Everyone can think creatively!

(part of the Fall 2013 Collaborative Explorations: Creative Thinking for All series)

A Collaborative Exploration (CE) that explores how to help people—ourselves included—appreciate the idea that everyone can think creatively.
  • In brief, CEs are an extension of Problem- or Project-Based Learning and related approaches to education in which participants address a scenario or case in which the problems are not well defined, shaping their own directions of inquiry and developing their skills as investigators and prospective teachers (in the broadest sense of the word). (For more background, read the prospectus.)
  • If you want to participate, read more. (Eventually you'll get to the link to the form for applying.)
  • If you want to know what a CE requires of you, review the expectations and mechanics.
    • on hangout for 1 hour each week in September at a time and day to be arranged to suit those who apply. The URL for the first hangout will be provided only to those who apply, which entails making a commitment to attend that 1st session and at least 2 of the other 3 hangouts.
  • If you are wondering how to define a meaningful and useful line of inquiry on the topic above, let us present a scenario for the CE and hope this stimulates you to apply to participate. We will then let CE participants judge for themselves whether their inquiries are relevant.

Imagine a "guidebook" to help you appreciate the idea that everyone can think creatively and to help you help others appreciate that idea? The end-product of this CE are drafts of entries to this guidebook, which might take the form of text, maps, schemas, mp3s, or something else (in one or more entries). These entries should introduce and organize key resources, i.e., key concepts, issues and debates, references to research, quotes or paraphrases from those references, interactive activities and personal habits, people and organizations to take note of, appropriate stories.

Some questions that might stimulate your inquiries:
  • How much have well-worn sources from the 80s and 90s been superseded by more recent research and writing; how much do they hold up? (Is it right to criticize a course or a handbook on creativity for using old references? Can we show long-term creative thinking instructors ways to update their teaching?)
  • Could the creative process be thought of less as adding creative practices and more as taking away of the obstacles that have come into place and obscured natural creativity, recognizing and removing creative blocks, restoring capacities for play and fantasy?
  • How much does the creative process need to involve "context," e.g., establishing one's surroundings as a "studio" or "incubator" to make a space where creative behaviors come easier. What is known about how creative spaces, communities and historical periods came together?
  • To the extent that the creative process involves the capacity to manage, seek out, even welcome struggle and failure, how can we feel more comfortable and supported in allowing failures to happen?

suggested sources or entry-points to be added in due course

Intended outcomes of this inquiry are of two kinds:
  • a) tangible: drafts of entries to a "guidebook" to help the reader appreciate the idea that everyone can think creatively and to help the reader help others appreciate that idea; and
  • b) experiential: being impressed at how much can be learned with a small commitment of time using the CE structure to motivate and connect participants.

CE: expectations and mechanics

Whatever thread of inquiry participants pursue in any specific Collaborative Exploration (CE), your posts and contribution to live sessions should aim to stimulate and guide the learning of other participants, and build towards the final tangible product described in the scenario. The complementary, "experiential" goal is to be impressed at how much can be learned with a small commitment of time using the CE structure to motivate and connect participants.

The CE will take place over 22 days and consists of four sessions spaced one week apart, in which a small group interacts in real time live via google hangout for 60 minutes.* The day and time is arranged to fit the schedules of applicants, but often 9-10am, 4-5, 5-6 or 6-7pm to maximize the coverage of international time zones. Participants spend time between sessions on self-directed inquiry on the case, sharing of inquiries-in-progress, and reflecting on the process (which typically involves shifts in participants' definition of what they want to find out and how). Prospective participants are asked not to sign up if they cannot guarantee live participation in most of the sessions and an equivalent amount of time between sessions spent on the case. (Sessions will be available as a private unlisted youtube for participants who have to miss once.) A public google+ community, open beyond the small group, allows interested people to view and respond to any posts posted by the small group, which may, in turn, draw on them in their private discussions. The structure of each live CE session is predefined, but the CE builds in room for participants to take stock so as to inform future proposals for improvements in these structures.

To register to participate: complete http://bit.ly/CEApply.

  • * The URL for the hangout supplied via a private google+ community. Everyone who has registered will get an invitation to join that community. Hangout participation requires a headset, a google+ or gmail account, installation of the audio and video plugins, and a reliable internet connection (preferably not wifi). It also requires being ready to start by the set time and muting your mic when not talking.