Monday, 18 April 2011

Creative Thinking in Digital Natives

What stimulates creative thinking in learners?
Marc Prensky[1] , an educationist coined the term ‘Digital Natives’ way back in year 2001. Much of this write up is based on his research and my own experiences with digital natives. You must have guessed by now that I am a self acknowledged digital immigrant who is continually and positively trying to adapt to the ever changing technology driven environment. Change has become my pedagogical stimulant in many ways. I hope to be able to challenge myself and my students that they need to know themselves as learners too, for soon they will be digital migrants of the even more rapidly changing technology and social media environment.
Creative thinking stimulants in learners has changed and evolved rapidly in the past few years. New skills have developed in learners of the digital world, and so I believe that the stimulants of creative thinking have changed too.  As stakeholders in education, the learner and the facilitator both need to reflect and begin understanding that that the brain of the net generation or the ‘Y’ generation thinks differently.
There is much research into brainology these days. My first exposure to the ways of the brain was through ‘The Brain Man’ John Joseph’s[2] professional development seminar at school that set me thinking and acknowledging that perhaps students do think differently. Students can vividly remember details of computer games and their other such interests but find it an uphill task to recall or apply anything that was remotely connected to official curriculum driven education. Yes I know, it may seem the reason that we all usually cite, that students were not adequately motivated, but really they were very motivated at those times, perhaps not to learn but just to improve their grades. So it’s how they learn that is of importance. No wonder, John Joseph who challenges students to learn about learning suggested that if were to let students play computer games first and then make them study, they will be in a better position to learn as their brain cells will have been stimulated by the quick change of graphics of the computer games.

According to Marc Prensky, humans who have “ accustomed to the twitch-speed, multitasking, random-access, graphics-first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick-payoff world of their video games, MTV, and Internet are bored by most of today’s education, well meaning as it may be. But worse, the many skills that new technologies have actually enhanced (e.g., parallel processing, graphics awareness, and random access)—which have profound implications for their learning—are almost totally
Ignored by educators.”  Students of this generation with their computer games, facebook and twitter….  are screaming for change.
How do we as educators bring about this kind of learning environment in the classroom? How do we ensure that our students are learning and reflecting on their learning?
We perhaps need radical mind set changes and changes in the whole notion of schooling within the parameters of the classrooms and organizational setups. Since that change is like being a few light years away, perhaps what I need is to take small steps to bring about the changes in my own classroom.
It’s acknowledging this change of learning in digital learners, that they think differently, that more focus was given to a business assignment that required use of technology. Not to say that such video assignments haven’t been done before, but this assignment was a conscious shift in my perspective as a facilitator, acknowledging that digital natives think differently.
So really, what stimulates creative thinking in digital learners…?
Work Cited
Focus Education . Focus Education. 18 April 2011 <>.
Prensky, Marc. Marc Prensky. 2008. 18 April 2011 <>.

[1] (Prensky)
[2] (Focus Education )


  1. I agree that because of the digital world we live in now, we students have become bored of most of today's education. I believe that to make things more interesting, lessons should incorporate more technology, such as videos and websites. As the internet is now become essential for students today, using that as a tool to teach will make students more interested in working.

  2. I believe that it is the aspect of interaction that really helps us "digital natives" learn as this interaction is a lot more memorable than simply making notes from a textbook. Again such activities as the video project helps create this interaction that is more hands on than simply just reading a textbook and it does enhance our creativity as there is just so many ways to go about. Its like a video game, bad video games only have one set path to reach to the end while good video games have multiple paths and multiple endings depending on which paths you take. If this is applied to education it may be a lot more enjoyable to students and therefore produce higher grades.

  3. Hi Mrs. Antony,

    I strongly agree with John Joseph's theory of how students remember information based on their video games better than curriculum school work. With that being said, I thought this assignment was a good refreshment for me. It allowed me to develop my creative skills and apply it to the video. I just thought that the break that we had in between the video was detrimental to the project. It made just lose focus and track of what we have done. I believe that this video assignment was definitely a good change for us. I would love to do it again.

  4. The new assignment helped me learn better. Especially, movie skill that I have never experienced before. My group member worked together very well and I really enjoyed the learning process. Laptop doesn’t really distract my learning and affect my grade at this time because laptop plays a very big role on making video and do some research.

  5. Hi Mrs Antony,
    A new assignment really help me learn better, Through this assignment, my group tried to apply the concepts of communication into a video. We interacted a lotsEach individual gave many ideas and our group made decision-making. I am really interested in this assignment because this video is not only teach me about business, but also help me have a chance to study video-making and act. It was really fun.This time, laptop really helps me. My group can discuss with others during the spring break through google docs. Laptop is really helpful help me learn better.

