Monday, January 13, 2014

Student Creation

What does it mean to create?


  [kree-eyt]  Show IPA
verb (used with object), cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing.
to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is notmade by ordinary processes.
to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.
Theater to perform (a role) for the first time or in the first production of a play.
to make by investing with new rank or by designating; constitute; appoint: to create a peer.
to be the cause or occasion of; give rise to: The announcement created confusion.

What do we mean when we say "student creation"?  If we follow the definition above, any time a student uses his or her imagination they are creating.  Right?

But do we really value that definition?  Do we value everything student create?

I'm guessing we'd all say yes we value everything students create.

But, sometimes, the EdTech world does not value everything students create.  Or, perhaps more accurately, we value them differently.

A student created movie is way more impressive then a short story by that same student.

When we talk about students using technology to create we tend to focus on apps and tools that help students create exciting or flashy products.

Is it because apps and tools that help students create less flashy products are old hat? Are we over them?

I know that I'm more biased to writing. I'm a writer.  I love to write. I write for fun. I don't have many students who like to write or consider writing fun.  Almost all of them think making a movie is fun.  And it is.  But someone has to write the script.  We need to make sure we value that type of student creation as well.

Think about the last 3 tools you recommended to a teacher or  used in your own class.  What type of products did these tools help you students create? Let's work to value all types of student products.  (and not just technology based products either but, that's a post for another day)

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let's talk about it in the comments!


  1. Great post Aimee! I am really trying to figure out and challenge myself to have different ways for students to show what they know, and at least 1 of them not be technology.

  2. Great post, Aimee! While using technology is important, I think there's great value in working with your hands, creating, writing, drawing... knowing that the product is solely because of what you made it into, not aided by a computer. We need to value all products, not just technology. I'm guilty - the last 3 tools I recommended were all technology-based. Thank you for increasing my awareness!

  3. Hi Aimee,

    I think from those definitions, you can't really say "any time a student uses his or her imagination they are creating". The point is that they must take what they have imagined, and turn it into something concrete, or "to cause to come into being".

    It is often tempting to be swayed be flashing lights, fancy fonts, and slick transitions. However a point I often make is that whilst making a movie, creating a piece of music, of publishing a book is easier now than it ever has been, it is not really any easier to make a GOOD movie, or Good piece of music, or write a GOOD book. They rely on much more than just tech tricks!

    (Of course I hope after making that point, people don't rebut with "OK, so explain the countless band-wagon movies filled with the latest special effects Hollywood puts out each year")

  4. You bring up a good point about narrowly defining "create" in the context of school and how the focus on technology tools seem to limit our thinking re student creativity. I think technology offers a valuable vehicle to not only create and design with but to publish and show creativity such as poetry, performance, or the visual arts. This is why eportfolios are such an important part of learning where students can showcase their creativity with embedded videos of their performances, photo slideshows of their artwork, oral renderings of their poetry, video games they design, 3D modeling, as well as their creative writing.

  5. Hi, Aimee-

    I appreciate the reminder of how important it is for students to imagine/explore/ponder/think/practice(not always technology dependent) BEFORE they can "show us what they know or can do". It is critical that students have access to useful tools that facilitate creation and assimilation. But your point is well made. Content is KEY. Creation is a display/expression of content knowledge and skills. Confirmation that folks in our position need to be TEACHERS first:)


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