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UCDSB Celebrates World Creativity and Innovation Day
UCDSB Celebrates World Creativity and Innovation Day
Posted on 04/21/2022
UCDSB Celebrates World Creativity and Innovation Day

April 21 is World Creativity and Innovation Day! From Makey Makey and MakeDo kits to finding creative ways to spark curiosity and learning from students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, each day Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB), students and educators engage in creative and innovative learning.  

Central Public School teacher, Andie Page, bringsStudents learning experiential learning to the forefront in her Grade 5 Core French class. With the help of Blue-Bot robots, students engaged in a fun learning experience all while enhancing their French language skills.  

Blue-Bots are small robots where students press command keys to send their robot forward and back, left and right and learn counting, sequencing, directionality, problem-solving, and estimation. These robots blink and beep engagingly to provide feedback as it follows a program.  

The task she gave to her class was to design a map that their Blue-Bot could travel. It could be of a town, city, or even a rural area, it could be realistic or fictional, but it had to include five different structures; a school, a hospital, a restaurant, a grocery store, and a park. Students also had to use French words.  

Students learning “It's creating what's familiar to students. They're familiar with the digital world, especially after the last two years so, bringing what they are familiar with and applying it in a hands-on activity bridges that gap,” Page explained. “Kids are naturally curious and when you create that safe space, then they can be innovative, they can problem-solve, and they can find the solution.”  

For the activity, she had the students go back to the fundamentals of the French curriculum, which included the cardinal directions - North, South, East, West and had them give and receive directions. The activity had a major focus on listening and writing and wasn’t a one-day task. In fact, it took two weeks of French classes and started off with vocabulary, practicing in the classroom, and mapping it out on paper. Once they had their maps planned out, and their vocabulary had been reviewed, each group was provided with a robot.

“It went really well,” she explained. “The kids picked it up really quickly and it’s so innate for them. They're coding and they don't even realize that they are. It's just getting their brains accustomed to having to put all the instructions in before pressing go.”  

“I really liked it because we got to design our own map for our robot,” said Grade 5 student Cloey St-Denis. “The interesting part was that we were also learning French while during it.”

Students at several other UCDSB schools are Students learning using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robotics kits to learn about robotics and coding, Duncan J. Schoular Elementary School in Smiths Falls, in particular. The intermediate students are learning how to program robots, how to use different sensors; touch ultrasonic, and colour to detect objects that are in front of the robot and programming the robot to move accordingly. Part of the learning enables students to work on and develop problem-solving skills and the science behind coding.

Students learning Creativity and innovation cover a lot of areas in education and the tools used play a small part in that learning. Cameron Jones, Vice-Principal of Student Success and Real-World Learning, says it’s what you do with those tools that provides students with the ability to be innovative and creative.

“You might have an entry point where students are coding using robots, but the intent of that entry point is to understand how children learn and how they see the world, plus to solve problems that they are concerned about, understanding how to use technology as a tool, and guide students to making contributions in the world.”  

Another example of an exciting learning experience for students is working alongside Juno-nominated singer/songwriter Craig Cardiff to make original music. Creating the music virtually and primarily using digital instruments, students are learning a variety of platforms including Soundtrap and Adobe Creative Cloud and when complete, releasing it on Apple Music and Spotify, the same as a professional musician would.  

“One of the things that we really want to promote at UCDSB is authentic real-world learning and what it looks like or how we might define that. It starts with asking students ‘what challenges would you like to work on?’ and then having students actually make the contribution in the communities that they live,” explained Jones. “We are seeing a lot of very cool agriculturally connected projects going on in our schools. Schools are thinking about food insecurity, and how the learning that we do can actually work towards finding solutions to the problem.

Creativity and innovation are everywhere at UCDSB, and we look forward to continuing to share the great opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. 

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