  6. The God honest truth and I really dont mean to sound so negative, is that you cant. I feel there maybe a slight improvement if there was a creative change but at the end of the day, if students wanted to do well in school, they would do well whether improvements are implied or not. Of course, creative changes will help a student succeed in doing better based on the new generation of being Digital Natives, but it also depends on how the students work ethics and style is.

    The word Creative, literally means to be as open as one gets. So giving the student independence and more choices with less boundaries, in my opinion as a creative learner will help us want to in a sense show off our creative skills. I say its competition between students to who can bring the best to the table, at least thats what motivates me.

  7. I really enjoyed the new video assignment. I could learn not only theories but also methods to make a video. At the same time, I could have fun with my group members when we did the assignment. I think this method of learning helps me better to remember and understand business concepts.

  8. In my opinion, it is more effective to learn when student do exercise regularly (like twice a week, 3 hours each time), competitive sports helps stimulating human's brain, and most likely helps blood rotation.

    Compare to digital activities (video, games, TV), sports have way more advantages to help students to learn and think creatively.

    Perhaps school should have sport activities for students every morning, for example, running for 30mins, or basketball for 30mins. I suppose it is less likely that students gets distracted from sports compare to playing games or surfing internet or watching video

  9. The project that we have done in recent was a great experience for me to do because though I am not good at speaking English, the points that I want to say can be seen in the video.
    With a great experience, this project also helped to learn the leadership in each group.
    Said to be a leader in a group, I tended to actively discuss and share the ideas with the members.
    Students like me who do not speak English well can have more opportunities to learn a concept of a new idea in a easy way and to give a try as acting in the video instead of speaking or talking with one another.

    Look forward to do this kind of project again.

  10. The video assignment made me think lots of different creative ways on how to present our topic. It helps visual learners, like me, to understand the topics more as they see it. The assignment also improves communication and leadership in the group as many different suggestions and ideas were discussed in the group. Overall, everything went well in my group as we all worked well together to finish the assignment on time.

  11. I think my group members and I put lots of effort on the video assignment. I stronly agree with Ms. Antony's idea of putting laptops, mobile phones, and Ipod away when we were working on the assignment. It helped me more focus on my work so that my work was done more efficiently.
    The assignment had helped me apply my knowledge and deeply understand the theory of stress. In order to make a creative and perfect video, I discussed with my team member for several times about what to do and how to do. Every members engaged in the discussion and delivered their opoinion and suggestion. Throug the discussion process, I realize that well-organized and well-coperated are two important keys to a sucessful group assignment.
    Moreover, I've learned some basic skills of making video by using Movie Maker such as how to cut and edit a video and how to put background music into the video as well.

  12. this new assignment helped me think of more ways to be more creative. it was a great experience and it improved my skills in creating assignments which incooperate the use of technology, and it also improved my teamwork values. the video tool was a great idea as it was something that interested me which made it easier to sucessfully come up with a finished product.

  13. The world has changed the way how it used to run, and it is necessary to follow the change. The Generation Y is more sensitive on new technology, because they are born with it, which is different than the Generation X, who is trying to absorb the renovations. We understand that every person has different learning style, because everyone has different level of ability. Perhaps, the new generation needs a new style of learning, because they grow up in very social and economic conditions with huge influence of communications, media, and digital technologies. Hence, it is important to have a new channel to educate the generation Y that has concerned these factors.
    Making video is an excellent idea for Generation Y’s learning. It meets the strengths of communications, media, and digital technologies that they are born with.

  14. Truthfully, this project did help me to understand the concept of our course better. I got more fun by working and making a video with classmates while this group project was given.

    It provided a chance to us to show our ability and leadership. Like Ms.Antony said that, "everyone can be a leader."

    Indeed, this kind of creative assignments can be a way of posting yourself. Communicating and cooperating with classmates taught me more. Acts are more effectively than reading the theories word by word.

    Taking notes is the universal method of learning, but I think media is more creative and it may be a popular way to teach in the future.

  15. We were born in the time as a "digital native", when digital technologies already existed when we were born, and thus we are growing up and using them all the time. So going along with this perception, the classroom learning may achieve high efficiency by implementing the technology into it.

    Last week, we worked in group doing the video assignment. I didn’t know how to make the video at all before, but I was interested in doing this assignment, because there were lots of fun in the process of making it, I learned more technological knowledge, and it developed my computer using skills. At the same time, I applied what I learned in this business class and had a better comprehension about stress and communication.

    Mary Lou Cook says, “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” I think this assignment helps me to develop my creativity and creative thinking skill. By working in groups, we discussed the textbook contents, making the story, correct each others’ mistakes, brought new thinking, and had fun in role playing. So I think group work is a good way to stimulate creative thinking because during the process of discussing with other group members, I need to think more about the problem you are facing. I realize the goals and purposes, stay interested and involved, focus on achieving the mission and new ideas, judge others’ ideas, and solve problems in structured ways.