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Creative learners, creative teachers

The creativity & games in education summer school in Crete from June 30 to July 5, 2013

Chris Walsh

on 15 June 2016

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Transcript of Creative learners, creative teachers

The University of Vienna
Dr. Christopher Walsh


'Movin' on: Stories of immigration': New York City, USA
'Game-o-Rama': Melbourne Australia
Teaching for possibility thinking
Possibility Thinking is the engine for asking 'what if'? – it means translating ‘what is this?’ to ‘what can I or we do with this?’

Possibility Thinking also involves engaging in 'as if' thinking and activities for teachers and students
'What if' & 'As if' thinking
"Fostering student creativity requires a clear and direct focus on the students themselves. Teaching for creativity, then, involves teachers ‘standing back’ to allow students to ‘step forward’: it is their creativity which is centre-stage. "(Craft, 2010)
Creative partnerships
Space to play digital games individually and collaboratively
Space to experience digital art installations
Artist in residence to collaborate
Space for a virtual exhibition
Australian Centre for the
Moving Image (ACMI)
Dia Art Foundation
Maureen designed assignments that required students to research and review games of their choice. In these reviews, the students adapted well to the affordances of multimodal design and authored sophisticated texts with images, digitals and traversal (hyperlinks) to websites within and outside the wiki, digital texts that many of their teachers still lack the literacy proficiencies to design.

The students’ research incorporated the historical background of the game/genre; how the game/genre came to be named; hardware needed to play the game; likely audience for whom the game was produced; the games’ subject, plot or scenario; elements of the game’s design including graphics, textures, and sound effects; features of the game that did not work well; biases evident in the game and how language is used in a game to effectively reach its audience.
In the projects’ final assignment, Maureen asked each student to design their own digital game using Microsoft PowerPoint. The digital games students designed were creative and clever. Most games have multiple levels where success becomes possible through increased levels of difficulty. Their designs are interactive, with well developed storylines and high quality student designed and imported graphics.

'As if' activity: students as designers
E-democracy development that disrupts asymmetrical power relations
(textbook publishing and educational web content)
Both examples give young people the freedom to imagine new social positions and identities for themselves. This gives them the power to create new ideas and possibilities.

In both examples, we see the interrelationship between identity and creativity cyclically completed as they feed each other through the embodied process of becoming (Chappell et. al, 2012) through their possibility thinking (Craft, 2010).

The students become different then they were before, they have the creative knowledge to reject discourses--with the 'know how' of transforming them--through their digital literacy practices (Walsh, 2009)
Journeys of becoming

Creativity that is wise and disrupts asymmetrical power relations (textbook publishing and educational web content).
In the previous example, the students possess a wise, humanising creativity that is ‘grounded in a reciprocal relationship between the collaborative generation of new ideas and identities, fuelled by dialogues between the participants and the world outside… an antidote to marketised and individualised creativity, to the performativity agenda and to notions of childhood at risk’ (Chappell, Craft, and Gardner 2008, 9). They are both possibility thinkers and designers who are guided by ethical action and mindful of its consequences.

The teachers as designer's pedagogical practice is ‘rigorous, risky and empowering…. [offering] far greater shared hope for the future than the competitive sink or swim mentality which currently pervades our education system’ (Chappell, Craft, and Gardner 2008, p. 9).
Rewriting history texts: teacher and student as co-designers
“This learning project is not about playing computer games in school. It is about interacting with them as a resource that can teach students about their world through virtual worlds. It involves a dynamic classroom environment in which students work individually and collaboratively to engage, explore, explain, extend, evaluate and celebrate their work.”
-Maureen, Year 7 Teacher

Centred around the “Game-O-Rama” wiki
'What if I made digital games central to my English curriculum?'
Students challenged ways their ethnic identities were positioned through the multimodal redesign of school history textbooks & publishing these online
Cartoons talking back to racism
Wise Humanising Creativity (WHC)
These teachers and students (as designers) harnesses possibility thinking to engage in and co-construct possible futures--through journeys of becoming--to challenge some current assumptions about life on planet Earth (Craft, 2012)

In these quiet revolutions, children and young people are encouraged and valued in working together to have ideas and see these through. This are high trust environments offering an
empowering, creative experience of learning characterised by a sense of relevance, ownership of the learning, control over ideas and opportunities to innovate
Why 'quiet revolutions?"
Students inserted their cartoons within existing educational websites using HTML and Flash in an online art exhibit at the Dia Center in New York City.
Collaboration with a local private museum
'What if I encourage students to question the authority of their history textbooks?'
Students then explored questions of Chinese-American and immigrant identities through a discourse analysis of history textsbooks & primary documents.
I designed the curriculum in ways that required students to research Chinese immigration, initially through visuals. This was an attempt to change both the text and experience of schooling by moving away from relying on the history textbook, while making teaching and learning relevant both to students’ lifeworlds and our location in Chinatown.
Possibility Thinking involves the transition from what is to what might be, through
‘what if?’ and ‘as if’ thinking
This is possible through the creation of high trust, social environments permeated by digital media (Craft, 2012)
Teachers who guide
Actively stand back
Offer time and space
Value student agency
(Cremin et al 2006)

Possibility Thinking
It can be expressed through seven features of individual, collaborative and communal engagement (Craft et al. 2012):

being Imaginative &

'As if activities'
New dialogic spaces for playing and learning!
‘Not a Chinaman’s chance’ narrates the story of Lao who hears rumours of Gum San (Golden Mountain) from his friend. ‘I’m going to be rich!’ he exclaims to his family as he quickly sells off everything he has to buy a ticket to a foreign land. A deceived Lao ignores the dangers that lie ahead. He is convinced he will get rich. Upon arrival in California, he hears ‘not a Chinaman’s chance’, yet Lao did not give up. After arduous manual labour Lao realises there never was a Gum San and he asks himself, "why did I leave China?"

Jack’s cartoon interrupts the all too common success stories of immigration rampant in U.S. history textbooks. These stories tend to cover up the hardships, discrimination and racism non-northern European immigrants faced and still experience.
'As if activities'
'As if' activity: teacher as designer
'As if' activity: teacher as designer
'As if' activity: student as designer
'As if activity'
Possibility Thinking: individual, collaborative & communal
Possibility Thinking: individual, collaborative & communal
creative learners, creative teachers
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