ideas” as part of the new Advanced
Placement CS Principles (CSP) course.
In fact, variations of the word creative
appear 62 times within the AP CSP
Course and Exam Description. The
argument is that computing fosters
creativity by allowing individuals to
move from merely being consumers of
technology to building tools that can
have a significant impact on society.
The CSP course outlines how computing can enable people to not only use
computing for creative expression, but
also “extend traditional forms of human expression and experience.” 1 An
understanding and use of computing
COMPUTING HAS THE potential to provide users opportuni- ties to extend their creative xpression to solve prob- lems, create computational
artifacts, and develop new knowledge.
The pervasive nature of computing
and accessibility of digital tools is
also transforming K– 12 education as
students move from being mere consumers of content to engaging in the
subject matter by creating computational artifacts. Take Scratch, for example, which is one of the many tools
designed to teach kids to code, and
comes with varying levels of support
for educators implementing them in
both formal and informal learning
settings. Scratch provides students
with an opportunity to express their
creativity through stories, games,
and animations. While Scratch has
the potential to be a powerful tool,
it is often used as little more than a
presentation tool in the classroom.
Studies of Scratch users show that few
projects use variables or control flow
data structures. While the Scratch environment provides a ‘low floor, high
ceiling’ that allows beginners to dive
into the environment without frustration, many students do not advance
to a higher level. Tools like Scratch
can empower students to showcase
their creativity like never before; however, the way these tools are taught by
teachers and used by students significantly influences whether students
move along the creativity continuum.
While Scratch is widely used, we know
little about how it influences students’
K– 12 Computer Science
Education and Creativity
In his widely viewed TED talk, Sir Ken
Robinson severely criticized educational institutions, claiming that we
are “educating people out of their creativity.” Perhaps in response to this, or
perhaps just due to the recognition of
the importance of students developing creativity as they learn computer
science, the College Board has identified creativity as one of the seven “big
How creative thinking tools and computing
can be used to support creative human endeavors.
A prototype implementation of Scratch Blocks, from Google Developers Blog, in
collaboration with the MIT Media Lab’s Scratch Team.