Why we started the project?
Creativity has been in the focus of arts education in a broad sense, but it is only in the last decades that educational reform leaders started to consider it a key issue for "everyday education", regardless of school subjects or areas, a factor that can have a decisive impact even on the learners’ academic achievement.
Social media and TED speeches have made the topic “fashionable”, but several schools are still far from adapting the creative practice principles as part of their everyday work.
Teacher training and teacher in-service training across Europe focuses on this issue in various ways, but few of them have a special focus on enhancing school environment (both the physical and the pedagogical environment) to support creativity.
Soon after creativity and innovation has become "hot topic" in scientific literature and education development, researchers identified some best practices in the area, most of them located in the USA and Finland, few of them in other parts of the Globe, even fewer in Europe. These practices have been presented (mostly in English language) and school teachers/principals are motivated by diverse policy initiatives and online community facilitators to apply these best practices. EDUTOPIA and HUNDRED.ORG are two of the very numerous teacher/educator communities, both of them accessible in English (hundred.org in Finnish too).
Less is known however about the success of these methods once adapted by a school in another environment, another country, another part of the world. Do they indeed work if "derooted" from their environment, if yes, what should "gardeners" be most careful about when "re-planting" these initiatives?
The present project aims to clearly show the transnational learning results by creating a community of teachers who reflect upon their learning experience, apply what they have learnt and are happy to share their learning with other colleagues across their countries and Europe. Therefore the platform we create will be multilingual (with content translated into the partner countries' languages) and will be inhabited by content that can be shared within other platforms and communities as well.
This project will bring the teachers participating in it to a training provided by the Teacher Training Faculty of the University of Jylaskyla in Finland, where they can not only learn from “first hand” about the most successful approaches in learning for creativity, but they will also have the chance to visit schools, talk to Finnish colleagues and to eye-witness educational practices based on principles that promote creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and collaborative problem solving.
Once these teachers will have attended this blended (online training completed with a 5 days study visit) training, they will reflect on their learning experience, share the experience with other colleagues and initiate projects in their schools, so that the results of their work is available for other teachers too and encourages implementation of creative practices and tools across the participating countries and beyond them.
While at the moment there are several platforms for sharing ideas and tools among teachers, we are not knowledgeable of any network that would focus on the process of uptake of creativity method and measures AND would have true multi-lingual materials. As the interest towards the Finnish education system is immense everywhere in Europe, we expect that a platform that is rooted in this system, but has springs in several European languages, will raise considerable interest from the teachers’ side.
Another innovative element of the project will be the Online creativity assesment tool for teachers and the Creativity accelerator teachers' Guide.