Measuring the creative use of laptops in the classrooms.

On Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 5:39 PM, Nancy wrote:
Jim, we are working as a big committee on measuring out digital classroom initiative and
whether or not it is going well.  One of the things we want to
measure and create a metric for is creativity and creative expression.
 You mentioned at our most recent meeting that you have ideas
regarding this already.  Are you willing to share any?  So far we
thought a good way to keep track of what is being accomplished is to
archive via a digital portfolio.  I saw a great tool for this that
works with Moodle called Mahara, or maybe it was Mahoodle....or even
both.  Right now we are using Google Docs/drive.
If you are willing to share a paragraph about how you might measure or
have a metric to show the increase of creativity because of computers,
that would be great.



Good to hear from you. I hope your summer is going well. I have little systematic in place yet. It was always my dream, but there were never resources to give a creativity test of some kind. A commonly used test is the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. I do wonder if it would be easy enough to make your own test that you interpret. You could even administer a fairly simple question to every student twice a year: for two minutes write down all the things that you could do with a brick that a brick was not meant to do. Change the noun every time, or every three years so no one middle school student gets a repeat, or every test so the first month of sixth grade is always a brick. Tag the posts with their grade and graduation year, and allow anyone to make judgements about improved creativity by sorting through the posts. I wonder a little about the power of just collecting the data and allowing the interested parties to make their own conclusions about the data. 

I think that an ePortfolio of work collected by teachers over the years will show the gains you are looking for. We set this up as a group blog that everyone has the ability to write posts for. We use our own internal blog server, but you could use Blogger or Posterous as well. Posterous would be best, but I am not sure what the future of it is as a long term storage place. 

I have looked into Maraha and have not yet had the technical knowledge to make it happen. One thing that has helped me when thinking about ePortfolios is realizing that each student and teacher will be involved in several and there might be more than one best place for all these. For this creative piece you want a portfolio put together by teachers for the three to five lessons a year that they thought produced the best creativity. You then want them to post the assignment, a range of example product without names (making sure that a low and a middle response are included along with several high examples) and some reflective work by the teacher on why they thought these things. Over time you should see the creativity of the assignments go up and the responses, two things you can track qualitatively. In the first part of the answer to this I suggested a student contributed portfolio. Both portfolios have district rather than classroom or personal goals. It will be important in either case to admit that upfront.

What do you think? What would be convincing to your committee? Do they want the comfort of numbers that will always be an incomplete picture or are they OK with the messiness of subjective data?