Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Welcome to "23 Things". This is a 9 week overview of what WEB 2.0 is really all about.

Some of you have a good idea; but haven't seen a few new tricks. Some of you haven't got a clue and are sick of hearing about all this tech gobbledygook! Whatever your reason for joining, I hope you gain a better understanding of how this concept is changing the way we work, play, and even educate.

If you feel any of the tasks are easy, please offer your help to others. If you are lost, please ask for help. Partnering up with someone on your campus is another great way to work through this. Bane is listed in the group to watch for up-coming tech needs on your school computers. If you have questions, please put them to the group before asking Bane.


  1. Read this blog & find out about the program (only listen to the podcast).
  2. Watch part of or all of this video and comment here on my blog (comments should be at least 3 sentences).


  1. When I first saw this video, I was in the early stages of my Web2.0 journey. Ken Robinson's message about how creativity is bred out of us is exactly what Web2.0 tools are able to correct. These new tools allow students to reach new audiences, network, and express themselves in creative and engaging formats.

  2. First off, the guy needs to become a comedian when he retires from education.

    Second, I agree that creativity, also through classes such as dance and theatre, but mainly, in my opinion, also embedded in other more 'traditional' subjects, needs to be promoted in the classroom.

    In the US, perhaps talented students can go to sports, dance, theatre and art academies, but in the international school circuit, in most cases, you don't have the option of choosing a school that fits a child's strengths and wants.

    It is our duty, therefore, as international school teachers, to attempt to give these 'different' students a chance to express themselves in their preferred modes. I believe that highly interactive technology tools are not the only thing, but are probably the novelty in providing that sort of opportunities.

  3. It was a pleasure to watch Ken Robinson. I agree with his point that creativity should be as important as literacy. I think we do a good job with PYP (and encouraging creativity in students) over here. As they get older, unfortunately, we forget their bodies and pay attention only to the heads. As Ken says, if you are not prepared to be wrong, you won't try it. A very inspirational talk.

  4. Thank you Jennie! This was both entertaining and enlightening. I might even start taking some dance lessons!

  5. I don’t think schools kill creativity. It is better to say that schools teach us boundaries how and where to use our creativity in a culturally acceptable way. Of course, there are different teaching styles, more or less creative. Teachers (and parents) themselves are the ones to think about this and provide children with opportunities for being creative.

  6. Much of the reason why I am drawn to the IB - or more specifically the PYP - is because I think it does a great job of nurturing creativity. Through the PYP, original ideas are rewarded. Students are encouraged (and in some cases specifically taught) to make inquiries and discover connections. At ISB I think we do a great job of devoting significant amounts of time to the arts (certainly more than at any school I have been to). I think it is about balance - preparing students for a world that will value their heads (with an emphasis on one side) by helping them discover the many ways that they are smart.

  7. It was truly a pleasure to watch Ken Robinson. I agree not only with his message that creativity is bred out of us (and with Einstein’s quote: ‘It’s a miracle that creativity survives education’) but with his premise that creativity should be just as essential as literacy. Teachers need to reflect upon this and provide children with opportunities to express their creativity. All too often, though, as students progress through their schooling, teachers tend to focus only on their minds. Creativity needs to be promoted in the classroom. It is our responsibility, as teachers, to at least endeavor to provide all students with the opportunity to express themselves in their preferred styles. The PYP curriculum goes a long way towards fostering creativity in students; highly interactive technology tools are another way of providing this type of opportunity and allowing students to express themselves in creative ways. Thank you Jennie! This was both an entertaining and truly enlightening video.

  8. Ken talks about the hierarchy and focus of educational topics that leads us to be disassociated from everything but a small portion of our heads. As a consequence, many people don't discover their talents until after they have survived their miserable school experiences, if at all. I wish children had more variety of educational options, like the kindergartens that I've read about that are 100% outside.

  9. I enjoyed listening to Ken speak about both education and creativity. One thing that really struck me is the point of making mistakes. This is something I remember from my own education and being afraid to be wrong. I was the quiet student in the back trying not to make eye contact with the teachers up front in each of my classes. This is one thing that I emphasize to my students at the beginning of every year. I share my experience with them and reassure them that they shouldn't be afraid to make a mistake in my class because it's the best way we learn and also there are always more than one answer.

    I believe that teacher's do need to help students reach in and find their talents, and creative values, as well as taking risks in various situations. The Multiple Intelligences is something that I try deliberately to put into all of my lessons and it's amazing the varied responses and intelligence levels you can reach with various students.

    Over Christmas vacation I had the opportunity to experience the U.S. public education system and its requirements for teachers and the way teachers are trained to think. When I went home to see my niece (a first year teacher and certified by the State of Maine, I realized that she was trained to think about standards and benchmarks and units about apples and pumpkins. I asked her a simple question, "What are you trying to get across to your students? What is your big idea?" She realized that she didn't have one and finally came to the conclusion that she wanted them to learn about the culture of DownEast Maine and harvesting as well as life cycles. She was overwhelmed with trying to squeeze in President's Day, inauguration, Valentine's Day, Halloween, Martin Luther King's Day, turkeys, and christmas and every other holiday into her curriculum without even thinking about what the students really needed to know.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I, as an International Educator, have been blessed with experiencing various cultures,ways of thinking, being taught about EAL students, the multiple intelligences, but mostly the way the PYP Program and MYP Program taught me how to search for student's understanding through their ideas and creativity when working through assignments.

