At SchoolAmanda Vaden
A teacher works with her class on a painting with Sphero robots at a table.
Creativity. It's been criticized, overlooked, and misconstrued. Of course creativity can translate to artistic talents, but you can also be a creative mathematician, historian, teacher, and yes, even a creative programmer. Sphero robots and educational STEM kits teach coding and 21st century literacy, but they also go beyond code and foster creativity.

Check out some of our research on the importance of creativity and why cultivating those skills is the very heart and soul of Sphero.

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value.

CREATIVITY CRISIS

Several tests have been developed to measure creativity and creative capacity. Children who have succeeded on these tests have also had high rates of success as entrepreneurs, authors, doctors, and software developers. However, recent analysis of test scores shows a significant drop in students' creativity. Concerned? We sure are.

TORRANCE TEST OF CREATIVE THINKING (TTCT)

Example task: Participants are given a sheet of paper with Xs, and are then asked to draw as many pictures incorporating the X as possible. This is one out of many verbal and non-verbal tasks in Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.
Example of Torrance Test of Creative Thinking

TTCT TEST SCORING

Analysis of >300,000 American K—12 students TTCT scores
The responses to each task are scored according to several criteria. Researchers have noted a downturn in children's' scores in several areas, beginning in the 1990s.
Graph of frequency score declining from 1990 to 2008
FLUENCY

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF INTERPRETABLE, MEANINGFUL, AND RELEVANT IDEAS GENERATED IN RESPONSE TO THE TASK.

Graph of originality score declining from 1990 to 2008
ORIGINALITY

THE STATISTICAL RARITY OF THE RESPONSES.

Graph of elaboration score declining from 1990 to 2008
ELABORATION

THE AMOUNT OF DETAIL IN.

 

DIVERGENT THINKING DROP OFF

Divergent thinking is not the same thing as creativity, but it is essential for creativity to thrive. It is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. A divergent thinking test (originally developed by George Land for NASA to identify the most creative scientists) was given to children starting at the age of 5, and again to the same children at ages 10 and 15. The result showed a major decline in the number of kids performing at a genius level. That... is a big bummer.

Sample prompt

Come up with as many uses for paper clips as you can.

Average person can come up with 10-15. Geniuses come up with more that 100.

% SCORING AT GENIUS LEVEL

Longitudinal Study of 1,600 School Kids

Graph showing 5 year olds: 98% geniuses. 10 year olds: 30% geniuses. 15 year olds: 12% geniuses. Adults: 2% geniuses.

CULTIVATING CREATIVITY

At Sphero, we want creativity to blossom, not wither. A major IBM survey showed that CEO’s feel creativity is critical for success. Luckily, creativity can be developed and learned through the cultivation of cognitive skills and enabling kids to explore and discover for themselves. While embracing the necessity for coding skills in future professions, our Education program is also designed to foster creativity and discovery from K-12, or even K-Career. How? We’re glad you asked.

MORE PLAY

Good news for kids AND parents about play – it's essential to the development of creative thinking skills. The bad news – a possible reason for the decline in creativity is that children’s free-play time in the U.S. has dropped an estimated 25% since 1981. So start learning and playing with Sphero & littleBits today!

Your Brain on Play generating new ideas.

MORE STEAM

The STEAM movement isn't about spending 20% less time on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to make room for art. It is about applying creative thinking and design skills to said STEM subjects, deepening student learning. And guess what, the Sphero Edu App is full of activities that incorporate the arts. So go embrace that A.

SPHERO EDU STEAM ACTIVITIES

Various STEAM activities.

MORE CODE

Left brain or right brain? Use both! Learning to code allows kids to use their analytical left-brain skills in combination with their imaginative right-brain skills. Collaborative, hands-on, and project-based learning with Sphero robots and the Lightning Lab app exercise whole brain thinking, enhancing students’ creativity and interpersonal skills.

Your Brain on Code. Activating imaginative and analytical parts of your brain.

WORDS TO CREATE BY

Because everyone loves inspirational quotes... A few big brains out there had some thoughts on creativity, coding, and education. They've inspired us and we hope they inspire you, too.

Quotes about creativity and coding.

THE TAKE AWAY

The decline in creativity is an issue we want to help mitigate at Sphero EDU through play, robotics, coding, and STEAM activities. We see programming as an open-ended form of art – it’s not a “nerd thing” anymore, nor was it ever. The divergent thinking and creativity our robots and app nurture are widely seen as valuable, if not necessary, skills for one’s future. So get inspired, get coding, and get creative.

MAKE & KEEP MAKING.

SOURCES
At school