people making messages on the web and through their mobile phones on Twitter, to the scores joining in on seminars through Skype with their questions, arguments and counterpoints, from the comments on blog posts written in almost real time to the rhythm of the conference, to the many comments that will continue to discuss its contents in the weeks and months to come, this conference has been one for the (relative) masses.
I therefore concluded by amplifying one of the comments made on the blog, admittedly from one of those whose choice of words and friendly manner never fails to push me on to something different.
The passepartout this conference has been the word "creativity", a word that is unfortunately overused and has begun to shrink in useful value for those of us trying to work out what it actually is. The creativity of the young filmmakers with us here, the creativity of some of the presentations and arguments, the creativity shown in some of the throwaway chats I've been having - all of them are completely different genres of creativity, some of them more 'creative' than others.
Stephen Heppell's comment here this morning began to open a new line of enquiry for me. Creativity is almost a commodity, given that everyone is born with some degree of it and some people manage to maintain it at a high level despite their schooling.
How, though, do we make sure that our kids, or even just us, as teachers, don't become a commoditised version of creativity? "Quite creative", but blending into the background as everyone else's level of creativity slowly rises or, at least, the phraseology used to describe their 'creativity' increases the worth of their efforts if not its actual content?
What is the true value of creativity if everyone can claim to be creative?
The answer, says Stephen, is ingenuity. I'm tempted to agree.
Marco Torres' students of filmmaking, of sociology, of storytelling are not creative in the same way as many of the 'good filmmaking' kids that I had worked with. They were exceptional, they made something click, they pulled a chord, they made grown adults weep in a conference centre, they earned a standing ovation from 150 educators who, at the beginning of the week, were asking more about how to assess stuff than how to inspire stuff.
In a word, they had ingenuity. They were ingenius.