    Educating the whole being is what we should be here for (whether we teach overseas or back in our home country), not labeling students at first interaction, but helping students work through their fears of making mistakes, and boosting their intelligence by tapping into their creative capacities.

    Ken was amazing! Very inspirational! Well done ISB for choosing the IB Diploma Program. Our students will be ready for their future. :)

  10. What a communicator! I did not switch off, not at once. There - three sentences!

  11. Thanks Jennie, he is simply excellent! MYP Design Technology is part of Arts, Drama, Dance, ... group and its main goal as I perceive it or want to perceive it is to foster and free students creativity, and teach them how to apply it in a practical and useful way. My concerns are parents and society that they are growing in. We as their teachers can only to a certain extent influence development of their personality and creativity as an integral part of their personality. What we teach them should be understood and reinforced by their parents and their immediate environment if we want to see new creative generations emerging. How do we enlighten parents? Somehow this is where your and Paul’s idea that we talked about the other day seems to be “the way”. Teach them to free their creativity with no fear, and help them teach their parents to do the same? It is definitely worth trying.

  12. Thanks, Jennie. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ken Robinson and desire to hear more! Excellent, thought provoking material and much to reflect upon, as a parent and a teacher. He was quite hilarious as well.

  13. Ken gives an interesting definition of creativity: having original ideas that have value. Like Janice, I was struck by the observation that we stigmatize for making mistakes. One question though... How can teachers enable students to "have original ideas that have value"?

  14. Ok. I did watch this earlier, but didn't comment.

    Initially, I found this man to be exceptionally off-putting. This man made me defense, right from the beginning. I've never been unhappy to be a teacher, I've never felt stigmatized, and overall I've met many incredibly engaging people in this profession.

    I think ISB strongly supports creativity. Many times over the year, I've seen the MS math and sciences classes outdoors, teaching their subjects in new and varied ways. I've never been to a school where the arts got a budget and even grants that were supposed to fund the arts managed to get converted into money for other things.

  15. Hilarious! He had me laughing out loud in my empty classroom!

    I definitely agree that overall our educational systems do breed out creativity in our students.

    However, I think that international schools offer more opportunities for students to express their creativity simply because of the funding, location and demographic of students/teachers.

    Many schools in Canada have classroom teachers teaching the core subjects PLUS art, music, PE/Dance, drama without any specialised experience. Teachers are often over-worked, tired of writing IEPs, dealing with an un-supportive parent community, financial cuts and even teaching to the standardized tests.... When exactly are they supposed to take a breath and encourage student creativity??

    That being said, there are many amazing teachers out there who do appreciate and foster creativity in their students - hopefully they make-up for those who don't...

  16. Excellent video! The man has a point there. I totally see myself as a victim of our public school education.
    In our public schools creativity is not welcome (except, of course, with some teachers), and we are doomed to memorize tons of texts without having the practical side of it.
    That's why I love that here we can give kids opportunities to be creative as much as they want. Although, sometimes I have a feeling that they don't really care about it. If at home they are not taught and encouraged to do the same, then we hare have much smaller chances to be productive.
    But another reason for not having the creativity at our (Serbian) public schools, is probably that nobody is going to push their child to be an artist, when the social and political situation is this hard. You have to make money to feed your family tomorrow.
    So, if you don't have a stable economical, political and social country, the culture is not that high up on the list, unfortunately.
    But, we will certainly do our best to make a difference!

  17. I loved Ken Robinson and the subject he's talking about. Do we foster creativity at the school? It's something we need to think about as educators and individuals. The IB Programs (PYP/MYP and DP) support and foster it to a great extent in theory, on paper (or should I say the technology we are using), but what we need to do as teachers is constantly re-examine our teaching practices and our expectations - on a daily basis. Are we giving/providing the kids we teach a real chance to express their creativity? Or do we rush and push forward to get things done because of a lack of time/resources or curriculum expectations etc? Have we considered how creative we are as teachers? Do we adapt our teaching to different learning styles, or even ( here I go again) different languages to support our students' creativity? Food for thought.

  18. The fact is that national educational systems educate students to become good workers, which often excludes creativity of managing life per se and adapt to change that is inevitable. Apart from following directions and reading manuals, dialing a number and asking for help, majority of students lack basic problem solving skills. The school is still mostly about memorizing facts in fear not to make a mistake, getting a good mark and move on, forgetting all the useless facts and numbers.. However, once you move out of the national system of education and embrace the international prospective on life and education, it’s quite difficult to go back to think and teach in the traditional way.
    The more we listen to people like Sir Ken Robinson, the change is more likely to happen.

