Spreading the Creativity Virus

A virus flows through the body of the host, infecting every cell. The infection takes over the way the individual functions and makes the body perform. iSchool came to talk with College Ready Ohio Catalyst Teachers about one virus that should never be treated, creativity.

“Every person has a creative genius inside them begging to be let free,” said Arvin Ross, Director of Student Leadership Development for iSchool.

Teachers were encouraged to unlock their creativity and think of ways to teach in unconventional ways. After spending time focusing on unlocking their minds to the possibilities, Tony Vincent introduced tools to bring those ideas to life. Teachers dove in to trying a number of free and low cost apps to help transform their classrooms.

These sessions were a part of the three-day Catalyst Teacher Summer Institute, the finale of a year of professional development. With the knowledge and tools in place, teachers were given the final piece needed to make their creative vision a reality.

“I can’t believe this,” one teacher shared through a set of teary eyes. “My students are going to be blown away.”

Teachers were taken by complete surprise when they were handed a backpack with specialized nooks and crannies to tuck away different kinds of technology, as well as charging devices with embedded cords. They were taken by even greater surprise when they found what was inside the backpack. Teacher’s looked around the room with eyes wide open and jaws dropped in awe. 

“The highlight of the summer was surprising our teachers!” said Cory Tressler, Associate Director of Learning Programs “The tools inside this backpack will allow them to fully utilize the professional development they have received in order to enhance their teaching, engage their students with active learning, and for them to become leaders of professional development within their schools.”

These teachers are the first recorded group of educators to receive the new MacBook. This laptop is seamlessly compatible with creating and sharing interactive content with the iPad’s that each of their students are receiving as a part of CRO. To ensure that teachers and students are able to present their work flawlessly, each classroom will also be equipped with an Apple TV. This device allows for any of the iPads or laptops in the room to be projected from anywhere, at the touch of a button. Student and teachers no longer need to be tethered to the front of the classroom to share their content. To complete the backpack, teachers are equipped with a Swivl, which automatically locks onto a sensor that the teacher wears and records the lesson without the educator being confined to a limited area.

“I am blown away by how much more I will be able to engage with my students now,” said Salvatore Maiorana, Catalyst Teacher at Kenston High School. “The possibilities of what I can create to help them discover their scientific passion are endless.”

Although these tools are invaluable, it is important to remember that they are just tools. The ideas and creativity of the teachers are what make a classroom a place for true student success. Catalyst Teachers proudly proclaimed their message by wearing a sticker that read “not available in the app store.”

“I help students to embrace their true selves, and to never be afraid to leave their footprints in the world,” said Maureen Fowler, Catalyst Teacher at Cardinal High School. “It is those footprints that will pave a path for the future that would never have otherwise existed.”

This message will be the central focus as College Ready Ohio moves into its second year. Now that the teachers had a year to develop, they now will focus on providing professional development and recourses to other teachers in the schools.

"The entire college ready program is hands down the best professional development any of us have ever been a part of,” said Shannon Wirthwein, Catalyst Teacher at Kenston High School. “It's not just because of the awesome tech. You guys are always prepared, enthusiastic, and have really worked to find things that are both inspirational and useful.”

It’s time to spread the virus.