Creative Society

Creative Society


(playful music) Over the past few decades,
there’s been a lot of talk about the transition from
an industrial society to an information society
or knowledge society. People now see that
information and knowledge, not natural resources
and industrial factories are the driving force for
the economy and society. Now clearly, information and
knowledge are very important, I think increasingly important. What I’d like to suggest,
is a different framework for today’s society. I like to think of it
as the creative society. As the pace of change in
the world continues to accelerate, people are confronted with the neverending stream of
unknown and uncertain and unpredictable situations. And they need to learn how
to come up with creative approaches for dealing
with those situations. Success in today’s society,
whether for an individual, for a community, for a
company, or even for nations as a whole, depends upon the ability to think and act creatively. Now, this transition to a creative society presents new opportunities. We can use the transition
to promote a more humane and humanistic set of values for society. The best way of supporting
children developing as creative thinkers is to provide them with opportunities to
follow their interests, to explore their ideas,
to develop their voice. Now, those are values I
would have wanted to support in any era, but they’re
more important today than ever before, where the
value of creative thinking is more important than ever before. Now, the transition to a
creative society won’t be easy. We’ll need to make some structural changes to break down some barriers
in the way we think about our educational systems. We’ll need to break down the
barriers across disciplines, providing more opportunities
for integration of math and science and
engineering with art and design and the type of projects
that kids work on. We need to break down
the barriers across ages, allowing children of all ages to learn with and from one another. We’ll need to break down
the barriers across space, integrating activities with
school with those at home and at community centers. We’ll need to break down
the barriers across time, providing opportunities
for children to work on interest-based projects
that take days or weeks or months or even years,
rather than trying to constrain projects into a classroom
period or a curriculum unit. Now when I think about
this transition to a creative society, I see myself
as a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist. I’m a short-term pessimist
because I know how difficult it is to bring
about structural changes in education and how
difficult it is to change the way people think about
learning and education. Those type of changes
don’t happen overnight. At the same time, I’m
a long-term optimist. I know that as the pace of
change continues to accelerate, the need for creative thinking will become more and more apparent
and more and more people will start to understand
that the best way to support creative thinking is to
help spread the spirit of kindergarten to learners
of all ages, that is, to help all children from
all backgrounds of all ages to be able to work on projects
based on their passions in collaboration with
peers in a playful spirit. Around the world, we’re already
seeing some hopeful signs. There are more and more
schools and libraries and museums and community
centers where children do have the opportunity to design
and create and experiment and explore and more and
more parents and educators and policy makers are
recognizing the limitations of the current educational
system and they’re searching for new strategies to
support children in a fast changing society. Another reason for my optimism
is children themselves. As more and more children
grow up experiencing the joys and possibilities of creativity
through participating in communities like Scratch
and the Computer Clubhouse, they’ll start to realize that they want to do things differently. They’ll become frustrated
with the passivity of today’s classrooms and
they’ll think about things in new ways. They won’t want to accept
the old ways of doing things. As today’s children grow
up, they’ll become agents of change, they’ll be
the ones who’ll continue to push for change. Let me end with a story
about a friend of mine who had a daughter named
Lily who was in kindergarten. One day, Lily came home from kindergarten and told her mom a story about
a friend in her kindergarten named Daisy. Evidently, Daisy had started kindergarten at a very early age and
was spending a second year in kindergarten and here’s
the way Lily explained it to her mom. She said, “Daisy did
kindergarten last year “and she’s doing it again this
year, for two whole years! “I wanna do kindergarten again too!” Now, when I heard that
story, I was pleased that Lily was really happy in
kindergarten and she seemed to recognize that kindergarten
was a special time and a special place. But at the same time, I
could detect some concern in Lily’s story, that somehow
she seemed to recognize that she might never again have a time for the same type of creative
play and creative experiences. Here in our lifelong
kindergarten research group, we share Lily’s concern
and we’re trying to do something about it. That’s why we’re creating
technologies and activities to engage children of all ages in creative learning experiences. And we’re creating spaces and communities where kids of all ages can work together on creative projects and develop
their creative capacities. The transition to a creative
society is a big challenge and we need everybody
to work together on it. Whether you’re a parent or a
teacher or an administrator or a policy maker or a
researcher or just someone who cares about kids, let’s all find ways of working together to
provide children of all ages, from all backgrounds,
with opportunities to work on projects based on their
passions in collaboration with peers in a playful spirit. There’s nothing more important
than helping today’s children grow up as creative
thinkers so they can be full and active contributors to
tomorrows creative society. Let’s make it happen. (playful music)

Comments

  1. Post
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    Shawn Patrick Higgins

    I basically remixed this whole talk for the explanation of what my middle school computer science & design class is for conferences the last three days 😀
    1:31 & 3:15 & 6:19 esp! ON POINT! 😃

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