A decade ago a revolution started in education. In June 2006 Sir Ken Robinson asked this question, “Do schools kill creativity?”. This short talk has become the most popular of all time with close to 40 million views. The message resonated and he concluded, “and our task is to educate their [the students’] whole being, so they can face this future. By the way – we may not see this future, but they will. And our job is to help them make something of it.”

Revolutions usually begin with a tension for change and an event to galvanise the hearts and minds of the people. This talk and the other merging voices of the time seemed to be able to put language around what many educators were thinking in the first decade of the 21st century. We started to think about the place where learning occurred and the language shifted from ‘classrooms’ to ‘learning environments’ or ‘learning spaces’. Educators seemed to be asking: “How can we create a learning culture that encourages creativity in schools designed in the last century?” But what about those elements of education that reflected an era past? Terms such as “Cells and bells”, “Factory model” and “Industrial era design” began to describe the school experience that didn’t fit the 21st century.

In 2010 the release of the iPad opened the enormous potential of mobile technology. Technology at this point was primarily fixed, located in computer labs, with desktop computers tethered by hardware and cables. i pads, ubiquitous WiFi and the increasing mobility impacted the design of the learning spaces. Alongside this technological disruption the role of the teacher started to change, with language describing the teacher’s role as ‘coach’ and ‘facilitator’, and the phrase, ‘the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage’ was often heard. In the context of these disruptors, and the many unmentioned, it is worth considering how has the educational context advanced, responding to the call to action from Sir Ken Robinson ten years ago.Do schools kill creativity today?

  1. Are your students risk takers? If they don’t know will they “have a go”?
  2. Are you allowing students to be artists?
  3. Does success at the so-called “top end” of the hierarchy of subjects still determine academic ability?
  4. Is the education we are providing meaningful or meaningless for the future?

Have we recast our view of intelligence sufficiently diverse, dynamic and distinct? I’d love to hear about how you see the connection between school and creativity today. Let me know. Join the conversation on Twitter @anneknock #creativitylives