Creativity & Innovation Weeks 14-15

Week 14: Teaching Creativity through Multimedia Production


Log into the OneNote Class Notebook for your section to access the Peer Team Teaching Planning Guide for this week.

Why Teach Creativity? 

Csikszentmihalyi (2006) noted “creativity is no longer a luxury for the few, but . . . a necessity for all” (p. xviii). The world of education appears to agree, as a variety of 21st Century Learning Skills have included concepts such as “thinking and problem-solving skills,” “inventive thinking,” “high productivity,” “using digital technology and communication tools,” and “learning academic content through real-world examples” in their standards. In Tough Choices or Tough Times from the National Center on 
Education and the Economy, McWilliam (2008) explained “the 21st century is a world in which comfort with ideas and abstractions is the passport to a good job, in which creativity and innovation are the keys to the good life, in which high levels of education – a very different kind of education than most of us have had – are going to be the only security there is” (p. 67). As teachers, how can we bring this "very different kind of education" to our classrooms? Multimedia production in the classroom offers significant opportunities for students' creative expression. 

Multimedia Production

Multimedia Content in the classroom:
Now that we've learned about teaching, developing, and assessing Creativity, let's explore one method of allowing students to express theirs--through producing new multimedia content. This week, each of you will produce an educational video! As you work on this project, think about using multimedia as a teacher (instruction) and as a student (sharing knowledge).
Consider the following questions:
How can multimedia technologies best be used to improve student learning?

  • How can teachers and students make their own classroom digital video productions?
  • What is digital storytelling?

Using Multimedia Technologies to Improve Student Learning
Combining multiple media - text, voice, data, still image, video -- in a single application of technology can help students learn better since they are receiving information in more than one form. Research shows that students learn best in situations that involve multimedia, simulations, modeling, and student-to-student interaction. Interaction is the key when teaching with multimedia. Consider the following examples:
Classroom A
Classroom B
A chemistry teacher shows a video of an experiment and then has students conduct the experiment individually.
A biology teacher connects his class with marine biologists on the Journey North online project where they can ask expert biologists questions, track migration patterns using data provided from around the globe, and collect their own local evidence of spring migration. Student groups produce video documentaries of migration patterns.
An English teacher shows a DVD of poets reading poetry aloud and gives the students a test over their knowledge of different poetry styles.
An English teacher has students select their favorite video of a poet reading his/her own work on They create a new video of the same poem with the student reading and selected creative commons images to illustrate their interpretation of the poem.
At the end of the school year, a 1st grade teacher is pleased with how well her students are reading.
A 1st grade teacher has students record each other reading aloud at the beginning, middle and end of year. Parents are sent the edited videos showing their children's progress.
In which of these scenarios do you believe you would learn better, Classroom A or B? As a teacher, you would probably enjoy Classroom B a great deal more as well!  The key to successful student multimedia projects is allowing them to share their creativity--don't give them too many rules or procedures. Give them creative freedom and let them surprise you!
Video Production in the Classroom
There are three distinct phases to the video production process:
  1. Pre-production & storyboarding: idea generation; research; location ideas (interior/exterior); script writing; create a shot list; gather crew, talent (family, friends, & roommates will love being in your video!), equipment, props
  1. Production - shoot everything on your shot list, record all audio needed
  1. Post-production - editing, creating graphics, finalizing
There are some excellent online tools to walk your students through each of these processes!
Your video will need to be educational--the list below offers some basic ideas for having your students move from media consumers to media producers:
Ideas for Video Production Assignments
  • "A Day in the Life . . . " video
  • advocacy for a social concern
  • biographies
  • career profiles
  • community history
  • conversation with "future you"
  • documentary
  • fable or fairy tale retelling
  • field trip doumentation
  • "how to" video
  • introduction or orientation
  • investigative
  • "movie trailers" for books
  • news and social events
  • news cast
  • plot synopsis in 60 seconds
  • public service announcements
  • skits and spoofs
  • stop motion animation
  • television commercials
  • travel and tourism
  • video pen pals
  • video report

