11 Innovative Ideas to Bring Creativity Back to the Classroom

During Social Media week this year, a challenge called No Right Brain Left Behind was launched, calling on individuals and organizations across creative industries to submit ideas to that would help kids in school to develop the thinking abilities necessary to solve 21st century problems. Participating organizations had 5 days to come up with products, tools, processes and anything else that may be useful in helping children develop their divergent thinking skills, among other overlooked aptitudes. Out of hundreds of awesome ideas, 11 were selected to be a part of the shortlist.

PSFK summed the ideas up well, so I’ll borrow their descriptions:

Let’s Go, conceived by DraftFCB Chicago is a platform that invites children, parents, and teachers to think of success in an entirely new way. Using a research based approach rather than a tactical one, the aim is to create a social movement where support is part of the value system for success.

The idea developed by 180 Los Angeles is CloudRoom, a virtual classroom, allowing educators to contribute their technique and coursework to a class in the clouds by extending their curriculum and reach to students nationwide.

No Right Brain Left Behind Meets Top Chef is the submission from EnergyBBDO/Proximity Chicago. The team presents a reality show concept that engages both contestants and the entire country by bringing lessons back to every classroom with television as the awareness driver.

The Stand-Up Desk by The Bucket Brigade promotes creative discussion through the redesign of a classroom desk. Flipping the teacher-student dynamic, the desk features a whiteboard top so each student can lead class discussion, share an idea, or present a sketch.

The Kings & Queens of Creativity concept presented by Hyper Island Stockholm is a three-phase contest where schools become virtual castles and children are encouraged to think critically to solve real world problems by addressing them in an original way.

The Class Cloud Project by Conifer Research focuses on an inclusive, open-source approach to helping 5th and 6th graders use what they learn during the school day through experiential learning in their own community, empowering students to think in more open-ended ways.

The idea submitted by frog design is 15 Minutes to Change the World. The team devised quick activity cards based on Edward de Bono’s lateral thinking exercises that foster creative problem solving in the classroom, are easy to implement, and only take 15 minutes.

The Creative Corps [V2] envisioned by Redscout is an organization where thought leaders and artists volunteer at low income schools to foster students’ individual passions and talents, and give them opportunities to develop real-world entrepreneurial skills via an on-site ‘Creative Shop’.

Nodes, a concept developed by Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles is a software which allows both students and teachers to view the relationship between divergent topics through a simple interface where uses enter a search term and data points populate the screen for easy exploring.

Gold Star 2.0 by Team One El Segundo re-imagines the reward system in education. The reinvention of the gold star with badges provides a fresh way of incentivizing achievement by encouraging collaboration and problem-solving, as the badges require successful completion of a challenge.

ImproviNation was created by frog design and offers a new approach to curriculum that is steeped in the mastery of storytelling and improvisation. At its core the idea encourages learners to create unique, relevant ideas, to effectively communicate those ideas and to seed ideas in others.

The team of judges at NRBLB (including Sir Ken Robinson, Daniel Pink, Piers Fawkes and others) will be selecting the top three concepts and implementing them in select schools around the US in 2011 and 2012.  I felt compelled to post on this for two reasons.  First, the overwhelmingly positive reception that I received about my post Sir Ken Robinson and The Future of Education a couple weeks back, is proof that education is an important topic that needs addressing.  Secondly, I had the opportunity to submit ideas with The Bucket Brigade and, surprisingly enough, my idea for the Stand-Up Desk was selected for the shortlist you see before you.  I couldn’t be more thrilled to have even a sliver of my thinking among this list of incredible ideas.  I do tend to gravitate towards the ideas that are extremely simple, cost-effective and don’t interfere with the existing curriculum.  Kudos to everyone who participated and I’ll keep you all posted on the results.

[Image via woodleywonderworks]


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