[IAEP] Creativity dynamics embedded into the Sugar Learning Platform

Diego Uribe duribel at gmail.com
Wed Nov 18 17:27:48 EST 2009

Hello Community, 

I am Diego Uribe, creativity & innovation consultant and researcher at the International Center for Studies in Creativity, Buffalo, NY. 
Not too long ago, I approached Walter Bender with the challenge/opportunity of making Sugar a Trojan Horse for delivering specific creativity heuristics to young learners. 
That is, embedding at the core of the Sugar architecture creativity core dynamics (such as divergent thinking operators and convergent thinking operators) in such a way that a young learner will exercise by deliberate design his creativity skills while immersed and learning in the Sugar environment. An example of the above would be that when using the write activity, the system encourages the learner to produce several versions by suggestion possible ways in which he or she could do a transformation to his narrative (to better understand this, click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObwyI5AnZXE). The learner could then select the one he finds more original and useful among the many versions produced. The same dynamics could even be extend into the collaboration model and all other activities within the Sugar ecology.

Note that this doesn't mean that as of now Sugar is not fertile creative environment; On the contrary, we are leveraging already the rich and flexible platform by embedding by design creativity heuristics. 
Simply put, let's not leave creativity to chance but make a deliberate act to make it happen.

Before even considering redesigning the whole architecture, we want to test this by embedding one creativity divergent thinking tool, namely SCAMPER, into turtle art.
SCAMPER is an acronym for a series of permutations that allow to produce large and diverse quantities of options: Substitute; Combine: Adapt; Modify/Magnify/Minimize; Put to other uses; Eliminate; Rearrange/Reverse

We hypothesize that learners operating under the SCAMPER + Turtle art activity will produce more creative output than learners operating under the normal Turtle art activity. 
As of now, we have recently applied for a NSF Creative IT grant to fund the development, testing and research protocol of this idea. If we find empirical evidence that we can train creativity skills through embedded heuristics in Sugar, we have an unprecedented opportunity to effectively train learners creativity skills all around the world. 

However, we do not want to wait until we hear back from NSF to keep moving this initiative forward. This is an invitation to whomever is interested in collaborating to plug in, join the conversation and help advance this project. Feel free to contact me at: duribel at gmail.com


Diego Uribe

MS in Creativity and Change Leadership

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