PALESTINE — Palestine Independent School District is at the forefront of a national research initiative highlighting creativity, innovation thinking and problem-solving learning in schools, according to a presentation made Thursday to the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce.
Lucinda Presley, executive director of the Institute where Creativity Empowers Education Success (ICEE), explained to attendants why innovation-based learning was important, followed by details of PISD's involvement in a growing national research collaborative with ambitious goals for the future.
Presley said the vision is to prepare “an innovation workforce” by teaching students more than just what to know, but how to learn.
“We know education ultimately affects the workforce, but it is now directly tied to our nation’s economic position in the global economy,” she said. “So that's why the White House and all the federal agencies are really, really focusing on innovation thinking and trying to find ways to integrate this with standardized-test learning.”
Presley referenced a study by General Electric – the Global Innovation Barometer – which found that 95 percent of business executives thought innovation would drive the economy. Yet 85 percent reported having a hard time finding workers with innovation-applicable skills, such as creative problem-solving.
“So we want to train these kids as they get to higher-ed to be able to think properly,” Presley said.
To do this, Presley is working locally, nationally and internationally to develop and improve teaching and curriculum in schools, museum programming and other education strategies. Currently, she is working within a national multiagency collaborative project involving the STEAM program – which stands for science, technology, engineering, math and arts education, formerly known as STEM – to research the benefits from structuring school lessons and curriculum to require creative problem-solving and innovation thinking.
Presley compared PISD's efforts to Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which measures creativity in individuals and predicts potential, to a degree.