Motivation. This is a key concept in how well we do in many areas of our lives. The more motivated you are, the better you will learn. The more motivated you are, the better you will play sport. The more motivated you are, the more you will get done. The more motivated you are the more creative you will be. And this is not a secret. We know this. Social may be the hot topic at the moment but it is now fading. The next hot topic I predict will be motivation.
With every hot new fad that takes the world by storm a discovery is made. That discovery is a new model by which we understand the world to operate. A fresh perspective.
An area of interest to me is education so I'm going to focus on this area. But these ideas can be easily transplanted into other areas too. There seem to be two 'magical' areas in education at the moment:
And presumably effective use of technology will increase engagement and our students will be brighter.
I don't believe it
Don't get me wrong. I do believe that technology, used effectively, can provide for great learning. And engagement is something I desire in my activities. But the general model I see is wrong. At the moment we seem to have something along the lines of:
Tool -> Result
Technology -> Engagement
The problem is that technology is not a tool but a resource and engagement is not a result but an effect. As a result, we are not using technology in ways that get the most value. We are getting engagement but it is not necessarily in the right direction. Motivation sounds great but there is no room for it in this current model.
For instance, a common activity I see is for educators to take their students to the library and say "I would like you to go on the computers and use the internet to research X". They go off and the teacher is happy as the students look engaged. The students are engaged, but in what? I can almost guarantee you that several of them have gone to their favourite games or social networking sites. Others have just blindly typed the question or topic into Google, clicked the first result, copy and paste, done. Some have just gotten distracted and gone off looking at other stuff. etc.
Another activity. Let's use technology to create a presentation. Most likely, the majority of students will create presentations with qualities like this. And sadly I know quite a few teachers who give similar presentations to their classes.
The problem with both these activities is that yes the students are engaged but is that engagement towards motivation, or distraction or something else?
We need a new model
Creative thinking is great because it allows us to find new perspectives, to create new models to work off. I think the above model is a good starting piont but needs to be expanded to get at the true underlying principle. Here is my new proposed model:
Resource - > Tool - > Effect -> Result
Technology -> Activity -> Engagement -> Motivation
As an educator I want to motivate the students to learn. I will get this by engaging the students in a way that adds value. This will be done by way of activities that are fun and provide paths in the right direction. Technology may be used in order to facilitate these activities.
This is a great example of a useful creative process. By questioning the current process and uncovering the real underlying principle I was able to see holes in our current perspective. Changing this perspective allowed me to factor in new components and create a new model or process. This now can shape my actions and be a foundation for new and better ideas.
Now, this model represents my opinion on how the system should be represented. A model is not a law but an observation. So, do you agree with my model? If not then I encourage you to state why it's flawed and contribute your own model.
You're on your way to becoming a Highly Creative Person.