So, what stood out the most for me in the first five paragraphs of the reading was the term creative citizenship, and the sentence it goes with: “[…]higher education largely failed to empower the strong and effective imagination that students need for creative citizen ship in this new medium.” I’ve never heard this term creative citizenship before, and I’m not sure if it is being used a lot online – but I thought it was genious, and the concept of educational institutions instilling in us a set og skills that would help us do the most with this citizenship is one that really struck a chord with me.
I think the Internet is amazing. I think computers and gadgets and all their seemingly infinite possibilities are fascinating and awesome. I love exploring these possibilities, whether it’s finding a new way to code my blog to present my content in a better way, or finding a new software to edit photos, or text, or a new platform for communication. The amount of time I spend cursing myself for not choosing an educational path that would teach me how to even further benefit from all these possibilities is more than I would care to count.
This brings me to one of the points the particular quote made me think of. What am I supposed to expect from teachers, within my educational path, to actually teach me that will improve my creative citizenship? On one hand, educators and educational instituions are trying to bring technology into the classroom, moving from chalkboard to powerpoints and from handwirtten papers to the electronically typed up kind. On one hand, they are introducing us to technology – and one can argue if that alone isn’t enough. After all, nothing about my major is actually specifically geared towards learning about technology. I haven’t signed up for graphic or web design (hence the cursing) – so why should I expect my educators to provide me that knowledge?
Yet on the other hand, at the rate and direction society is developing, one can argue that even if it’s not withing your educational path, you need this new set of skills. In elementary school we were all ushered into the computer room to learn how to use Excel and Powerpoint, again in junior high and I got a redo of Excel in high school as well for my practical mathematics class. These were softwares that were considered essential for me to know – but I was never fully taught the extent of which it could be used. I find that regretable because in a way I’m then lacking complete literacy in a program which is often considered a plus when applying for jobs.
Sure, there are many things that, if I really wanted t,o I could learn how to do it myself. For example, I’m self taught in Photoshop and after six or so years of learning by trial and error, and looking at tutorials online, I find myself to be pretty darn good at it (or someone who isn’t actually in a major that requires it). I’m sure that if I dedicated more of my time to learning Illustrator or coding, I could probably learn that too. I probably wouldn’t be able to compete with someone who has a degree in it, but I’d have a fighting chance.
Now, I know what I’ve written so far seems a bit all over the place, but I’ll try to summarize logically. Yes, I do think education institutions should help introduce you to technological tools that are important for society today. I do think they need to introduce us to the creative possibilities those tools give us. I think they need to stimulate us; if only so that we don’t go nuts during the school day. However, I don’t think it’s an educational institutions obligation to give you and in depth course in each and every technology considering the endless amount of things you can learn, and how rapidly new technologies are coming out. There just wouldn’t be time; nor do I think it’s in everyone’s interest, at least not in general education. Do I need to learn Photoshop if I’m studying Biology? I’m not too sure. However, I think the program should be introduced to me, briefly, and from there on I have the option to pursue it on my own lest I choose to switch to a creative major.
In sum: technology and creativity in school is good, encouraging creativity is good, but if you want a school day full of it – it partly falls on you to follow a path that will fullfil that.
…which is why I curse myself fo being a comm major at this university ><