Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creativity and Time

It has been a good week of conversation.  I have been working with teachers to develop an introductory experience for a new 9th grade program starting in September.  The conversation was instigated by the Sol Lewitt exhibit at MASS MoCA a few of us had the chance to see.  Also, as prior posts revealed, I have spent a considerable amount of time this summer reading about Design Thinking and the creative process.  In my last post I shared several resources related to design.  Personally, exchanges this week have been inspiring with the promise of what could be achieved come September.

 There is one resource I failed to include in my last post that has influenced our discussions.  It is a short two minute video on Youtube about the relationship between creativity and time.  In the video, a classroom of students are given the task of drawing an image.  Each student is provided with a semi-constructed image (sort of resembles a clock) before they start.  They have to work of the semi-constructed image to create their own piece.  In the first set kids are provided ten seconds to create an image.  In the second set students are granted ten minutes to complete the task.  The difference between what was produced in ten seconds and the images displayed after ten minutes is stark.  It was apparent that students, when provided with more time to think, reflect and work, produced images that were more detailed and precise.  Additionally, at the end of the ten minute segment, there was greater diversity between the finished products.  The ten second set resulted in artistic outcomes that were strikingly similar, but a wider range of interpretations existed at the conclusion of the ten minute period.  The task assigned to students was simple, but outcomes from the experiment captured in this short video highlights how time is a significant factor in fostering creativity energies.

Creativity and inventive thinking is not something that could be rushed or boxed into a specific time frame.  Yes, to an extent the professional world operates under a set of deadlines, but deadlines in schools are compressed and often rush a finished product to the table.  One could wonder how this video would be interpreted or compared against commentary about the need to "get through the curriculum" or the pressure to finish a certain unit by Winter Break.  In a larger context,  I see that this video pushes back against standardized testing and the onset of the Common Core.  Is there going to be more stress and anxiety over preparing students for standardized exams?  Will this result in restricting the amount of time students have to engage in the design loop?  Further, it does not make sense to rush the creative process.  Solving problems through creative and inventive thinking takes time.  I can't see anyone arguing against this reality.  Is this a skill we want to rush? Considering the current and potential complex problems the global community faces, we will need to rely on generations of innovative thinkers.

I embedded the video below.  Again, it is only two minutes of your time.  I would recommend watching the video and reflect upon the message revealed through the experiment and what it means for students and in regards to instructional design.