Ed Tech Trends

Using Technology to Inspire Creativity Boosts Student Outcomes

Teachers who use technology in "transformative ways" and focus on creativity in learning can increase the number of students who are able to engage in problem solving, according to a new report from Gallup. Transformative technology uses include using tablets or computers to create multimedia projects, conduct research and analyze information.

Technology used in "substitutional ways," such as replacing pens and pencils with tablets or computers to do similar tasks, were 10 percent less likely to see some benefits when it comes to problem solving skills. For teachers who do not focus on creativity or transformative technology, problem solving outcomes drop by 25 percent points to 50 percent.

These findings come from an online survey of 1,036 K-12 teachers conducted from March 27-April 5, 2019. Gallup also conducted online surveys of 2,673 parents with students in K-12 and 853 students in grades six to 12 for the report. All of these surveys were collected through a Gallup Panel.

Teachers' use of creativity in learning was determined how many times students were allowing to:

  1. Choose what to learn in class.
  2. Try different ways of doing things, even if they might not work.
  3. Come up with their own ways to solve a problem
  4. Discuss topics with no right or wrong answer.
  5. Create a project to express what they've learned.
  6. Work on a multidisciplinary project.
  7. Work on a project with real-world applications.
  8. Publish or share projects with people outside the classroom.

The Gallup report found that the school environment plays a role in how educators encourage creativity in their classrooms. Supportive school environments give teachers autonomy to try new things, embrace student uses of technology and are not primarily focused on test scores.

Fifty-three percent of teachers who work in supportive environments say their students often get the chance to try new things and 43 percent of supported teachers are able to give their students the opportunity to create a project to express what they have learned.

A summary of key findings from the report is available in a blog post on Gallup's website. The full report can be downloaded with registration.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@1105media.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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