In their discussion on technology and creativity, Banaji and Burn (2010) point out that the use of technology does not necessarily mean that teaching and learning becomes more creative, but suggest there are affordances of technology which can facilitate creativity, such as provisionality, interactivity and the particular functions of software programs. They point to research that has identified that whilst technology can promote creativity, what is important is not using technological tools for their own sake, but to pursue meaning-making in projects that enable pupils to develop their ideas over time, with opportunities to both complete carefully structured tasks and engage in open-ended experimentation.
This approach is also advocated in a Futurelab review of research on the relationship between technology and creativity (Loveless, 2007). Loveless suggests that in considering how technologies might support creativity, we can consider ‘clusters’ of purposeful activities, outlined in the table below.
Table 1: Clusters of purposeful activities with digital technologies for learning (Loveless 2007:7)
|Knowledge building||Adapting and developing ideas
Representing understanding in multimodal and dynamic ways
|Distributed cognition||Accessing resources
Finding things out
Writing, composing and presenting with mediating artefacts and tools
|Community and communication||Exchanging and sharing communicationExtending the context of activity
Extending the participating community at local and global levels
|Engagement||Exploring and playing
Acknowledging risk and uncertainty
Working with different dimensions of interactivity
Responding to immediacy
Knowledge Building theory was developed by Scardamalia & Bereiter (2003) and is very much focussed on group discussion and collaboration to create knowledge. Scardamalia describes groups working in this way as communities of learners with a shared and collective responsibility for improving their collective knowledge. Knowledge building theory supports current educational practice in classrooms where discussion, collaboration are often seen essential components in terms of digital practices.
Distributed cognition is a concept originally developed by Hutchins and colleagues in the US in the 1980s to counter previous notions that cognition is an individual activity (Hutchins, 1995). Hutchins identified that cognitive activities extend beyond individuals and involve people thinking and learning alongside others, a process also referred to as’ intersubjectivity’.
Community and Communication
Davies and Merchant (2009) identify, blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 sites as facilitating authentic purposes for communication with individuals and groups external to classrooms in ways which were limited before the digital age.
When children are able to take risks and accept uncertainty, such approaches enable them to experiment without needing to commit to specific outcomes. This sort of approach can enhance levels of pupils’ engagement in learning tasks, as identified in the ‘Digital Beginnings’ (Marsh et al., 2005) project, in which the Leuven Engagement Scale was used to determine children’s levels of engagement before and during tasks that involved media and new technologies. Levels of engagement can impact on the breadth and depth of learning and projects have identified how classroom activities that promote creative uses of technologies can have positive impacts on attainment (e.g. Marsh and Bearne, 2008).
References: see 3.2.3 References / Links to Further Resources