Create, Create, Create!

I have had many a conversation about students’ ability to consume digital content vs. creating digital content.  Which do you think students are better at? I’ve always leaned toward consumption over creation. They use Google, social media, and other online places to intake great amounts of information, but how often are students actually contributing something back for others to benefit from? How many times do we ask students to go grab this or that bit of information from the web or go to YouTube and watch this video or that video? Is it possible that we’re proverbially “stuck” in our education system because we don’t give our students enough opportunities to create and in turn share their creation? I’m not saying that students creating “stuff” is going to be the magic that fixes everything, but what if it could be? Should there be more of a conscious effort to give plenty of choices for our students to be creative with that information they find for this project (homework, assignment, etc.) or that project?

There’s certainly no shortage of information that’s produced for you and I and our students to learn from. We teach our children, students, and each other to “pay it forward” in face to face spaces, but should we do the same in online spaces too?

These are just some thoughts I had bouncing around after coming across this video: 29 Ways to Stay Creative. It’s certainly not exclusive to the digital world, it even reminds us to step away from all things digital from time to time. It just reminded me that we need to have our students see the value in creating something not only as a way to express ourselves, but possibly to the benefit of others as well.

Thank you for reading.

[vimeo w=400&h=225]


16 thoughts on “Create, Create, Create!”

  1. Insightful post Kyle. Just a few days ago a friend and I were discussing that same idea of how a lot of us consume a lot more than we create. Personally, I think it turned out that way for me early on and I’m only just starting to explore what I can create and why. The idea of providing students with choices and opportunities to be creative with information is right on point! Perhaps it may not fix everything but it will get students (and more educators) involved with sharing, collaborating, critical thinking and self-reflections.

  2. Interesting stuff, Kyle — and stuff that is resonating with me right now.

    You know, when I started working in digital spaces 6 years ago, I regularly preached about the fact that creation was possible no matter how many computers/devices you had in your classroom.

    “I’ve only got 3 working computers in my room,” I’d argue. “That’s not keeping ME from introducing content creation to kids.”

    But here I am 6 years later and I’m down to 2 working computers in my classroom. Worse yet, the computers in our lab are never updated — 28 of 32 were running old versions of Flash the last time I took a class there — and the computers on our laptop carts are a wreck. Most have buttons ripped off. None have working batteries.

    Finally, our district STILL has rules against students bringing their own devices to school — so even though we’ve got TONS of wireless capacity, the only wireless devices are the one teacher laptop in each classroom.

    So I’ve gotten to the point where calls for more creation in the classroom ring hollow to me.

    Conceptually, I’m there.

    I just don’t have the energy to continue pushing against the pitiful digital circumstances that I’m working in.

    Any of this make sense?

    1. Bill,
      I feel your pain. If our school districts don’t keep up with the demands of upgrading or replacing old and worn-out equipment, then how do they expect their teachers to become (or in some cases remain) 21st educators. Like so much of what innovative educators have to do, they now have to find a way to keep their equipment current, through grant writing etc. One day maybe our school boards will understand instead of dumping money on untested new programs, update the hardware and let teachers and students make use of all the free resources that are available to them if they having a working Internet ready device.

      Hoping 2012 brings you some new hardware.

    2. Hey Bill! I always appreciate your comments very much. Thanks for this. I have no doubt that you’re frustrated. I would be too and this is something I know rings true with a lot of teachers I work with. Teachers desperately want to venture into content creation with technology with their students, however, it can’t happen if edtech has not been given proper priority by district and/or building level leadership. While we know it’s impossible to always have the latest and greatest, it’s not impossible to plan for upgrades and enhancements to what we already have. We have been a fully wireless district too for quite some time, and for most of that time it has also been solely for teacher laptops. Thankfully though our wireless network has been expanded and enhanced for the use of iPads and more laptop carts. We’ve also got some BYOD/1:1 stuff coming down the pike hopefully. I don’t say all this to boast, but it just makes me appreciative of the vision that our leadership has in my district. You said, “I just don’t have the energy to continue pushing against the pitiful digital circumstances that I’m working in.” I don’t blame you one bit, it shouldn’t be your energy getting spent on this! You have middle school students that you already put enough energy towards (I know teaching middle school takes a TON of energy!). 🙂

  3. I am wanting to post this on my art website, if that is OK with you? I preach a lot to my students about creating in the art room and in the lab for exploratory class time. Making mistakes to learn is my moto. Thanks for making the video. Which program did you use? Power Point or Prezi? Animoto is another great online video builder as well.


    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for your comment. Just wanted to clarify the video was not created by me. Credit, however, is given to the author right underneath the video.


  4. I couldn’t agree more. A year ago
    I had this conversation with my students. It is evident that they prefer doing/creating to consuming. Prosumers. I do believe, as you say, that we are “stuck” in that model of using tech to “go get.” As we ask our students to create more, engagement will increase. The idea of what we are asking students to do with their knowledge and skills is what common core is all about as it will better prepare them for their future-competition and collaboration in a global marketplace. The challenge for educators is to did this meaningful, purposeful, relevant creative tasks and projects.

  5. Hi Kyle,
    This is what I want to do more of in the New Year with my students. From August to December I taught them how to be good consumers of content found online. Now I’d like to shift to helping them learn how to be creators of content. Thanks for sharing the video. Great starting point, that I will use with my students.

    1. Hi Paula! Thanks so much for reading and for your comment. I agree with you that it is also important to teach our students to digitally locate and consume information on the web. I would add to that the importance of curating the information once it’s located. Finding the really good stuff is huge, and then saving it and organizing it in a meaningful way is essential. So perhaps we need a model of “Consume, Curate, Create”?

      Happy New Year! Hope to see you soon.

  6. Hi Kyle,
    I think many of us face this challenge and I’m glad you addressed it and posted the video. Recently I had to be an emergency sub in fourth grade. The kids were great consumers but had no real idea how to create and were very caught up in grades.
    I introduced them to my writer’s notebook and how I noticed things. They were in awe of how something so simple could help them. I left them with the knowledge that being a good observer of what is around you helps you to be a creative writer.
    Thanks again for all of your great contributions.

    1. Hi JoAnn!
      Thanks so much for sharing your story. I used to teach 4th grade. 🙂 Some pretty powerful stuff can happen when we give students more freedom to create (and many times they don’t even realize they’re being assessed at the same time). It can especially be powerful when kids know they’re creating something for a much larger audience than their teacher, classroom, or family. Like I said to Paula, kids do need to know how to gather, consume, and curate what’s out there. I just think all too often we don’t give them enough space to create awesome stuff with the info they’ve collected.
      Thank you again! Happy New Year!

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