July 21, 2007

BLC07 Closes - Time to move on from just creativity...

  BLC07 - Over and out 
  Originally uploaded by Edublogger

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.

The future looks bright. The future is ingenius.



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I love it. The distinction between saying everyone's creative (so anything goes) and yes, everyone is creative, but to inspire others with your creativity. That's sublime.

The kids there were absolutely wonderful and deserve all the applause they received. Which once more begs the question, why aren't there more students at these conferences or educational venues? Their voice is powerful, pertinent and does more to convince the naysayers than any of us can do. Students teaching teachers! (and learning in the process)

I also love this concept!

And it expresses an attitude that students have much to offer.

What is our role in supporting ingenuity?

Sometimes I believe the first step is believing that every student has something to say.

Kern, there has been an ongoing discussion about students at conferences and what it would look like--If you're interested, you can follow it on the Fischbowl, Dangerously Irrelevant, Sylvia Martinez's site, (and I chimed in on my site also).

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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