Tag Archives: America’s Imagination Summit

Educating for Imagination

By Scott Noppe-Brandon, Executive Director, Lincoln Center Institute

This is the age of imagination, creativity, and innovation.

The world we inhabit today is defined largely by globalization, rapid advances in technology, and unprecedented access to information. These factors mean that knowledge alone is no longer enough to guarantee success in the classroom or the workforce. Rather, how we utilize widely available knowledge is more important now than ever before.

That’s where imagination comes in.

Imagination is the amazing human ability to visualize new possibilities, to look at what is and ask “what if?” Creativity allows us to act on the ideas we imagine. Together, they enable innovation, which brings new things into the world and produces solutions to pressing problems. These skills are crucial to prosperity in the 21st century.

The good news: contrary to conventional wisdom, imagination, creativity, and innovation can be taught in schools.

Over the past 37 years, Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), the New York City-based organization I lead, has developed an educational method to nurture young people’s imaginative potential. We call it imaginative learning.

Imaginative learning is applicable across academic subject areas. It may involve works of art, but it’s not a way of “teaching art.” Simply put, imaginative learning, as practiced by LCI, uses the inquiry-based study of artworks to foster essential cognitive skills in students.

But does imaginative learning yield concrete results? The answer is yes, and to measure them, LCI has created the Capacities for Imaginative Learning, clear-cut outcomes of learning that align with the national Common Core State Standards. Young people who acquire the Capacities can apply them throughout the school day, and beyond it.

I firmly believe that education doesn’t have to be an “either/or” situation—either we give students imaginative thinking skills, or we teach to the standardized test. By aligning LCI’s imaginative learning with national standards, we at LCI hope to illustrate that the two can coexist, and can even support each other.

We should not allow schools to turn into standards factories; they need to become environments where imagination, creativity, and innovation can flourish. This was the clearest message sent by the leaders in business, government, science, and the arts who attended America’s Imagination Summit, the major event LCI hosted this past July in New York City. These people will soon be hiring today’s students.

I am thrilled that, through Curriki, LCI now has the opportunity to share imaginative learning with teachers around the globe. Visit our Curriki group to download our Imagination Lesson Plans. Two sets of Lesson Plans, designed for elementary, middle, and high school levels, are online right now. More will become available soon; join our group to receive updates when they do.

It has always been the responsibility of educators to prepare young people for the times in which they live and are expected to assume their role as citizens. By teaching imagination, creativity, and innovation, we fulfill that responsibility in the 21st century. The skills that students develop through imaginative learning serve them in all tested areas of study—and, most significantly, for the rest of their lives.

Ignite your Imagination!

Posted by: Joanne Masters, Orion Marketing

When was the last time you let your imagination go wild?  The last time you imagined new possibilities for your life, your work, your family, or country?  If you are like most you may need a booster shot to ignite your imagination.  This is exactly what the Lincoln Center Institute believes needs to be done in our K-12 school curriculum.  They believe (and Curriki too!) schools need to ignite student’s ability to visual new possibilities and new discoveries.   If you share this view don’t miss a great opportunity to attend America’s Imagination Summit, the first national gathering on the place of imagination in education, July 21 and 22, 2011, at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The day-and-a-half-long conference will be attended by leaders from business, government, education, science, the arts, and other fields. They will commit to giving American students the skills they need for success in the 21st century: imagination, creativity, and innovation. Lincoln Center Institute, the educational arm of Lincoln Center and the event’s host, believes this diverse coalition is capable of influencing schools and bringing about education policy change.  The event’s centerpiece will be the presentation of an action plan for policy makers, educators, and community activists to put imagination at the forefront of our school curricula.

One conference highlight is on Thursday when Imagination luminaries will convene for a special panel discussion.  Imagine the conversation between Charles Segars, CEO, Ovation, Sir Ken Robinson, author and expert in the field of creativity, Deepak Chopra, Founder, The Chopra Foundation, Vice Admiral Michael H. Miller, Superintendent, US Naval Academy and last but not least, Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering!  The topic for the panel is “How to make the teaching of imagination a key part of American schools”.  It’s a “must”for educators worldwide!

The best news of all is you can watch a live stream of this groundbreaking event, visit http://lcinstitute.org!  Check it out!