Students read books written by other people, watch movies made by other people and learn information in school discovered by other people, but, at school, only certain courses really allow students to create.
Creation and innovation are the future, and as technology continues to shape the future, more doors open for creativity. The opportunity to create using computers, smart phones and other devices is relatively new and a seemingly always-growing industry. As the use of technology continues to dominate so many lives, the demand for software engineers and developers rises, becoming a field with a perpetual void of employees.
Thinkspace, an organization created by a sixteen year-old in the UK, aims to fill that void.
Thinkspace aims to change education through the implementation of Thinkspaces at schools across the world. Each Thinkspace is full of computers, smartphones and tablets and becomes a lab for learning and writing computer code. InThinkspaces, students can create in a way pertinent to a changing society and workforce — through computer coding and collaboration. Thinkspace is designed to craft the upcoming generations of software developers.
At Leesville, the closest thing to a Thinkspace would be the Mac lab. In classes like Digital Media, students are given the chance to design animation, short films and graphics — students are creating in a fashion relevant to the changing world.
But why is creation and creativity important? Is it important only to develop the skills necessary to successfully join the workforce, or is it more?
Humans have an inherent want to create, and, according to Sir Ken Robinson, on a personal level, creativity and creation gives lives purpose and meaning, making them fuller and more stimulating. Yes, creativity is a great skill to learn for a job, but creating is really important because it keeps life active and keeps people actively involved in their lives. If students are not actively involved in their education, how can it truly be a success?
Students (and humans in general), in the way the education system is currently set up, spend more time consuming than creating, and adding in the pop culture, movies and books students consume outside of school, the battle between consuming and creating only leans further toward the former.
Thinkspace gives students a chance to contribute — whether to society or simply their friends. Instead of playing an app for hours, students are designing apps. Instead of browsing websites, students are making websites. Thinkspace encourages the importance of creation and gives students at schools who have implemented it a chance to create for themselves.
The American education system encourages consuming and teaches consuming. Students memorize facts and information to take a test. They do not usually have the chance to create.
Leesville is no different. Curriculums are based on packets of worksheets and memorization, learning simply for the test. Students cram for a test then forget the information soon after. In most classes, students are not learning innovation or creation.
Of course, this is not universally true of Leesville. As aforementioned, classes like Digital Media encourage creation in a digital world, and in the end, Digital Media is most similar to what Thinkspace would look like at Leesville. Among the four core subjects, English can encourage students to contribute through writing — although they are also consuming written novels.
Thinkspace is a possible solution to adjusting education to fit a more technological world in need of creative people and a way to improve a student’s experience with technology and creation in high school — reforms that should happen to bring education to the next level. Essentially, the biggest problem is schools having to submit to standardized programs and policies, preventing creativity from flourishing and inhibiting students’ abilities to create something for the world. Thinkspace breaks the standardized box.
All high school students can benefit from creating in a millennial fashion and learning rather millennial skills with Thinkspace because it prepares them for a millennial workforce. The ability to work with computers, to create, to collaborate and to communicate are all skills students — and anyone — would benefit from learning and having that are kindled in a Thinkspace.
Programs like Thinkspace are the answer to the future.