Some of you know that I am currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry through Rockbridge Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. Here's an honest disclaimer: if you're not an education nerd like me, these posts in the Rockbridge Series are probably not going to interest you. However, if you're are an education nerd like myself, you'll probably want to check back each Monday during this series.
Here's what's happening: in my final seminar of doctoral work, four fellow cohort members and myself have been tasked with providing a resource for churches and ministry organizations to understanding how to more effectively teach in an increasingly digital generation. While this was approached from a theological standpoint as a project, it has proven to be highly informative for secular educators and leaders as well. So for the next five weeks fellow cohort members will be guest writers here on my site to share what we're learning.
The principles share in this series are based on assertions made by authors Ian Jukes, Ted McCain, and Lee Crockett in their book Understanding the Digital Generation: Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape. They suggest that while educators will continue to teach traditional skills, there will be a shift in emphasis of importance for those skills (loc 1652). For instance, they write the following:
Good handwriting has long been valued by teachers as an important skill for student to acquire because that skill was critical for a paper-based note taking, letter writing, form completion, and report writing that was done in the 20th-centure industrial life. And while there are still cognitive benefits to learning to write by hand and good reasons to teach this skill to students as they go through school, we must face the fact that the emphasis on handwriting as a critical skill for the world at large has changed significantly over the last 20 years.
The world has shifted to a digital realm where writing is done almost exclusively using digital software tools. This means that handwriting is not nearly as important as a job skill today as it was in the past. It is important that teachers re-evaluate the importance of all the skill they have taught traditionally in light of the realities of the new digital world (Kindle loc. 1578).
With this considerable shift in mind, these posts in the Rockbridge Series will explore a essential skills in which people need to be fluent in order to function a world full of technology today. These are the skills that leaders and educators in both Christian and secular realms need to consider when engaging with their students or followers.
THIS WEEK'S SKILL: CREATIVITY FLUENCY
Definition: “Creative fluency is the process by which artistic proficiency adds meaning to virtually every product and organization in existence by using innovative design, art, and visual appeal, and storytelling. It regards form in addition to function, and the principles of innovative design with a quality functioning product.” (Jukes, McCain & Crockett, 2010, p.66).
A New Learning Style: Creative fluency extends beyond the basic visual creative skills to include readings, saying, hearing and doing. Participation is the key that engages students in the central concepts and principles of a course. To reach today’s digital generation, teachers must focus on the problem first, then teach the lesson.
Important to Remember: Creativity is a skill that can be taught and learned like any other skill. It is a whole brain process that involves both hemispheres working together. The arts are no longer ornamental, they are fundamental. There is creativity deep within all of us, and Creativity Fluency will help you make it shine (Globaldigitalcitizen.org 10.22.16).
The Five I’s of Creativity Fluency:
- Identify the desired outcome and criteria. This involves distinguishing the elements and the criteria of the desired outcome, and figuring out what you need to create and what limits or restrictions you face.
- Inspire your creativity with rich sensory information. In this stage, the adventure begins by stimulating your creativity with rich sensory input. This can include thinking about your memories, flipping through a magazine, going to a museum, watching a play, looking at photo books or web sites, taking a walk, meditating, brainstorming over coffee, checking out a bookstore, or listening to music similar to what the outcome might look like.
- Interpolate means to find a structured pattern within known information, then connect the dots within the inspiration that aligns your desired outcome and criteria from Identify.
- Imagine is the synthesis between the stages of Inspire and Interpolate, uniting in the birth of an idea. The unification of these stages result in the birth of your idea, or your “Aha!” moment.
- Inspect the idea against the original criteria for feasibility. With your new creative idea now a reality, you must measure it against the original criteria and determine its feasibility. The questions to ask yourself center around the effectiveness and feasibility of the new idea, and if it can be accomplished within an existing timeframe and budget.
The question is: “How can I as a ministry teacher or leader apply creativity fluency into my Bible studies, sermons, or lessons?
The Book of James holds deep within it one of the key ideas of creatively teaching today’s digitals. The author of the Book of James is thought to be the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:13). James was a man of stature and great influence in his day. The Apostle Paul called him a “pillar of the church” in Galatians 2:9. When Peter was rescued from prison, he told his friends to go and to tell James (Acts 12:17). James was also one of the select individuals that Christ appeared to after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7).
What lesson does the Book of James hold for us today? We must understand that James is a book characterized by its emphasis on vital Christianity, characterized by good deeds and a faith that works. James states that a genuine faith must and will be accompanied by a consistent life-style. In James 1:22 we read, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (NIV).
Today’s digital generation will not learn God’s Word by just listening, they need help in the “doing” part of James 1:22. If we, as teachers and leaders of today’s digital generation want to reach them for Christ, and then guide them towards spiritual maturity, we need to master the art of creatively teaching them how to “do” God’s Word until it becomes a life-style to them. This generation will not learn from just listening, they need to participate in hands-on application of the given lesson.
THIS WEEK'S GUEST WRITER: RANDY GRIMES
Randy is a 3rd year Rockbridge D.Min. student from Roseburg, Oregon. He is bi-vocational and works full-time as a Principal Broker for Century 21 Real Estate, then serves part-time as a small groups consultant and ministry intern at Redeemers Fellowship in Roseburg, Oregon. You can email Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org.