  19. It was very entertaining. However, his point that we all learn in different ways is well taken. This is the biggest job as teachers, to find the way in which our students learn best. Now if I had 4 students dancing, 3 doing push ups and 6 trying to be traditional and answer questions in their books that would indeed be an interesting classroom.
    I am also in agreement with Luis, lets paint!

  20. I enjoyed the video very much, and agree with the arguements presented.

    I do not believe that the problem stems from students fear of making mistakes, but rather teachers fear of their students failing. We need to let them go. How often do teachers allow their students to complete tasks alone... unguided - completely.


    Some of the best advice I ever heard:
    "Never help a child until they ask for your help."

    One of the most difficult learning experiences I have had as a teacher was when I learnt to sit. Just that... sit at my desk and let the students work independently. I felt guilty... I am getting paid for this? I was scared... what if the final products are no good - different than they would have been if I had advised the students?

  21. A wonderful presentation... and I totally agree with the message being sent. I believe that the Lower, Middle and High School educational programs at ISB are totally based on the concepts of creativity, discovery, inquiry, originality, recognition of the different intelligences, differentiated instruction and development of transferable skills, which are characteristics of twenty-first century education. Such programs empower our students to become knowledgeable, well-balanced and internationally respected citizens of the future.
    In reality, however, I find that the necessity to follow strict daily schedules, the lack of block lessons and being exposed to relatively short lessons can interrupt or even “kill” student creativity; this, of course, interferes with the effectiveness of even such powerful programs. Furthermore, while students are compelled to learn and have not developed the strategy of self-investment in their education, while they are being exposed to a multitude of manageable units of knowledge in all the different subjects rather than delving into in-depth, multi-subject projects, it is difficult to develop creativity to the full extent of its meaning.
    We need more flexible time allotments and teaching styles, such as block-lessons and team-teaching, to give our students a real chance to express their creativity.

  22. I agree on many things with Ken Robinson, such as that the educational system sometimes tends to limit the development of creativity in individuals. However, I greatly disagree with his theory on "subject hierarchy" as he chose to define it. Math and Language have become "important" subject for a reason, the reason being that the two subjects develop logic and communication respectively. They are necessary subjects for they are a part of every other field covered by the education system. Language is the essential part of any social science just like Math is an essential part of any natural science. As for the arts, they are greatly influenced by both Language and Math as well. These two subjects are at the top of the "hierarchy" because they are the foundation on which we build the rest of our knowledge on. By studying dance or painting instead of Math or Language, we are going to have great dancers and painters; but it does not mean that they will be well educated.

  23. I liked Ken, he has a good sense of humor. However, why do they call him an 'expert' on creativity? What exactly makes you an expert on creativity in this 21st century?? He is one extraordinary person, but the schools are targeting the mediocre not the outstanding -at least that is what all the teachers in my grad school told me..

  24. I enjoyed watching this. I think it would have a lot of resonance with teachers in the British State system who feel overwhelmed and demotivated by the extreme focus on academic testing and assessment in primary education.

    But changing values is tough. As a parent of a pre-K child (and one whose personal experience is embedded in the British system) I have to remind myself to celebrate the PE, movement and dance, art & other activities that my son is taking part in rather than worry that he is not yet learning to read or doing maths like his British peers.

  25. Thanks Jennie! This was an amazing speach! The sentence that got stuck in my head is about being afraid of being wrong (I see 5-year-olds being afraid of being wrong!)

    I think so much in education depends on the teacher. And as hard as it sometimes is, we all need to keep trying to support children's ideas (all of their different ideas). That is the part of PYP that I really love - that it gives them chance to try out their creativity in all the different areas of learning.

    Thank you again!

  26. WElcome to 23 Things Dunja! You are so right about kids needing the encouragement and safe environment to be risk-takers to be WILLING to make mistakes that is PERFECTLY OK to be wrong, after all that's how we learn. We do NOT want to stifle their craetivity but to nurture it as best we can.

  27. Ok..so it's March 20th and I'm finally able to leave my comment. First, I wasn't able to get onto the blog. Then, I wasn't able to leave a comment. After many attempts at quitting our darling 23 things, I am finally completing thing 1. The video was very interesting and funny and I look forward to finally doing this stuff with all of you.

  28. This video was nice. I love the "creative" way to tell the story...

    I totally agree with Sir Ken that we need to keep high level of creativity in education but we always need to search for new approaches for keeping that level high. I think that creative work is the only kind of work in which you can't increase it's productivity by forcing it. That's why we say that education depends a lot of the people who teach. My homeroom teacher (5th-8th grade) was an old school teacher which "encouraged" us to learn things/definitions the same way she said them. That's why I always loved art and PE more than Serbian (on the other side she's the reason that I've learned Serbian)
    I need to agree with Vladimir about the hierarchy. Although I think that PE and audio/visual/performing arts are really important in child development I also think that math has the biggest influence in logic and common sense development. To me - that's one of the high valued human attributes.

  29. i loved the idea of being prepared to BE WRONG because it transforms insecure to creative acts ... being open minded toward diversity of beautiful minds...a personal touch in his story telling...

    thank you
    it was enlightening