Creativity in schools, where has it gone?

Do schools kill creativity? How can you use digital media to bring creativity alive in your classroom?- that is the question….


I was tasked this week with watching a TED talk.   Tasked is too negative of a word, I love TED talks, so this was a joy.  The ideas, the flow and the humor in which interesting topics are actually present in an interesting manner are a draw for me.  And, I was not disappointed.  I watched Sir Ken Robinson TED talk regarding, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” Ironically, the advertisement that led to the TED talk had an adult crumpling up a little girl’s picture and telling her is was not good enough, thus killing her creativity even before I started the talk.  As I listened to this TED talk, I was blown away.  Ken Robinson states that children do not grow into creativity rather ‘”they grow out of it” (Robinson 2009).   He further explains that academically, we tend to teach from from the head up and more towards the left side, expecting the same outcome for all students, an outcome which, at the minimum, is unrealistic (Robinson, 2009).  Rather than address only the head and its intelligence, educators need to look at the whole child.

I have been a teacher for over 17 years and I have seen the changes that have taken over education.   I have seen talented men and women, good educators leave the field, because they were no longer trusted to perform their craft.  I honestly believe that teaching itself is a creative craft.  Bringing the joys of the left and right side to the students.  But more and more, educational standards are being designed by those without the creativity and skill in the craft of teaching, therefore stifling not only the teacher, but the student.  My daughters are in first and second grade.  They attend an advanced academic school (they are brilliant…no I am not biased!).  Recently, their school piloted a dual Spanish Language program.  They are taught for half of the day in English and half of the day in Spanish.  I originally had no intention of placing them in this program.  Their schooling is already intense, I did not see the point, until I visited the classroom.  The students sing, they dance, they learn culture, create projects, they are always moving!   My younger daughter needs this and my older one thrived on the challenge of a second language.  They sing all the time at home.   My older daughter is writing a book in which her characters are Deaf, Spanish and herself!  My younger one is watching Youtube videos to make crafts that they learned about in class.  I am thrilled that they have this opportunity.  I am saddened that some of their peers do not.

As a teacher, I do not want to stifle the creative side of my students.   I am not creatively minded, I am analytical.   I am the only one in a family of creative people.  They helped me to be aware of the creative needs of those around me.  However, I did not know how to tap the creative minds of my students, since I do not think that way.  Technology has been a great help for me.  It speaks to my analytical mind while allowing my students to be creative in their endeavors.  I have seen success with tools like StoryBoardThat, Powtoon, Tagul and simple Youtube channels.   Recently, some of students created ASL poems regarding their reaction to the memoir Night.    I was blown away.  One student, who is normally all of the place, created the most stunning visual poem.  I do believe that digital media is a way to help get creativity back into the classroom, especially with those educators who are black and white.  Digital Media helps us to see the colors.


T. (2007, January 06). Do schools kill creativity? | Sir Ken Robinson. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

Romeo and Juliet Prezi    (to view as intended, please use the old viewer, not the updated viewer)

Deaf individuals are proud of their heritage and their culture.  Being Deaf is not seen as a limitation, but rather as a point of pride.   But, it is no secret in education circles as well as in education circles, that Deaf individuals often fall behind the achievements of their hearing peers.  Redeafined magazine (2012) explains that Deaf children, unlike their hearing peers are often born as linguistic minorities in their own families.  Unlike hearing children, the Deaf child does not have access to language from birth.  Deaf children are not read to nor can they communicate in a meaningful way.  Finey et. al (2003) have reported that auditory complex in the brain may, when devoid of stimulus, may contribute to enhanced visual input.  Therefore, it makes sense that multi-media infused presentations not only help to make connections that are missing from the auditory, it also helps to develop a disciplined and synthesizing mind.  As sources of information are coming at the student quicker and from various sources, students automatically want to make connections and integration in their worlds/disciplines (Gardner, 2008).   Access to a multimedia presentation helps to students make connections and allows them to begin the process of synthesis.  Additionally, for the population I teach, benefits in making additional neural connections to the material that may not have been previously available.  In previous years, Deaf students were sent to residential schools where they had access to language at all times.  Since the passage of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and the inclusion of least restrictive environment, residential students have seen a decline in population.   Students remain closer to home, attending day schools or their local public schools. While the student has more interaction with their families, the lose the consistent interactions in their own language, American Sign Language (ASL).  As technology increases, educators are able to include sign supported multi-media presentations that students can bring into the home. Technology is making the playing field more even for students who are Deaf and I believe the benefits are just starting to be seen.


Debunking the “Fourth Grade Reading Level” Statistic. (1970, January 01). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from

Gardner, H. (2008). Five minds for the future [Kindle ]. Retrieved March 26, 2017.

Finney, Eva M.; Clementz, Brett A.1; Hickok, Gregory2; Dobkins, Karen R. (2003, August 06). Visual stimuli activate auditory cortex in deaf subjects: ev… : NeuroReport. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from



As the “English Department” for the High School, I need to not only teach my classes and follow state standards for ELA, I also need to help students make connections and applications to their other academic classes.  This eduClipboard not only is a guide for students both inside and outside of my classes, it is a reference for other teachers if they wish to apply research resources within their respective discipline. I picked this topic as it is a standard that encompasses all high school grade levels, for the entire year.  It is applicable for other subjects as well.

Motivational Communication Poster

My classroom is a “voices off” environment, but not all my students are “voices off”.  I have many students who are hard of hearing who can talk.  However, since I have students who cannot speak or have any residual hearing.  Instead of adding to the list of “rules and regulations” that seem to fill our classroom.  Modifying the more important ideals of the classroom to motivational posters is a fun and impactful way to highlight them.   Additionally, it is quick and creative way to demonstrate understanding of a topic.   Posters can be displayed as reminders and points of pride.

PSA and the effects on the parents of today

As a parent of young children, I walk a fine line between the needs of technology and the wants of modern day children.   In order to better understand technology and how it effects/benefits my children, I previewed two public service announcements (PSA) to help me in this endeavor.

The first PSA I viewed, The Essay Movie,  showed the importance of innovation and ideas.   As the young girls in the PSA was brought before more and more people in “authority” who assessed her competence, she never lost sight of her vision of SMART phones, even as a young girl in (what appeared to be) the early 1950’s.  The PSA cleverly addressed those of us who are set in our ways and are able to look outside of the box, to embrace the innovative, the dreamers.  Rather than stifle them, the PSA encourages us to encourage them as one never knows where the next idea will come.  As a parent, I feel that this ad was very effective.   As a parent, I am often quick to judge or slow to come on board to ideas that are out of my realm of understanding.   Using a “flashback” to show the absurdity in the past of a device I cannot do without in the present, effectively woke me up to the idea that the dreams of today are the reality of tomorrow.

The second PSA I watched, We Think, focused on the unifying nature of the internet.  We as a people work together to produce and share our information, creating a world that is open to all.   The PSA felt as if it were targeting like minded people, who believed in the power of the internet and what could be globally.  I was not a fan of this PSA.   I think that there probably was significant information to be presented, yet it was not conveyed in a meaningful way.   The black and white nature, the line drawings to the sleep inducing music, I was not drawn to the message.  I was not engaged as I was with the previous PSA.  I made no personal connections.   I would not watch it again, nor would I probably visit the web site.  I think the wrong platform was chosen to disseminate this material.