I borrowed my mantra, “working at the edge of my incompetence” from Elliot Eisner and PLENK 2010 has given it a whole new meaning. Exploring creativity and connectivism is one of my goals for the course so that’s a good thing.
I thrive when I work at the edge. It’s scary, crazy fun, and I never feel more creative. There’s nothing like the thinker’s high or flow.
I think it all has to do with the disequilibrium that chaos creates and having the confidence to embrace it and work your way out of the maze. In Newsweek’s recent creativity expose (Sept. 13), “The Creativity Crisis,” I learned a new term for this – “creative self-efficacy.”
George Siemens (2010, August) has made a connection between creativity and chaos: “Creativity generates a bit of chaos.”
I think a bit of chaos generates creativity, too.
We reward convergent thinking in formal education and students learn to play it safe. Well, because teachers are conditioned to play it safe, too.
I try to create a bit of chaos in my courses and often technology is really helpful for accomplishing this. Seriously. Producing bookcasts (video responses to books), holding book clubs and class seminars in Second Life are examples of my attempts to teach creativity. I currently use VoiceThread rather than forums and my students create mini-podcasts in response to our readings. Hearing the performances “really warms up what would otherwise be a rather sterile space” as one student wrote.
I’m been pleased to see in the ClassEvals that almost all of my students feel that their creativity has been nourished in the course and that they feel more confident in nourishing their students’ creativity. Those who don’t, I suspect, have still not forgiven me for “not having everything” in one place.
I’m ready to move into a more open learning environment for my students and just hope there will be the time (a concern of Couros, “Developing Personal Learning Networks for Open and Social Learning,” chapter in book you can download) for students to ride the chaos out and begin to develop their own personal learning environments. I’ll attempt to design the course so that there will be the time for “discovery and recovery” that Maxine Greene (1978) encourages: “Learning must be a process of discovery and recovery in response to worthwhile questions rising out of conscious life in concrete situations.”
I think PLENK 2010 is all about discovery and recovery. Bring on the chaos!