At the May 19th Massachusetts School-to-Career Connecting Activities conference, school partners in the Massachusetts Creativity & Innovation grant program displayed the projects that they have developed. Displays included projects about robotics, design & innovation, math, physics, biology and the arts. Participating schools have designed curriculum that engages students in “design thinking” and in the opportunity to experiment, tinker and try-out ideas, with the idea that sometimes there will be visible great results and sometimes failure and a chance to keep experimenting.
The creativity theme intermingled with the traditional themes of the Connecting Activities conference — career exploration, employer engagement, creating high-quality work experiences for students. How does the theme of creativity fit into this work? Several different connections –
1.) The creativity projects provide examples of approaches for connecting authentic, challenging, creative work into classrooms, allowing students to experience and build personal and career skills in design thinking, innovation, technology, the arts and more.
2.) The creativity projects highlight the ways that creative thinking is relevant across many fields of study, career areas and aspects of life. Creativity is important in classrooms, personal life, community and career; in science, technology, engineering, arts, math, entrepreneurship, retail, food, media, education, nonprofit organizations & more.
3.) The projects highlight the idea that there is a cluster of skills – communication, collaboration, leadership, critical and analytical thinking, research, persistence and more – that support creativity and innovation. The featured speaker, Ayora Berry from PTC, also highlighted the idea that the best creative thinking happens when people combine broad knowledge and experiences across many subjects and topics with in-depth knowledge of a particular topic. Students need opportunities to develop breadth of knowledge and experience at the same time that they are beginning to discover favorite subjects and career areas where they will focus in-depth study.
4.) Formal and informal apprenticeship is a key part of most creative career paths. Many teachers, supervisors and career counselors have a gift for helping students to see the long-term career skills embedded in all kinds of entry-level job and early work experiences.
|Where do everyday examples of creativity show up in the work-based learning placements sponsored by Connecting Activities? Here are some examples drawn from sample Work-Based Learning Plans.
Business and Entrepreneurship
Retail and Sales
Graphic Design / Sign Design
What other examples do you have? As you are helping to shape student work experiences, think about ways that you can highlight the potential for creativity in these experiences.