Tools to Boost Creativity, Critical Thinking, Community, Communication & Character
By Tom Vander Ark and Caroline Vander Ark
Good schools have a common intellectual mission. They prioritize, encourage, measure, and discuss important outcomes.
This week we had the privilege of spending time with educators at Valley Christian Schools in Cerritos, California. At VCS, the 5Cs translate their mission into practice.
Valley Christian Middle School recently implemented 1:1 iPads. Teachers have loaded their lessons and content on iTunes U and have been blown away by the amount of downloads both nationally and internationally (more on that soon). VCS students last year even created a science e-book, Southern California’s Plants & Animals, viewed by classrooms around the world.
During our working session we discussed experiences and tools that develop the 5Cs. Following is a description of the outcome, a list of student roles that promote that outcome, and new tools and programs that support student learning. Also included are blogs on each topic.
Creativity: Develop and use abilities, appreciate innovation and creativity. Creativity is creating new career experiences for students.
- Producers: Glogster, iMovie, Garage Band
- Inventor: FIRST
- Entrepreneur: NFTY
- Gamers: E-Line
- Makers: Maker Faire
- Coders: CodeHS
- Artists: SketchUp, Photoshop Express
Getting Smart blogs on creativity:
- 10 Apps That Combine Learning With Fun
- Teaching Without Words: A Conversation With Researcher Matthew Petersen
- Measurement is Friend Not Foe to Creativity
- Education’s Role in Fostering the Creative Economy
Critical Thinking: Analyze with discernment, strive for academic excellence.
- Researcher: search tools including Google, Bing, Gooru
- Scientist: Simulations like Phet
- Historian: Simulations like Muzzy Lane
- Art Historian: GoogleArtProject.com
- Problem solvers: ST Math, Desmos
- Debaters: StudySync
Getting Smart blogs on critical thinking:
- Top 10 Apps for Arts Education
- Simulations Spell Sizzling Science
- Top 10 iPad Apps for Science Learning
- Military Personnel Train With Advanced Games
- Time for More Simulations in Class & On Tests
- Balancing Young Learners’ Media Consumption: Is There an App for That?
- Common Sense Media: Making Sense of the Learning App Explosion
Community: Interact locally and globally; recognize/understand the order, cultures, diversity.
- Collaborators: social learning platform Edmodo
- Apprentices: best practiced by Big Picture
- Learning coaches: peer coaching on Grockit
- Performers: drama, choir
Getting Smart blogs on community:
- Good Work: Living in Community
- Shaping Communities as the World’s Classrooms
- Customize Your Edmodo Account
- Edmodo: From Social Network to Learning Platform
Communication: Comprehend/convey truth effectively as speaker, listener, reader, writer, artist & performer.
- Writer: NoRedInk
- Journalist: WriteToLearn
- Publisher: WordPress, Tumblr
- Artist: ArtApp
- Musician: Chromatik
- Presenters: ShowMe
Getting Smart blogs on communication:
- Better & More Writing: Review of 42 Apps
- Top 10 Apps for Arts Education
- The Pivotal Moment That Took My Literature Teaching Digital
Character: a worldview (for VCS, Christ-centered), living out one’s place, reflective about calling, gifts, and joy.
- Self manager: Navigation 101
- Project manager: Showevidence, ProjectFoundry
- Portfolio manager: Pathbrite, ThreeRing
- Learner: Naviance, Connect EDU
Getting Smart blogs on character and calling
- Good Work: Some Choose Wisely
- Good Work: A Grandmother’s Lesson on Integrity
- Good Work: Leave a Legacy, Teach
- Good Work: 10 Quotes on Measuring Your Life
- Good Work: Service Above Self
What would you add to our lists?
Disclosures: Pearson and MIND Research Institute are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Chromatik, Desmos, Edmodo, NoRedInk, ShowMe, are portfolio companies of Learn Capital where Tom is a partner. This blog first appeared on EdWeek.
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