One of the most important goals in any education system is to prepare students for the future. What skills are necessary to have in the future to cope with our rapidly changing society with many complex societal challenges?
Important 21st Century skills involve, for instance, new forms of (digital) literacies, creative problem solving skills, collaboration and communication skills, cultural and ethical awareness as well as entrepreneurship (http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework). Thus, it is crucial to understand how educational technologies can be used in novel and creative ways in order to help to engage learners.
In this project we investigate teacher’s and student’s creative use of technology for learning (e.g., VR, AR, robots) at different levels of education. When used constructively, technology allows students to engage in meaningful creative activities and expand their own learning potential through curiosity, wondering, collaboration, and critical thinking. However, educational technologies should not be ‘romanticised’ and it is useful to study also how their adoption and use can sometimes limit creative exploration.
Different technologies enable teachers to set up different learning scenarios for students, so that they can practice creative learning, and this allows the teacher to trace students’ reflective interactions. While for instance VR has been successfully used in a variety of contexts, there are untapped opportunities when it comes to introducing VR games in education, a task well worth exploring (cf. Virvou & Katsionis, 2008; Lee, 2012).
The projects addresses many research questions including: How can we understand creative learning practices? How can teachers use learning technologies in creative ways to improve learning? How are their learning designs for creative learning scenarios? How can technology help them do this in a collaborative manner to enhance the students´ collaborative skills? What kind of data about the learner, learning processes, and the learning environment can help us understand these practices? How can learning analytics give us insights into these creative knowledge processes?
The project thus fills a variety of knowledge gaps and holds a huge potential for developing students’ creative learning and in the end, their key competencies for the future. Both in education and in organisations everyone is increasingly concerned with preparing students (future leaders and employees) for the challenges of tomorrow (Rojewski, 2002).
The project is placed within a sociocultural approach to learning which starts from the premise of the interdependence between mind and context and proposes the cultural (symbolic and material, including technological) mediation of human action (Shweder, 1991). From this standpoint, creative learning can be defined in terms of situated activities that lead to the generation of new and meaningful perspectives in relation to particular problems. The fact that creativity and learning feed into each other has been convincingly argued for (Beghetto, 2016; Ness, 2020) and creative learning stands at the core of what defines human beings as active agents rather than passive recipients of existing cultural content. While rooted within sociocultural theory, the project very well will also be in dialogue with a series of other big paradigms within cognitive science, complexity theory, game theory, and learning analytics perspectives.