In a 2019 report, Deloitte found that creative skills are one of the four key work skills that will characterize the future workplace that people born during the late 90s and onwards, commonly known as Gen Zs, will enter. After all, Gen Zs are mostly children born into a world of digital devices. They are unable to imagine a world that does not constantly innovate, create, and explore new technologies.
Apart from that, creativity is essential to children’s cognitive development. Not only does it promote joy and understanding, it also motivates children to pursue goals. Creativity is a skill that allows children to connect disciplines and ideas therefore enhancing their learning experience. Unfortunately, a 2017 research found that students show less creativity in school than outside of school.
At present, the Digital Kids Asia-Pacific (DKAP) survey found that 15-year-old students in Bangladesh, Fiji, Republic of Korea, and Viet Nam were least confident about their competencies in Digital Creativity and Innovation in comparison to other digital citizenship domains. What can education systems do to address this finding in view of the future needs of the market?
The internet has provided children with plenty of platforms to explore and express their creativity. From blogging – which started as a personal platform for self-expression and has now evolved into monetized self-expression for many – to open-sourced design tools – children can design, share stories, and collaborate with others through the internet.
Creativity and Child Development
Before a child learns to share content through Information and Communications Technology (ICT) platforms such as blogs, videos, and photos, she must first be exposed to creativity. Promoting creativity in early childhood education allows children to discover new ideas and process their thoughts in a resourceful and imaginative way.
Parents and teachers may provide children with opportunities to express their creativity through color, music, dance, and the like. Adults may also encourage creativity in a child by allowing them to share their creative work and showing appreciation to each child’s unique creative output.
Internet and Creativity in Education
A recent study on digital creativity explores how technology can develop creativity in a child’s early learning environments, especially in the aspect of digital creativity. The increase in popularity of digital developments such as video games allows children to acquire both play and learning, and with the mastery of digital technology, children are presented with more platforms to express themselves.
The study found that the proper integration of technology in the learning environment gives children the opportunity to develop social interaction and collaboration. Educators must guide children who interact using technology and highlight how this integration forms playful play structures for both the student and her peers.
Digital Creativity and Innovation
Digital Creativity and Innovation reflects one’s ability to explore and express herself creatively by creating content through ICT tools. With creative literacy, they are able to use ICT tools to create, adapt, or curate digital content. The DKAP report explains that “it corresponds with both generating entirely new information and building upon a given set of information to generate new understanding.”
There is a wide range of opportunities for children to express their creative literacy through ICT. Currently, various organizations are extending efforts to foster children’s creativity in technology education. For example, Google for education has made available resources and tools to inspire creativity and encourage learning through digital tools. In the Philippines, DigiBayanihan aims to empower Filipinos by providing open access digital tools to use, create, and capitalize on. To also address the gender gap in technology, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has also established an International Girls in ICT Day to empower young women to pursue a career in ICT. They provide a platform for young girls to explore ICT tools, such as workshops that will allow them to discover that technology is about creativity and collaboration.
Fostering creativity in technology education also means that teachers are trained in ICT themselves. UNESCO’s ICT Competency Framework for Teachers outlines teacher competencies for effective knowledge creation as well as appropriate activities that they could also do in the classroom. For example, UNESCO recommends devising a set of activities that would require students to work together in coming up with a digital product. Through similar activities, teachers can encourage student self-management and collaborative learning, all while fostering their creativity and digital skills.
Creativity is an attribute that must be developed by children in the early stage of their lives. Parents and teachers must expose children to activities and practices wherein they apply their skills and hone their creativity. Beyond these practices, children must also learn to apply creativity in ICT tools. Programs such as Photoshop and PowerPoint allow children to make digital content and apply their creativity. More than these programs, there are many other ways for individuals to express themselves and apply creative literacy such as blogs, photos, and YouTube videos.