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Creativity Games: Fostering 21st Century Success Skills

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Sunday, November 29, 11:00 am–12:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Pronita Mehrotra  
Cognitive creativity, essential in the tech-driven 21st century, is a declining skill. In this session, participants will learn techniques to reverse this trend. Group activities will teach creativity techniques, including improv, and how they build teamwork and cognitive creativity. With these skills, students become innovative, tech-savvy problem-solvers.

Audience: Teachers, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Creativity & curation tools
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this session is to help teachers learn strategies for teaching cognitive creativity to their students. Creativity is an essential success skill, helping students to learn how to use and develop new technologies and how to adapt to succeed in the evolving 21st century workforce. However, the skill is in decline and is not explicitly taught in enough skills. This session, which brings together practical strategies combined with project based learning principles, helps teachers reverse the downward trend in creativity skills and prepare all students to succeed. Once students have developed creative thinking and learn how to be not just consumers, but innovators and entrepreneurial thinkers who are ready to succeed in the global economy, we will know we’ve achieved success.


Content and activities:

Cognitive creativity is an essential success skill in the tech-driven 21st century. It is one of the foundational skills for understanding how to use technology for a meaningful purpose, to adapt to new and changing career opportunities, and to become an innovator and entrepreneur. But over the past few decades, the skill has been in sharp decline, so schools need to implement specific strategies to teach it. In this session, participants will engage in group activities and learn hands-on how cognitive techniques and improv build teamwork and creativity.

With these skills, students become innovative, tech-savvy problem solvers and creators. Educators will learn how these activities -- improv exercises and creativity games -- work as participants, so they can bring them to the classroom for their students. The overarching purpose is to learn a fun and effective way to teach the foundational skills for success in the 21st century and future of work, so all students have an equitable opportunity to participate in the global workforce. The techniques tap into students’ interests and intrinsic motivation to help them love learning and become self-directed, self-motivated learners who set their own goals and innovate to achieve them.


10 minutes - Discussion on cognitive creativity -- what it is and why it’s so important in the 21st century. Participants will share their own experiences with teaching creativity, including what has worked and what hasn’t, as they hear from the expert presenter about effective strategies and the underlying brain science.

30 minutes - Group creativity activities. Participants will work in various groups and participate in creativity games and improv activities, learning through first-hand participation about these effective classroom strategies. Participants will learn why creativity games are fun and effective strategies for teaching 21st century skills, and will engage with different peers in multiple collaborative teams. Participants will also learn how these activities connect to the tenets of project based learning, and how they are strategies for addressing authentic challenges and learning to innovate.

20 minutes - Group discussion on lessons learned and collaborative idea-sharing for classroom implementation. In a guided discussion with the presenter, participants will share what they learned from the creativity games and will talk about practical implementation strategies for using them in the cross-curricular classroom environment. Participants will leave the session knowing how to bring these activities to their own students.


The majority of the session will include collaborative group activities, in the form of creativity games and improv exercises. Educators will participate in the activities that they are learning to use with their students, and will directly engage in strategies for honing creativity skills. The presenter will act as a guide and facilitator, helping participants to work through these innovative strategies. There will also be time for group discussion and for the presenter to share insights on the foundational evidence in support of these skills, along with perspectives on the best techniques to teach them.

Supporting research

A recent economic report predicts that by 2030, automation will displace one in three workers.

However, there is a class of jobs that will not just survive, but do exceptionally well in the future. These are jobs that depend on creativity and the ability to handle novel situations.

But creative thinking scores in the United States have been declining steadily since the 1990s - - and the sharpest decline has occurred in the last decade:

Businesses have already started to recognize the need to shift to a different skill set. In an IBM study of 1500 global CEOs, creativity emerged as the number one skill needed to tackle the challenges of modern day businesses.

More recently, LinkedIn analyzed job posting data on their site to determine the top skills employers are looking for. Of 50,000 professional skills worldwide, creativity topped the soft skills category again.

So, all of this evidence adds up to support the need for creativity, and the need to develop new strategies to help all students learn this skill. This is imperative for students to have an equitable opportunity to participate in the workforce of the future. This is the key topic that will be addressed in this session.

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