Creativity in education is more important than ever in the innovation age, where it’s not so much what we know but how we use what we know.

At San Lorenzo Unified School District, our 12-hour teacher tech academies are centered on the 4 C’s: collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. I ask teachers to introduce themselves by stating their name, site, grade or subject and the “C” that is of greatest interest to them. Invariably, a good percentage choose creativity.

Teaching creativity seems to present a catch-22. Teachers who don’t consider themselves to be particularly creative don’t think they can teach their students to be creative. On the other hand, highly creative teachers find it difficult to articulate how they developed their creativity, much less prescribe a strategy for passing creativity along to others.

Creativity is more than being artistic or expressive. Creativity is the ability to make new things or think of new ideas. It’s not limited to the fine arts or performing arts. It must be part of everything we endeavor to do, especially in the innovation age. Creativity in education cannot simply be about changing STEM to STEAM by adding an “A” for art. It must be a reason for collaboration, a hallmark of communication and a result of critical thinking.

About the Author:

Sharon “Sam” Sakai-Miller, Ed.D, is the author of Innovation Age Learning: Empowering Students by Empowering Teachers. She serves as director of technology integration services at San Lorenzo Unified School District near Oakland, California.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the ISTE blog and is reposted here with permission.