Understanding creativity and the role of technology in education: a tri-modal approach

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Creativity is widely viewed as pivotal to 21st Century education, and thus is frequently connected with technology. However, creativity continues to be ill defined, difficult to recognise and even harder to systematically develop in students and in teachers. This paper proposes a new way of understanding creativity, with an eye toward technology in education settings. The authors propose that creativity has three modes of operation and emergence: the Visceral (embodiments), the Ideational (mind and conceptual) and the Observational (critical, economic and social). This paper presents creativity dynamically and cohesively as representing individual creative experience and output, in embodied ways with technology in education, as well as recognising what externally shapes, enhances and constrains creative experience and productivity systemically. Technology is at the core of the operation of these three modes. The paper also focuses on issues of power, control and discourse about what is deemed to be creative, including creative gatekeeping practices in educational settings. The tri-modal model of creativity offers a cross-disciplinary framework, one with relevance to a range of educational contexts. We share a practice example from literacy education, and its integration with technology, to illustrate the operation of the model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSITE 2018
Subtitle of host publication29th International Conference - Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education
EditorsElizabeth Langran, Jered Borup
Place of PublicationWaynesville NC USA
PublisherAssociation for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781939797322
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventSociety for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2018 - Washington, United States of America
Duration: 26 Mar 201830 Mar 2018
Conference number: 29th


ConferenceSociety for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleSITE 2018
CountryUnited States of America


  • Creativity
  • Embodied
  • Visceral mode
  • Ideational mode
  • Observational mode
  • Critique
  • Risk
  • Gatekeeping
  • Technology
  • Literacy

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