Gen Z and Creativity

This week, Adobe released a report on the results of a global study, Gen Z in the classroom; creating the future.  Data were collected from over 2000 students, aged 11 – 18 and over 1000 or their educators.  Participants came from US, UK, Germany and Australia.

The late-2016 survey asked wide-ranging  questions on perceptions of the GenZ creativity, differences between this and older generations, the challenges, how GenZs learn best, and preparedness for life after school.

Insights show that students and educators believe:

  • technology and creativity are defining characteristics of GenZ
  • students are excited about but feel unprepared for their future in the real world
  • there should be more focus on hands-on creativity, the optimum means of learning. The curriculum needs to catch up
  • being creative will play an integral role in the workplace
  • increased access to digital tools will be an advantage in the future workplace

Alan November’s transformational six

Alan November’s 23 January 2017 post, Crafting a vision for empowered learning and teaching: beyond the $1000 pencil, in his blog November Learning reminded me of his invaluable and powerful six transformational questions.   What great learning could occur if every assessment was built on this foundation!  What wonderful critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills could be learned!

  1. Did the assignment build capacity for critical thinking on the web?
  2. Did the assignment develop new lines of inquiry?
  3. Are there opportunities for students to make their thinking visible?
  4. Are there opportunities to broaden the perspective of the conversation with authentic audiences from around the world?
  5. Is there an opportunity for students to create a contribution (purposeful work)?
  6. Does the assignment demo “best in the world” examples of content and skill?

Personalised professional learning

Today, there is a thought-provoking post from Edutopia: Why don’t we differentiate professional development?  Pauline Zdonek’s comments caught my attention:

As I prepare for another afternoon of district-provided professional development activities, I always make sure that I bring plenty of work to do (papers to grade, lesson planning, etc.)…the sad fact is that the majority of PDs I attend are repetitive, simplistic, or downright boring. I bring other work to do so that I don’t get irritated when I feel that my time is being so carelessly wasted.

“One-size-fits-all” professional learning does not work, and we have known that for many years through experience, anecdotal evidence and research.  This was a hot topic in the nineties and early two thousands!   In 1999, NCREL (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory) produced a toolkit Professional Development: learning from the best; in 2002, Dennis Sparks published Designing powerful professional development for teachers and principals for the National Staff Development Council, which produced a set of standards for meaningful professional learning.

What have we learnt?  How many colleagues have been “talked at”, in our beginning-of-the-year professional development sessions?

In 2014, AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership) produced Designing professional learning, a report to…

…help readers design, revise and evaluate high-quality professional learning by clarifying the elements of learning design that significantly increase participants’ learning outcomes and their use of those learning outcomes in classroom practice.

This report provides an excellent basis for developing robust and meaningful learning experiences.