Tips & Tricks for Filming in the Classroom
(adapted from
  1. Hold the camera with two hands to keep it steady. Suggest that you videographer lean against a wall, desk or chair
  1. Wait a few seconds after pressing the "record" button to start talking
  1. Make sure the microphone is on the camera
  • Stay close to the source of the sound
  • Be conscious of the noise going on in the background
  1. Take short clips
  • Avoid running the camera for several minutes at a time
  • Try to have "logical" breaks between clips: a new question, new topic
  1. Take both close ups as well as "panorama" shots
  • Move in and out to achieve close ups and far away shots
  • Try not to use the zoom - it can make the footage fuzzy
  1. Don't film against a sunny window
  1. Know what is in your background
  • Make sure there are no other groups of students shooting in your background
  • Don't film a distracting background
  1. Don't include students who do not have media release permission
  1. Don't identify students by filming something with their first and last name on it

Digital Storytelling
Digital Storytelling is just what it sounds like: telling stories using digital tools, or combining the art of telling a story with multimedia tools and sharing them in a digital space. The plus of bringing digital storytelling into the classroom is that kids are naturally good at storytelling, and it is a practice that fits each content area: science, social studies, math, language arts, physical education, music, etc. Check out some of the great examples from the Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website ( Richard Byrne ( or @rmbyrne) offers this free downloadable book with great examples of real teachers using digital storytelling in their classrooms:

Another great read is The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way To Activate Our Brains

ISTE-T Standards

2. Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
  • Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the ISTE·S.
  • a. Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity
  • b. Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress
  • c. Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources
  • d. Provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching
3. Model Digital Age Work and Learning
  • Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.
  • a. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
  • b. Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation
  • c. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats
  • d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning

Key Terms

digital storytelling
Fair Use Guidelines for educational multimedia


How to Upload Your Video to YouTube 

Examples of videos in previous classes 

Photostory 3

Windows Movie Maker
Kids Vid Storyboard 
Lego Comic Builder
Storyboard That!
Storyboarding apps for writers and multimedia
Bringing Real World Television Production into the Classroom
Story Collider: Stories about Science


Week 15: Project Based Learning


Log into the OneNote Class Notebook for your section to access the Peer Team Teaching Planning Guide for this week.

Teaching and Assessing Creativity

Can creativity be taught? Absolutely! Above you've seen the characteristics associated with creativity, and I'm sure you'll agree these are traits that can be encouraged and developed. This section of the chapter will introduce you to activities to use in the classroom to grow creativity. 

The Torrance test for creativity includes measuring four components of creativity: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration in thinking.  

Component of Creativity  Explanation  Activities to Encourage this Component of Creativity
 Fluency the ability to generate quantities of ideas Name everything you can think of within a specific category (the goal is to generate the longest list)
 Flexibility the ability to create different categories of ideas, and to perceive an idea from different points of view Name all the things you can think of that have a certain characteristic (wheels, for example), or come up with a list of ideas for the perfect bathtub (the goal is create different categories of ideas and perceptions from different points of view)
 Originality the ability to generate new, different, and unique ideas that others are not likely to generate Come up with the most outrageous solution for a particular dilemma (the goal is to come up with the most unique idea)
 Elaboration the ability to expand on an idea by embellishing it with details or the ability to create an intricate plan Take an existing idea and elaborate further (the goal is to embellish the most)

The Gifted Child Today article “Creative Thinking in Schools: Finding the ‘Just Right’ Challenge for Students” provides the following suggestions for teachers trying to incorporate more creativity into their lesson plans:

