Creativity Matters: re/thinking creativity in three computer programming workshops.

Year: 2021

Author: Ammermann, Mark

Type of paper: Individual Paper

This paper reports on the experiences of creativity emerging from within a series of three workshops. The workshops introduced computer programming as a musical investigation to Music and Media preservice teachers. The aim of this research was to consider the process of creativity as an actant that may support a greater diversity of learners to engage with computer programming skills. Creativity has recently received much attention in respect to its value as an employability skill and as a factor of production within the knowledge economy. This study explores how creativity may incite an engagement in programming for students that may not have experienced programming in the past and who may be reticent to venture into this domain.Adopting a new materialist theoretical lens, this exploration asks how the concept of creativity might be thought through differently. It utilises Karan Barad’s agential realism to re/figure creativity as material-discursive practice. This re/figuring uncouples creativity from its association as an expression of human agency and allows it to emerge within the research as performative phenomena. Material-discursive creativity is an ongoing enactment that is simultaneously discursive and ontological within the boundaries of the study. Agential realist research is explicitly a performative material arrangement that is productive of the research objects and things while excluding others. This research becomes a material-discursive apparatus that produces changes that matter through mapping entangled intra-action. The workshops were mediated through the Zoom platform during the Covid-19 lockdowns and employed and Sonic Pi as the learning platform. They were designed and support by myself as researcher-teacher.Participants generally had not been introduced to programming and they overwhelmingly found that using a creative process rendered programming accessible and considered it something they would pursue in future. This study purports that understanding creativity as material-discursive practice will have implications in developing pedagogy and curriculum by broadening participation in traditionally scientific subjects by making them accessible and interesting. The benefits of democratising access within education have far reaching personal, societal, and industrial implications. Thinking creativity differently offers new opportunities for materialising these benefits for those that are currently marginalised as well as for society as a whole.