For quite some time I have been researching “Gamification” in the classroom. I am an Information Technology teacher and last year’s group of Freshman were very challenging due to their lack of reading comprehension skills, sometimes that just happens, you end up with a class that has particularly low skills in a given area. This being the digital age I could easily compensate with visuals to address the reading problem, but could never quite gain the percentage of engagement that I wanted at all times. I needed something innovative and novel. I knew Gamification was out there in the cloud of information but could never find enough time during the year to even partially implement it. In doing the research this Summer I came across some examples that allowed for freedom of choice in activities completed by students which led me to 20% Time and Genius Hour ( I use Twitter as my PLN and I follow some awesome educator folks). I had previously completed a webinar on EdWeb “The Brain and Learning” which focused on Creativity and the Brain. Now, what all of these have in common is Creating. Students having the freedom of choice to create their own learning. Quite frankly, I think this is a novel idea, allowing students to pursue their own interests for one hour a week. Of course there has to be some parameters involved to ensure true learning is taking place and that can be measured by a teacher. First, I want to address Creativity in the Brain from the “Creative Brain: The Neuroscience of Creativity” webinar found here www.edweb.net/brain. This is a very interesting webinar and I would recommend that all educators view this, you have nothing to lose as you will receive a certificate if you have a free account with EdWeb that can be used towards your required PD hours. The presenter for the webinar is Dr. Robert Bilder as seen here with his credentials.
He opens with this quote: All children are born geniuses and we spend the first six years of their lives de-geniusing them. He states that when surveying children about their education and what their preferences would be we hear: Engagement, Freedom and Connections- Not having to seek right or wrong answers but the freedom to explore and forge new connections between areas of interest and thinking. Science is now being used to track the experience structures of the brain, and using what we know about the brain to change how it works, causing experiences to maximize the areas of the brain thet we would like to maximize. Surprisingly enough, studies also show that new growth of cells and neurons can continue well into adulthood-connectivty shows active dependent plasticity. We can change the way we think, our brain and brain structure at any age. Science can now prove “that an old dog can learn new tricks”. What are the ways that we can study creative cognition in humans? And, what are the operational definitions of creativity?
- Novelty with respect to domain
- Value with respect to domain
The intersection of novelty and value cause the truly big changes and shifts and occur at the edge of chaos. The core contributors of creative cognition are abilities most associated with creative achievement. The Foundations of Creative Cognition can be seen below.
- Generation– Executing ideas and getting products out in large numbers, externalizing allows us to free up brain space and continue with new connected creativity.
- Memory– Working memory or short term memory- to generate novel ideas, we need to maintain multiple ideas just long enough to manipulate them and yield new connections and new concepts.
- Inhibition– To foster innovation we need to inhibit habits and go beyond the first thing that comes to mind. See the following video for a fine example of inhibting habits and true problem solving.
- Drive, Emotion and Visceral States- Connection to core motivational systems drives all action and perception and is the perfect mix of flexibilty and stability in the brain- the edge of chaos. Connecting cognitive states and bodily states connect narrative with emotion,-feeling states of communicative ability.
Concept of Flow
An automatic, effortless,yet highly focused state of consciousness
Balancing stability and flexibilty
High generativity, productivity
Flexible memeory combination (working short term memory)
Successfully inhibiting intrusive habits
Connecting drive to action and perception promoting creative achievement
(there is that p word @RitaClawson)
And Finally leading me as a teacher to:
I will be incorporating Free Choice Creative Learning as a part of the novel Gamification implementation of converting my curriculum, with true value in engaging students in my classroom this Fall!
All information from the “Creative Brain: The Neuroscience of Creativity” is directly from the webinar and in no way am I claiming this as an original work but merely as a summary.