Category Archives: Creative Thinking

How to Break Out of a Creative Rut

How to Break Out of a Creative Rut
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Here is the basic premise of 100cameras:

The model is simple, bringing change full circle. 100cameras..

 ..identifies communities that are home to marginalized children with child-centered organizations that are successfully solving local problems

..provides art education by teaching children how to tell their stories through photography

..amplifies their voice by sharing their perspectives with the world

..empowers their story to raise awareness and funds to impact their own communities.

The photos on this site are powerful, and I love that they are taken by children in their own environments.  Seeing the world through their eyes is amazing.  Offering the prints for purchase gives the students a genuine voice.  This is a wonderful idea.  If you are interested in partnering with 100cameras to bring this project to your community, visit this page.

I can also visualize many ways that this concept can be adapted for the classroom or for a school.  The best thing about this is putting the cameras into the hands of the students.  Let them tell a story with pictures.  Let them display it to an audience.  And let them receive feedback for their work.  Engage their minds, and let them be heard.



The Positive Effects of Playing Games

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The topic of gaming and its usage in the classroom has been popping up more and more in the last year or so.  Jane McGonigal, who is an expert in this area (check out this link to see her extensive experience and list of “unlocked” achievements), gives some good reasons that we should not dismiss gaming as “a waste of time”.  Other than improving flirting skills, it seems that many of the benefits might be worth consideration by teachers.  I am planning to create a gaming environment in my gifted classroom this year for my 5th graders, and I hope to see an increase in productivity in the areas of creativity and ambition, as Dr. McGonigal predicts!  If you are interested in this topic, you might want to visit Gamification of the Classroom and Classroom Game Design, too!


Artkive is a free app for iDevices that is an answer to the prayers of parents everywhere –  “Someone please tell me what to do with all of the pieces of art that my child brings home from school!”  Jedd Gold, the creator of Artkive, developed an app that not only allows you to create a digitized gallery of your child’s work, but to create “Share Circles”, allowing you to send immediate notice to relatives and friends any time you would like them to take note of a new piece that has been added.  Once they receive the link, they can view the art, and download it if they wish.  Soon, Artkive will be giving you the option to order books and other items customized with the art.

This is great for parents of highly productive  aspiring artists, but how can this be helpful in the school setting?  I  e-mailed Jedd, and this is a portion of what he had to say,

“100% this is a very simple and fantastic classroom tool:

  • Each child you add to the app is like a “folder.”  As a teacher you can create an account and then add each student as an individual child (i.e. a folder of each child).  You can walk around, snap a photo of a child’s artwork, writing, or other work, then choose from the dropdown which child created it. The app will automatically tag the grade and date it was created and you can add a title if you’d like. Then hit artkive and that image is now chronologically stored.  From your artkive, you can see all the kids’s work together, or sort by child and see just their work.
  • You can add each parent to the share circle and with the press of a button, share a specific piece of work, or an entire artkive, with the child’s parents.
  • At the end of the year, you can give parents the option to purchase a book of their child’s entire year of art/school work.
  • You could also use the app to just take pictures of the kids.  You could add a child and instead of a name, call it “Terri’s Kindergarten Class”.  Then each time you take a picture of the kids playing or whatever, you could put it into that “folder” and you’d have a collection of class images that you could share or print.”
Jedd gave me some great ideas, and I am sure that lots of teachers out there have even more ways that Artkive would be useful.  If you have a suggestion for Jedd, feel free to contact him at, or just leave a comment below, and I will relay it to him.


Augmented Reality in the Classroom

photo credit: ETPA via photo pin cc
Ever since I saw a presentation on Augmented Reality at TCEA this year, I have been pumped about using it in my classroom.  However, I haven’t seen a lot of user-friendly applications for every-day teachers yet.  I tried desperately to get AR Sights to work on my Mac at home and on my PC at school, and neither experience lived up to my expectations.  I purchased an AR pop-up book, and though the kids seemed to enjoy it, I did not really feel like it had the impact I desired.
Richard Byrne posted about a new app from PBS called, Fetch! Lunch Rush!, and I suddenly saw the power of AR, and how I could use it in my classroom.  Although this particular game is too basic to use in the Gifted classroom, I can definitely see how activities like this would engage kids.
So, I did a search on Richard’s blog for other mentions of AR, and found a free app called Aurasma.  And, now I can make my own augmented reality layers that will appear whenever my students use the iPad camera on images I select.  My students, too, with a little guidance, can create their own.  Instead of using QR codes, I can make an Interactive Bulletin Board on steroids!
Check out these videos for some live demonstrations of Aurasma:  Aurasma in the Classroom (embedded below), Aurasma for Shakespeare
This would be a really interesting assistive technology for students.  Imagine having images on the pages that students can scan for help with the text, just as the hostess of Aurasma for Shakespeare demonstrates.  This falls nicely into Universal Design for Learning.
I would love to hear from anyone else who is using Aurasma in the classroom!

Aurasma in the classroom from mark herring on Vimeo.

Creativity Games


Creativity Games is a site that offers a weekly creativity game every Monday.  There are also weekly challenges and resources offered.  Although it seems to be aimed at an adult audience, I believe many of the ideas could be used with younger students as well.  For example, I love the “New World Education Game” that was offered on August 20th.  It challenges you to think of a new university course using the 4 words provided.  As the “Strategy” paragraph states, our students are entering a new world with different technologies, and we need to come up with novel ideas for preparing them for this.  I could see my gifted and talented students loving this idea, and many of the other activities on Creativity Games.  This is a great tool for educators.