Students, grades, and creativity–A Thought from Student Academy

I’m at UMW’s Student Academy, an annual presentation of information technologies created by students in and out of their courses, and I wanted to comment on a statement a student presenter just made:*

“I don’t want to experiment too much if it’s for a grade….”

What are the implications of this statement for teaching and learning? The student was referring to the differences between his approach to class digital projects, versus his own digital projects that he’s done outside of the classroom. Is this a problem for us as teachers? Is the need for grading something inherently squelching of creativity? I don’t think so, but I’ll be more conscious of the need to create at least some assignments that balance requirements with the flexibility to exercise creativity.

*[I hope to blog on some of the specific presentations later. Check out Ben’s Astounding Essays, or Amanda’s great blog about Sylvia Plath, for places to start.]

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