Creating creative portfolios

September 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

For a typical teen, creativity seems to mean only one thing: write a program which is some sort of game. I had an interesting experience this week.

We are currently working on designing programming projects using Scratch. I introduced them to BYOB and a quick tour on Scratch fundamentals. Most of the students have had some training on Scratch, so they are now ready to take up a slightly harder assignment. Based on the interviews with my students, I paired them up with students who have similar interests. I gave them the rubric and asked them to choose a topic of interest. They were asked to come up with an idea and have me approve their concept.

Almost all of the first round of ideas could be easily classified into two groups: games using missiles & guns or sports based games. I had one group which absolutely refused to think beyond entertainment. They refused to think of a field that this would expand upon or try and serve some other purpose than pure entertainment. Trying to convince them to think from a different perspective was hard. What made the situation harder was that students thought of it as I shot their idea down.

It has taken couple of days to convince them to think of alternatives and come up with a good project to work on. This has led me to wonder, how do we encourage creativity and different thinking from the norm?



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  1. It’s awfully hard at times. Kids seem to be unable to see outside their particular box. We think of kids as creative but by the time they get to high school I think the system works it out of them. At least you are making them exercise their creativity “muscles” and hopefully they’ll get better at it.

    • Alfred, thank you for your comment. I am teaching some of the best sets of students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. And by now, they are really good at Scratch. And to their defense, Scratch lends itself really well for design of games. So why not?
      What I am really nervous about it killing motivation. Hopefully that will not happen. Will keep you posted.

  2. Hi Deepa. This is a problem we’ve wrestled with extensively in Bootstrap. It turns out you can have your cake and eat it too with careful curricular design. In fact, we recently completed a research study to analyze exactly the kinds of phenomena you’re talking about, and found that Bootstrap’s design does in fact accomplish both goals. See

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