Technology will not live up to its potential until we start to think of it less like televisions and more like paintbrushes. That is, we need to start seeing computer screens not simply as information machines, but also as a new medium for creative design and expression. The more we learn about the abilities of technology, the more creative we become.
Neuroscience research has proved the fact that all children are born with innate creative powers and as they grow up some of them keep their creativity active while others unconsciously keep it dormant. Hence, all of us from being a child have the potential for great, revolutionary creativity and all we need is to realize this potential. You must be thinking how to do that? Well, in this modern era of technology, the solution becomes very simple, to utilize technology to keep your creativity intact and flowing. Actually, the overall school system has contributed towards the deterioration of creativity of children. This system makes children victims of the education agenda where certain subjects and skills are prioritized over others to prepare students for rustic and monotonous careers which require mechanical and systemic thinking rather than critical thinking and intellectual creativity. All this calls for a dire need to look for ways by which we can redress the situation and give back life to creativity in classrooms using technology. Yes, technology, which is something that students love and use the most, can be of great help to us in this endeavor and here’s how various technological tools help enhance student creativity:
Blogs for creative thinking: Blogs are a great way for the development of creative thinking and writing in students. It provides freedom to students to post whatever they want and comment upon or share each other’s material. They can openly write on topics that intrigue them and give vent to their ideas without having to worry about grading or grammatical errors. Students can volunteer to organize and manage a common class blog, which will act as a common source of expression for the entire class. Blogging makes students feel responsible for their own learning and they are encouraged to incorporate creativity in their learning through them, which they could not do before. Few free blogging platforms for teachers and students are, Edublogs , Blogger, WordPress and many more.
Cartoon and Comic Strip Tools: Students love cartoons and comics, we can tell this right from the shine in their eyes whenever teachers introduce such material into their lesson plans, students automatically get engaged more than ever. So, why not introduce students to a set of free and friendly tools to empower them to create their own comic strips or cartoon animations. This will give them a chance to let loose their creative powers and delve into the world of creativity without any hindrance. Let them create their own cartoons to conceptualize a topic or a popular figure, in the way they want and let them express what they think about a school event in a comic way. ‘Cartoons for the Classroom’ is one popular website, which is a great resource of comic strips for students and teachers.
Mind-Mapping and Brainstorming tools: Brainstorming on topics that are to be introduced to students has now become a great collaborative way in today’s teaching practices, which encourages students to think out of the box and creatively. Brainstorming when done with technology becomes much more easy and engaging. Students can conveniently do it on their own. They can use a set of easy and free tools to make fantastic mind-maps and visual graphs to illustrate a topic or a concept. These tools boost their creativity and provide them with different ways to interconnect their thoughts. Some free mind-mapping tools for students and teachers are SpiderScribe, Wise Mapping, ChartTool , Creately and more.
Infographics: Infographics are loved by all, since they represent data in a colorful and catchy way. By using free tools for infographics, students can create awesome graphs, which make the interpretation of information easier and quicker. They can employ their creativity and imagination to create an infographic about a topic, concept or anything they want. They can share these infographics and also embed them into their classroom blog. This thrives and fosters creativity in students. Some free tools for creating infographics are Wordle , Tableau, Inkspace , and more.
Video and Audio tools: There are many easy to use video and tutorial creation tools that students and teachers can use in their teaching and learning. Students can create their own videos and share them with their class, which can be a great opportunity for them to develop their creative skills. Audio tools are equally significant; students can create short embeddable audio clips using them. They can even simulate a discussion with others or anything else they want. They can record it and share it with their mates on the class blog or school website. Some video-making tools for students and teachers are Jing , Camstudio, Screenr , etc. Some audio-recording tools are Vocaro, Audio Pal , Record MP3 and more.
Digital storytelling tools: Telling a story is a powerful way to communicate with others. It improves the creative skills of students and helps them explore the meaning of their own work and experience. Students can create their own digital stories with many available free tools, namely, Story Bird , PicLits, Slidestory and more.
Games: Games have incessantly proven to be one of the best ways of promoting co-operation and creativity. Educational games keep students engaged with their study, ignite the interactive and imaginative element in their thinking and mould it towards creativity. Now, games have become a must to be included element in education. Some educational games freely available online are Capital Penguin , Grammar Gorillas, FunBrain.com and more.
All of these tools of technology are creativity triggers that help students develop creative thinking and other essential skills. They are easily and freely available and teachers should readily adopt them into their academic curricula, so that their students never lag behind when it comes to creativity, since it is vital for their all-round development.
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