Designing Creative Classrooms

"The principal goal of education," argued Jean Piaget, "is to create people who are creative, inventive, and discoverers." How do K–12 computing teachers support this goal in practice through the design of classroom activities?

In this project, we have been investigating the instructional practices of 25 K–12 computing teachers, using interviews, classroom observation, and reflective journaling to develop understandings of how these teachers support student-directed projects in their classrooms. Our analysis is guided by a constructionist perspective of learning—an approach that emphasizes the value of developing learner agency and community through learning designs that support personalizing, creating, sharing, and reflecting as central activities.

This is an active project, with additional resources and publications forthcoming. In the meantime, you can learn more about teachers' work of designing creative classrooms in early results shared in the readings and resources recommended below. You can learn more about constructionism as a theoretical and analytical frame by exploring the syllabus for T550, our HGSE course about constructionism.

Additional Readings and Resources
  • Brennan, K., Blum-Smith, S., Peters, L., & Kang, J. M. (2022). Designing for student-directedness: How K–12 teachers utilize peers to support projects. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 22(2), 1–18.
  • When Teachers Make Room for Their Own Curiosity They Defend It for Children, February 2020 KQED Mind/Shift article
  • Peters, L., Sadeh, S., & Brennan, K. (2020). Surfacing teachers’ aspirations and decisions through digital design journals. In M. Gresalfi & I. S. Horn (Eds), Proceedings of The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2020: Vol. 4 (pp. 2363–2364). PDF
  • Brennan, K. (2015). Beyond right or wrong: Challenges of including creative design activities in the classroom. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 23(3), 279–299.
This work was made possible with support from Siegel Family Endowment.​