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Coding And Creativity

March 14, 2016

Creativity is a process that starts from developing new ideas or concepts and ends within the actualization of a new product or service. Creativity includes the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find order in chaos, to make connections between seemingly unrelated things. Creativity can be summarized to two steps, thinking and then producing. Just thinking without producing is described as being imaginative and not creative.

Robert E. Franken, the author of Human Motivation said, creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. A study by Dr George Land revealed that we are all naturally creative and as we grow up we learn to be uncreative. His tests showed that children under 5 years old are 96% more creative than adults.For most, creativity has been buried by rules and regulations. Our educational system was designed during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, to train us to be good workers and follow instructions.Most education focuses on providing answers in a linear step by step way.

Can Creativity Be Taught?

Creativity is a skill that can be developed and a process that can be managed.First, traditional teaching methodologies like reading, lecturing, testing, and memorization are worse than useless.We learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesing information.

The words of Jaime Casap (Google Global Education Evangelist) were a resounding echo in my head as researched on the subject.She said,“Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up but what problems do they want to solve. This changes the conversation from who do I want to work for, to what do I need to learn to be able to do that.” Indeed the reality is fast rumbling at every break of dawn that the era of leaving school to find a job is gradually eroding, as there are fewer jobs available.
Just as industrial revolution of the 18th – 19th century was a game changer so is Software in this present era. Thus there emerges a need to reengineer ourselves if we are to stay relevant both globally and locally.

The concept of coding (or computer programming) remains alien to several yet about 82% of ourlives areinfluenced by software. The fault isn’t ours when looking at it from the purview of sudden boom of technology or how those outside science were made to think it was impossible to be a part of such creative world. However, we must stop reinventing such wheel of excuses if we are to make heads-way as “everybody in the country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think.” – Steve Jobs.

It becomes somewhat of a challenge (though not impossible) to ‘teach an old dog new tricks’ – a common statement often made. We therefore cannot afford to fail in teaching the young minds the language of the future. Karen Brennan a professor of education in Harvard accurately articulated this when she said “I believe that learning how to code — learning how to program a computer — essentially how to create, should be for all kids and not just for some kids.” Denying a child such opportunity to be part of tomorrow’s creative minds by ignoring the limitless potentials of learning how to code is outrageous.

Children may not have fluency in communicating with words about what is going on in their minds, but through coding, you would be amazed at the beauty of their imagination and how fast they see, understand and interpret the world around them. And we as parents, adults, guardians are saddled with the responsibility of availing them such opportunity.

So How Can We Use Programming To Teach Creativity?

First, we let children understand that programming is a unique interaction with a common system. Programming is the way we can make things happen on a screen or with a robot, and creativity is finding unique or interesting things to make happen. Creativity is about getting the system to do amazing and inventive things.

Secondly, in programming, there is not one way of solving a problem and failure is not a sacrilege. Programming celebrates discovery, focuses on skills and not results. Programming can be viewed as a mode of expression, and we can empower children to exercise their creativity with it.

“I really like the freedom of actually being able to do what you want, when you want, and I like being able to share what I create with other kids…” this was a testimony from 10-year-old Cora Cloherty. We must ensure that we give these kids a healthy platform that would expose them to a level of creativity that would transform them from being“get-a-job” oriented to becoming solution providers. Don’t stop them from thinking or using their brains for that’s their most powerful asset, rather encourage them to become creative thinkers. 

In an interview with Belinda Wang from the University of Toronto, she had this to say, “We absolutely haven’t seen the end of what computers are capable of—we’re merely at the beginning stages. People are now trying to make computers to work like the human brain, to do everything we can do. Depending on your lifetime, when you were born, you will grow up into a different society, different environment, and you will need to have different skills to thrive in this environment. We’re certainly moving into the era where we’re looking for computer intelligence—what human beings are capable of will eventually be unlimited. And now we’re just trying to create more things to come help us!”

It is astonishing seeing young minds who have not being corrupted by the world of impossibility create a world of limitless possibilities. That’s the joy we all experience at iMyque Code Academy as we teach our kids the art and science of programming. Don’t make your excuses today their limitation tomorrow. We truly believe the future holds so much for our children and our aim is to introduce them to a future they create.

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