Tips and inspiring practice in fostering creativity

27th February 2004 at 00:00
Learning and Teaching Scotland's Creativity in Education website will look familiar to any teachers who visit its other web pages. The colourful pictures of pupils' work illustrate its upbeat mood.

The site aims to celebrate creativity in education and is based on the 2001 publication of that title compiled by LT Scotland and the IDES Network.

There are five main sections - understanding, nurturing, implications, links and case studies - plus a link to Scottish Schools Online, and the sections contain a number of sub-sections. The site is unfussy and easy to navigate, not too wordy and has lots of bullet points. Navigation can be sequential or erratic.

In the "Understanding" section on describing creativity, arrow icons allow you to flick through several bullet points, one at a time, without the rest of the page changing. (I would have liked to see an indication of how many bullet points there are in total.) In the "Implications" section, "Facing up to the Challenge" begins with a quote that changes every 10 seconds, which is a very clever and creative way of presenting more information in a little space. The content does not pull any punches. It poses a wider challenge by concluding with two questions relating to the nature and purpose of education in general:what is the contribution that education can and should be making to the development of learners? and what is the contribution education can and should be making to the development of a kind of society we aspire to for the future?

These robust questions contributed to the birth of the IDES Network, which aims to to raise the profile of technology, design and enterprise through the exchange of ideas. We should be continually reflecting on the questions in professional dialogue. Perhaps a forum for this might appear on the website in the future.

The "Links" section has a diverse international range, including the First Minister's St Andrews Day speech, the British Council (UK and Europe projects) and the Creative Classroom Project, a collaboration between Project Zero and the Disney Learning Partnership (free resources available).

There are 20 case studies from all educational sectors available to download, with good ideas. For example, "Creativity Colleagues" has lots on collaborative group work and thinking skills. "Creativity at Work" features uplifting comments from college staff about being a teacher and students about the value of being nurtured. Lots of quotes from participants convey their enthusiasm for their involvement, and there is plenty of discussion around fostering creativity.

In keeping with the spirit of the IDES Network - "Creativity is not the work of art, it is the art of work" - LT Scotland has developed a user-friendly, informative site for teachers. I spent more than two hours surfing it. I will return.

Maggie Clark

Maggie Clark is principal teacher for learning support at Oban High

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