  • Diversity and large volumes of ideas and work increase the chance for creative outcomes, so encourage students to generate lots of work, and give them the appropriate tools they need to develop this work. Free students from busy work, lots of worksheets, DVD watching, etc. in order to get them working on projects and generating solutions.
  • Teach the value of hard work and discipline in finding solutions, solutions that make sense and aren’t simply nonsensical or impractical. The ability to decipher good ideas from bad ones is an essential part of the creative process, and a skill that also should be taught.
  • Encourage risk taking, and discourage perfectionism. Establish an environment that shows students that sometimes ideas fail, but the effort wasn’t wasted. Ensure that integrity is maintained during successes and failures.
  • Provide strategies for managing group dynamics, such as discussing with groups the possible difficulties that could arise, and how to troubleshoot those situations. Give the students a signal to inform the teacher when they need advice or mediation.
  • Set up a rubric for the final evaluation of projects and assignments. Guidelines, expectations, and goals should be a part of every project.
  • Layer independent study with group study, and give older students the option of working with students in younger grades.
  • Teachers should model creative thinking in how they make decisions, solve problems, and how they approach their instruction and guidance.
  • Encourage divergent thinking by providing students with nonconventional tools and supplies. For example, instead of using traditional art supplies, bring in objects that seem bizarre or out-of-the ordinary, and let kids create with these items.
  • Lessen the amount of extrinsic awards, such as stickers, special privileges, or an emphasis on the final grade. Creativity researchers have shown that extrinsic awards actually reduce creativity. Instead, encourage intrinsic satisfaction by providing all the guidelines, materials, time, and space students need to complete projects and assignments.
  • Allow time for student feedback sessions, and encourage responsible and productive critiques from all students.
  • Show exceptional work in libraries, hallways, even in community buildings and businesses.
  • Teachers that expect great things from students will receive great things.

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning has students creating a product for an authentic audience to solve an authentic problem. 

Project-based learning integrates knowing and doing. Students learn knowledge and elements of the core curriculum, but also apply what they know to solve authentic problems and produce results that matter. PBL students take advantage of digital tools to produce high quality, collaborative products. PBL refocuses education on the student, not the curriculum--a shift mandated by the global world, which rewards intangible assets such as drive, passion, creativity, empathy, and resiliency. These cannot be taught out of a textbook, but must be activated through experience. (Markham 2011)

The keys to project-based learning are students solving authentic problems and producing a product as a solution. Note in Blumenfeld's description below how many of the skills match those discussed above in the section on creativity and innovation. 

Project-based learning is a comprehensive perspective focused on teaching by engaging students in investigation. Within this framework, students pursue solutions to nontrivial problems by asking and refining questions, debating ideas, making predictions, designing plans and/or experiments, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, communicating their ideas and findings to others, asking new questions, and creating artifacts. (Blumenfeld, et al., 1991)

The videos below from Edutopia, Common Craft and Alan November offer a great overview:

An Introduction to Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning Explained

Alan November TED Talk "Who Owns the Learning?"

Critical Components of a Project-Based Learning Experience

  • Need to Know - The idea here is to go WAY beyond "because it's on the test." The entry event can be almost anything: a video, a lively discussion, a guest speaker, a field trip, or a piece of mock correspondence that sets up a scenario. In contrast, announcing a project by distributing a packet of papers or assigning whatever is at the end of the chapter in the textbook is likely to turn students off.
  • Driving Question - A good driving question captures the heart of the project in clear, compelling language, which gives students a sense of purpose and challenge. The question should be provocative, open-ended, complex, and linked to the core of what you want students to learn. It could be abstract (Is all really fair in love and war?), concrete (How safe is the water we drink?), or focused on solving a problem (How can we create an eco-friendly house?). 
  • Student Voice and Choice - The more student voice and choice, the more meaningful to the students! Choice and voice may range from selecting a particular topic from the general topic to choosing from a menu of products, to students making all decisions from topic to resources, to final product. 
  • 21st Century Skills - Collaboration, communication, critical thinking, use of technology, an important purpose
  • Inquiry and Innovation - Students generate additional questions and hypotheses related to the driving question. The classroom culture should value openness to new ideas and new perspectives.
  • Feedback and Revision - The teacher acts as facilitator and coach to give direct feedback and guide students in reflection, self-assessment, and peer assessment.
  • Publicly Presented Project - Presenting to an authentic audience gives students pride.
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