Why Create?

No student in the history of the world has ever been excited about a worksheet. And making that worksheet digital and having students fill it out on an iPad or a Chromebook or any other piece of technology does not make the worksheet engaging. 

So if we know this, how can we assess what students know without giving them a worksheet? Ask them to create something!

I recently read The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros. George defines innovation as "a way of thinking that creates something new and better." The ability to innovate is a skill organizations everywhere are looking for. In the book, George talks about the eight characteristics of the Innovator's Mindset. These are characteristics that teachers and administrators need to have but we must also foster these characteristics in our students. This sketchnote by Sylvia Duckworth illustrates these eight characteristics beautifully. 


Creators is one of the characteristics of the Innovator's Mindset. George includes a quote from The Center for Accelerated Learning. It reads in part, "Learning is creation, not consumption. Knowledge is not something a learner absorbs, but something a learner creates." George points out that while we have access to copious amounts of information, we must focus on creation rather than consumption. Students are great consumers of information. We need them to be great creators! As George so eloquently states, "Creating something helps make a personal connection to the information -- an important key for deeper learning." 

So I encourage you to ditch the worksheets. Maybe not all at once but slowly move from worksheets to creation projects. Look at the worksheet and ask yourself, "What information is this worksheet asking my students to know?" And then have your students show what they know in another form. Have them make a Canva or a Tackk or a ThingLink or use Hstry or PicMonkey to demonstrate their understanding of the topic. You don't have to know the ins and outs of these tools. You are not teaching the tool, you are assessing your students' knowledge of the subject. You are the expert in your subject matter. You do not have to be the expert in the tool!