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What is Creativity?

If I asked you what part of your body do you see with? Most would answer with, "My eyes." (duh). What if I were to tell you that answer is only partially right.  What if I were to tell you that you could see better? No, I don't mean you can throw away your glasses. I mean you're capable of seeing in a different way (no glasses required).

The Purpose of This Blog

I created this blog because I believe "creativity" is a very misunderstood term. Usually, "creativity" is reserved as a label of those in the artistic world "who can draw, paint, or sculpt". People like Michelangelo, Van Gogh, or that kid in your high school art class (you know the one), that kid that could draw anything, and it always looked so incredible it made you sick.

Some people might even broaden the scope a little larger and include individuals "who invent things". They may throw out names like Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, or my favorite, Angus MacGyver. These people are referred to as "innovators", "visionaries", "ingenious" or "gifted".
I don't believe creativity is something that is reserved for a small group of people. There's no genetic lottery that you have to win to be creative.
This common misunderstanding of the word all too often leads people to label themselves as "not creative", at which point they mentally turn themselves off to the idea that they actually are creative. Because of this mental barrier they've self-constructed, you might say that "being creative" -- or not -- is all in your head.

The purpose of this site is to help teachers discover their own creativity so they can spark the creativity in their students. The students will then take that creativity and make the world a better place tomorrow than it is today. So, ultimately, the purpose of this site is to save the world. So if you're ready to save the world -- read on.

What is Creativity?

I believe creativity is a way of seeing things differently. It's the ability to find unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated things that make perfect sense once the connection is made. Sure, it includes things like drawing, painting or inventing, but that's just the beginning.
At a more fundamental level, creativity is about problem solving, and sometimes -- some of the best times, it's just about seeing the connections in the simplest of everyday things. 
While I do believe there is creativity in everyone, I also understand that it will still come easier to some than others. Oddly enough, it's not necessarily a lack of creativity that makes it difficult, it's a lack of self-confidence. It takes courage to go down those uncharted paths and suggest new ideas. You have to be comfortable with the possibility of your ideas getting shot down, or failing. You need to understand that that's ok. It's simply another step in the process.

Why Me?

So, what makes me, Todd, qualified to give educational tips to teachers about creativity? What is it that I do? I teach Graphic Design and Advanced Graphic design to grades 9-12 at Village Tech Schools. Village Tech is a public charter school in Cedar Hill, Texas. For complete and full disclosure, this is only my forth year teaching, which means I'm still clearly trying figure things out myself. But maybe, that's also the perfect reason for me to be writing this blog.

I'm less interested in 'the way things are normally done', and more interested in 'how can we do this better?'

While I may be new to teaching, I have over 20 years experience in the creative industry. My career began in traditional advertising but the majority of my career was spent "on the cutting edge" of technology in fields like web design, game design and mobile game development. We were creating new systems and new ways of doing things on a weekly basis. We were forced to be innovators if we wanted to stay in business. For four years I also worked for illusionist David Copperfield, a man who's very mantra is to "Consider nothing impossible."

I've created projects for Microsoft, National Geographic, Universal Pictures, Lucasfilm and a hundred other companies. I embrace change and challenge; the more impossible the better.

What You'll Find On The Site (soon)

I'm officially kicking things off with this post. What you'll find in the near future is continued posts about creativity as well as my journey in the classroom, as I make my way through the world of teaching. With any luck, I'll be posting some successes, as well as my fair share of failures.

There are a number of classroom activities I'll post on the site soon. These are things you can do in your classroom to explore student, and possibly your own, creativity. These may be in the form of videos, or discussions, or short classroom activities. The popular terms used these days are things like "Critical Thinking" or "Design Thinking", but basically it's ways to help people be more creative.

I believe everyone has the ability to be creative, they just may need a slight push down that untraveled path to help get them started. I tell my students that they look with their eyes, but they need to see with their mind.
My hope is that the posts and activities you find on this site will help you find your own Creative Sight.


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