In “Where We Go From Here – Combine Education and Technology for Creativity,” a guest column for online economic development journal Exchange, Larry Kilham writes about the connection between technology, imagination, and education. He remarks early in the article, “There is a need for a new kind of thinking in the face of the recently available mountains of data.” In other words, now that computers and the Internet have made so much information so easily accessible, what skill set is in demand? That of imagination (as Eric Liu and I state in Imagination First). With this in mind, Kilham points out a problem in education: the most imaginatively inclined students are sometimes the most impatient with structured classroom time, which leads them to disengage from school or even drop out. And the content knowledge that they lose by disengaging, often technical in nature, ends up costing them when they come under the scrutiny of employers—who, ironically, value fresh and unusual ideas. Kilham proposes two responses to this challenge: we must “[g]et children interested in creative accomplishment at an early age and keep them focused on this,” and we must also ensure that students with expansive minds who don’t adapt well to conventional classrooms receive the education they need. The author returns in the end to the big picture, noting that the charged combination of today’s technological resources and the major difficulties currently facing the world means that “creativity has never been more important than it is now.” Indeed—and the stepping-stone to creativity is imagination.
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