Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NECC 2007: Globalization Keynote Panel

A panel of experts led by Andrew Zoli spoke on the topic of developing creative kids. The panel included:
  • Mary Cullinane, Technology Architect (Microsoft) and Former Teacher
  • Dr. Francesc Pedro, OECD/CERI
  • Elizabeth Streb, Choreographer
  • Michael McCauley, Creative Director
Mary Cullinane: In a school of the future, the principal would be called the "chief learner." She recognized the tensions between accountability and the need for creativity. It is critical to create an environment where it's safe to fail and where it is comfortable to gather. Creativity and innovation are "swimming upstream" within educational contexts instead of having to fight the system. To be successful and creative, there is a need to be self-critical. At Microsoft, the employees were constantly working to improve on their own practice. Employees were also encouraged to think and to gather. Employees see "thinking" and "doing things" as equally important and there are times to think. Remember the word "motive." Constantly ask students what are their values, environments, motives, expectations, etc.

Francesc Pedro: He asked whether we could compare the creative potential and level of creative education students are receiving in 30 countries. He compared availability of computers at home versus computers available at schools. He found that students math scores increased when students had access to computers at school. This was not necessarily the case on a global scale with having computers available at schools. Include doers and learners in the instructional process. Teachers see themselves as artisans, but we assign them to clinical roles. Pedro noted the importance of language learning as early as possible and that the differences in gener-based intelligences are a myth.

Michael McCauley: The goal of creative directors is to inspire those around you to be creative and to support their ideas. Applied art is a "very dirty" business where you have to "fall down" and "break things." It's important to "mix it up" by changing dynamics so people can think creatively. Developing a creative process is about creating opportunities where individuals are inspired to meet their own goals. Read Whole New Mind and Dream Society.

Elizabeth Streb: Embrace what seems impossible and explore the possibility. Even if you don't succeed, you will gain new knowledge and experience. Imagine working in a garage - where people go to "mess things up." This is where real change happens. Allow complete sovereignty in the activities of students where their is a very thin line between their natural processes and the educational process. Go to Slam in New York. Read every title in the section of the bookstore in which you're interested.

Andrew Zolli recommends visiting Ask a Ninja.

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