Creativity in the Classroom


Can you draw? How do you rate your skills on a scale from 1 to 10? Are you creative? How do you rate your creative capabilities on a scale from 1 to 10? What if we told you that we could prove that you were good at art and could also be much more creative, would you be willing to give things a try?


“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein.

21st Century learners engage more in the classroom when they are challenged with activities and lessons that stimulate critical thinking and encourage problem solving. Today’s Circles session was designed to help you learn how you can increase creativity in your classroom using fun, creative, and innovative tools and strategies. Many of the ideas shared here today come from Tom and David Kelley’s book on Creative Confidence. 

How do we increase creative confidence? How do we apply it to our instruction? How do we instill creative confidence within our students? The design-thinking framework below is a human centered approach to design that is used to better understand the needs of your end users. Tom and Dave have a Design Thinking for Educators webspace if you would like to learn more.  Today, we are going to take a look at a few tools and strategies you can use to help human- centered design generate new opportunities and solutions, especially with our students.

Today’s session is to help you apply creative confidence to your practice and to remind you that failure is success!!!


Hands On – Let’s Get Creative!

First let’s take a look at the Design Process

Also, before we begin, it is important to lay some ground rules. These are the rules posted all over the walls of IDEO, David Kelley’s creative studio. The studio has worked on projects in the consumer food and beverage, retail, computer, medical, educational, furniture, toy, office, and automotive industries. Some examples include Apple’s first mouse, the Palm V PDA, and the node chair.

If you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas. Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away – Linus Pauling.

Today while we are talking about design thinking, we will be sharing some strategies from Bootcamp Bootleg, shared from the Institute of Design at Stanford. Their active toolkit was created to support design thinking practice, and they suggest that the guide is not just for reading. So let’s skip the reading and try out some of these tools in the real world.

Empathy Maps

As a human-centered designer you need to understand the people for whom you are designing. The problems you are trying to solve are rarely your own—they are those of particular users; in order to design for your users, you must build empathy for who they are and what is important to them.

Empathy Mapping is discussed on page 15 of the bootcamp bootleg. 

Using our new insights, lets now develop a problem statement.


Journey Maps

Another way to gain empathy for a person or understanding of one’s process through an experience, consider the details of that process to illuminate areas of potential insights. Creating a journey map is an excellent way to systematically think about the steps or milestones of a process. A journey map can be used for your own empathy work, or to communicate your findings to others.

Journey Mapping is discussed on page 16 of the bootcamp bootleg.

User Camera Study

In empathy work, you want to understand your users’ lives, and specific tasks within the context of their lives. A User Camera Study allows us to understand a user’s experience by seeing it through their eyes. It will also allow you to understand environments to which you might not normally have access.

Idea! What about a screen shot study for online students?

How to take a screenshot

The camera study is discussed on page 8 of the bootcamp bootleg.

I Like, I Wish, What If?

Designers rely on personal communication and, particularly, feedback, during design work. You request feedback from users about your solution concepts , and you seek feedback from colleagues about design frameworks you are developing.

Teacher’s too require feedback. Here is a neat strategy from page 44 of the bootcamp bootleg.


  • Post-it Plus – Do you want to use your phone to remember your Post-it brainstorm?
  • Padlet – Do you want to skip the Post-its and try things in the cloud?
  • Thinglink – Do you want to link your ideas to other ideas and highlight the links?
  • The Padagogy Wheel – Do you want to find applications that tie closely to creativity in the classroom?

Good Reads

The Collaborative Design Center (CDC)

Valencia’s CDC is an immersive experience like no other. This dynamic space lends itself to help groups design solutions for cultural change, critical problems and future development. Here, creativity meets functionality to bring the most innovative solutions to light. With the help of our local process design expert (Katie Tagye), a customized facilitation will be created for each team in order to ensure success. Here is a list of some upcoming workshops. Please contact Katie to learn more.

Spring Workshop Series

Click here or on the handout to learn more.

  • Design Thinking Crash Course – February 22 1:30 – 4:30
  • Design Your Meeting – February 24 2:00-4:30
  • FourSight for Enhancing Innovation – March 30 8:30 – 11:00
  • The Tell-A- Vision Academy – March 2 8:30 – 5:00
  • Creative Problem Solving – April 20 8:00 – 5:00