Education and Creativity

Education and Creativity
Author: Simon Foxell and William J Mitchell
Pub: Black Dog
Price: £7.99

Education and Creativity Foxell Mitchell

Another book from The Edge Futures series dealing with our uncertain environmental future, Education and Creativity considers the future role of education when faced with climate change and the economic and social consequences that follow. The book is made up of an introduction by Robin Nicholson, followed by two essays.

The first (of the same title as the book), by Simon Foxell examines the UK’s current educational policies and their possible outcomes, focusing on personalised learning. It is constructed in the form of a dystopian social survey, written as if 20 years in the future and charting governmental policies from their actual implementation under New Labour into a new imagined realm.

It sweeps through the years between 2007 and 2025 under the subtitle ‘Panics’, illustrating possible (though quite plausible) social and natural disasters relating to climate change, fuel shortage and more, all with their impact on education as a focus. It goes on to outline policy and planning, suggesting an innovative (and rather idealistic) shift from institutionalised to individualised education. Here the dystopia becomes almost utopian, praising the imagined innovation of the UK education system and outlining the social outcomes of a personalised learning process that by 2025 is reaping its rewards.

In the following essay, ‘Creative Networks’, Mitchell assesses the potential of digitalised networks to enable learning and creativity. This short section uses highly technical language to outline new modes of learning, through ‘multimodal multitasking’ thanks to embracing technical innovation for our own creative and educational benefit.

Whilst the book is full of innovative and important notions, it does suffer from being so short. The premonitions in Foxell’s section are believable but the educational solutions offered tend to be idealistic, without the room to go into necessary depth. This makes the majority of his essay appear a bit farfetched, as all his arguments hinge on the existence of the hypothetical situations he has created.

This sense of detachment from reality would probably be avoidable if Foxell had had the space to elaborate on his hypotheses and relate them back to Earth as we know it in 2012. Without being able to fully project oneself into the hypothetical society he has created, it is difficult to imagine what kind of school system would work the best.

Nevertheless, the claim that we must form a link between educational and economic policy is the essence of this book and it is undoubtedly a hugely important issue to take on board. Perhaps a more down-to-earth study is in order to solidify the important ideas introduced in Education and Creativity.