Tips & Tricks

Get Creative or don’t be Boring

The story on Einstein and the painting say a little bit on how one of our greatest minds looked at his work and it revealed a little of the man behind the myth. And when we look at Einstein further I can hear the faint cry, “be Creative” in the distance. Another saying I have held close of Einstein’s is the one he had stated when questioned on whether or not his work would disprove the existence of God, he responded, “My mission is not to disprove God’s existence but to discover the wonder of His creation.” So as we are pursuing our mission we hear that faint cry, “be Creative” too!

Creativity, I look at it in the world of learning as how we address presenting the content for the learner to assimilate it into their lives. The old maxim of “the Mind can absorb only what the fanny can endure” can be taken literally, but really it translates to boredom doesn’t it? Engagement is the war cry and boredom is the enemy. So to eliminate boredom, or extend fanny time we need to design learning experiences that are less boring. So where do we go to learn to not be boring I’m sorry, to be Creative? Can we even learn to be creative?

I always associate creativity with the arts; music, paintings sculpture, you know art, where all the really creative people are. Well we saw that Einstein looked at his work like an artist seeing his work in some contexts as a picture. So if we think of creative people as being in the arts then why not look there. Myself, I have played guitar in a band and when you play the same thing over and over again night after night for years that is not creative it is work! And we had to do it because we were hired to get people up on a dance floor and get them moving etc. So when did we ever have a chance to get creative? Jam Sessions! From time to time we would have some time to just play around or have some friends over, if they were near us and just goof around. Since we were not performing and did not have to entertain or engage an audience we could mess around and be creative. We’d take a chord progression and just play and every one would do an impromptu solo.

Really this is a simple act to pull off all you need to know is the key you are playing in and some scales and there are all sorts of standard melodic progressions (AKA Licks) to play with and then all it is, is piecing them all together on the fly. Fun! No longer boring because you don’t know what you’ll do next but the odds are you have already done it before, just not in this key or with this rhythm. The neat thing is that you learn a little and next time you are playing the same song night after night there maybe something you take away with you from the Jam Session to incorporate in that tune. By the time we finished several years on the road the Doobie Brother’s Long Train Running didn’t sound anything like the record as did most of what we did, except for Shake Your Booty by KC and the Sunshine band! Yea we had to play that! The point is we already knew the things we would use but due to the environment we were in and the fact we were there for fun it just flowed.

So how does this effect what we are doing today? As we go through our daily routine we look for the times we can “Jam” and add a little bit of something we have already done before but maybe use a different video, or new art work and maybe we take some liberty with the content and change the rhyme and meter yet say the same thing. We could ask some silly questions on a quiz or have an interactivity that takes a student to a different place than expected. We throw in the uniqueness of who we are and press the envelop a little. And when we have to come back and play the same songs again we can add a little something that will make it our own and we may have created something that is easier on the fanny, not boring or maybe even creative. Our slogan is “Zenler the art of interactive e-Learning” and we are pursuing our craft with the passion and focus of, well maybe not Einstein, but let’s say an Eric Clapton, Yo Yo Ma, Carlos Santana, J. K. Rowling or even a JRR Tolkien. Now we’re jamming!!!

About the author

Tom Burton