Creativity in Science education: Building bridges for deeper learning
Creativity, or in others words, the ability of individuals to use their minds to generate new ideas, new possibilities and new inventions based on originality in its production is considered one of humanity’s most important traits. Introducing creativity and critical thinking in every day school practices is of primary importance, considering that the world, as we know it, is the result of the creative thinking of certain individuals, and that the progress in all human aspects and scientific fields is based on the development of new ideas and new ways of seeing reality. Science is one of the disciplines where creativity has a primary role. As Einstein and Infeld claimed: “Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world” Developing students’ scientific creativity can be crucial for them in order to handle the challenges and uncertainties of their future lives. Given that imagination and creativity are considered central to the nature of science, a good science education cannot help but foster students’ imaginative skills and creativity.
On the other hand training in the arts has been shown to improve creativity and innovation. Students learn to approach issues with a critical mind and a positive attitude towards problem solving. Exposure to the arts enhances communication skills, which are essential tools for collaboration. It develops flexibility and adaptability. In such an approach the artificial barriers developed over years among subject areas could be eliminated and students will be given a broader context for solving real‐life problems, which demands the development of analytical, interpretive and evaluative skills used in many subject‐matter areas. This kind of learning of greater value to students and is increasingly considered as a high stake global educational priority. Therefore the combination of those two disciplines appears to be significant interesting, in regard with the present and future of science education.
The value of the arts in STEM disciplines has long been recognized. Pythagoras characterized his fellow mathematicians with the comment, “we are poets” and Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, commented that pioneer scientists must have “a vivid intuitive imagination, for new ideas are not generated by deduction, but by artistically creative imagination”. The multifaceted issues and complex problems served by scientific thinkers today require 21st century professionals who go beyond disciplinary content and are also creative thinkers who can work between disciplines. Teaching and learning that connects the arts and sciences is essential, because historical evidence demonstrates that these connections are already innate for the most effective and innovative STEM practitioners. Art studies leave a positive impact that lasts a lifetime. The positive results are sometimes seen years after studying these subjects. A good example is noted in a study that found an interesting correlation between art and career advancements in future. The study revealed that STEM students who successfully filed for patents or opened their businesses were exposed to art studies as children. In fact, they were eight times more likely to have studied the arts as young children compared to the average person.
A school that combines science and the arts in everyday school practices is an engaging environment for the students as well as the teachers and can set the cornerstone for the effective introduction of innovation in education. These schools can become incubators of exploration and invention. They can become accelerators of innovation. This can be done with the promotion of Open Schooling. School leaders set a vision for creating learning experiences that provide the right tools and supports for all learners to thrive. Teachers should be collaborators in learning, seeking new knowledge and constantly acquiring new skills alongside their students.
These schools would create opportunities for students to develop the six Deeper Learning competencies which were first introduced by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and that are essential to prepare students to achieve at high levels.
- Master core academic content. Students develop and draw from a baseline understanding of knowledge in an academic discipline and are able to transfer knowledge to other situations.
- Think critically and solve complex problems. Students apply tools and techniques gleaned from core subjects to formulate and solve problems. These tools include data analysis, statistical reasoning and scientific inquiry as well as creative problem solving, nonlinear thinking and persistence.
- Work collaboratively. Students cooperate to identify and create solutions to academic, social, vocational and personal challenges.
- Communicate effectively. Students clearly organize their data, findings and thoughts in both written and oral communication.
- Learn how to learn. Students monitor and direct their own learning.
- Develop academic mindset. Students develop positive attitudes and beliefs about themselves as learners that increase their academic perseverance and prompt them to engage in productive academic behaviors. Students are committed to seeing work through to completion, meeting their goals and doing quality work allowing them to search for solutions and overcome obstacles
The concept of deeper learning has been used both to describe a set of competencies or educational objectives and to characterize a way of learning (or a process) that promotes these competencies. As a process, deeper learning is in alignment with concepts such us Critical thinking and problem solving, Creative thinking and innovation, Collaboration, and Communication
It is evident that a holistic approach to (science) education is needed.
It is important to foster collaboration between formal, non-formal and informal education providers, enterprises and civil society in order to integrate the concept of open schooling, including all educational levels, in science education. “Open schooling” where schools, in cooperation with other stakeholders, become an agent of community well-being shall be promoted; families shall be encouraged to become real partners in school life and activities; professionals from enterprises and civil and wider society should actively be involved in bringing real-life projects to the classroom. Partnerships that foster expertise, networking, sharing and applying science and technology research findings across different enterprises (start-ups, SMEs, larger corporations) shall be promoted.
THE CITY OF ATHENS
Within the sprawling city of Athens it is easy to imagine the Golden Age of Greece when Pericles had the Parthenon built, when the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were performed in the Theater of Dionysus and when democracy brought all citizens together to decide their common fate on the Pynx Hill. Each year, more and more travelers are choosing Athens for their leisure and business travel all year round. There are several reasons; Athens offers a variety of things to see and do, and most of the times, under favorable weather conditions. Athens is considered one of Europe’s safest capitals; its transportation network is user-friendly; there are numerous museums and archeological sites and hundreds of restaurants to satisfy every taste.
Characterized by a culture and people that are welcoming and hospitable, every visitor just feels at home in Athens. The glorious Athens of antiquity is becoming synonymous with that of its contemporary counterpart.
Athens is an ideal congress destination, combining state-of-the-art infrastructure, excellent conference facilities and easy access from all over the world with world-class cultural attractions, modern amenities, diverse entertainment and natural beauty. Most hotels in Athens underwent extensive renovation in preparation of the 2004 Olympic Games, a great benefit for contemporary visitors that can enjoy comfortable and stylish accommodation combined with outstanding services.
Surrounded by a lining of stunning seas and mountains, Athens is filled with gems just waiting to be discovered. The Saronic Gulf, which, due to its proximity to Athens, is the prime yacht charter area in Greece, surrounds the west coasts of Athens and Attica.
During the last two decades, a construction of advanced wastewater treatment facilities has resulted in a spectacular recovery of water quality in the Saronic Gulf. Visitors can now enjoy numerous beach and bathing establishments which are in operation from Palaio Faliro to Sounion.
To be confirmed.