Creativity to Support Student Learning in a Digital Learning Environment

Educator demonstrates a basic understanding of what creativity is in the 4Cs framework and uses it with digital resources to support learning in their classrooms.
Made by Friday Institute @ NC State

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator provides evidence of their understanding of creativity and outlines and provides evidence of a lesson that uses technology to support students’ use of creativity in learning.

Method Components

What are the 4Cs?

The 4Cs for 21st century learning are Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration. They are part of the framework for 21st Century Learning and are designed to support student learning in today’s world and are skills they can use in college and career.

What is creativity (and what is it not)?

Stein (1953) defined creativity as “a novel work that is accepted as tenable or useful or satisfying by a group in some point in time” (p. 311). While many other definitions have emerged since 1953, many reiterate the idea of it being “novel” and “useful.” In the classroom, this means giving students freedom to create something new (novel) to address a problem or a need (useful). Construction of something new or innovative is a key component of creativity - creativity does not mean letting students color or copy an existing model, rather it means letting students create something new that can apply to a given, often teacher-created, context.

Example strategies that use technology to support creativity in the classroom:

Digital Storytelling:

  • Storybird: Storybird gathers images and invites students to turn those images into original stories.
  • Google docs are a simple tool that can allow your students to put their ideas to paper in an easy to share format.
  • Story builder
  • My Simple Show
  • Powtoon

Developing and Building Prototypes:

  • Google drawing or Tinkercad are great resources for designing digital prototypes
  • If you’re lucky enough to have access to a 3D printer see if your students can print their designs. If not, have them use the digital prototypes to mock up their own prototypes using other materials.

App smashing


  • App smashing occurs when learners use the functionality from more than one tool to build something with greater functionality. App smashing requires more planning, experimentation and it can foster creativity.
  • For more ideas and examples, see the resources below.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Beghetto, R. A. (2013). Killing ideas softly? The promises and perils of creativity in the classroom. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press.

  • Kaufman, J. C., & Beghetto, R. A. (2009). Beyond big and little: The Four C Model of Creativity. Review of General Psychology, 13, 1-2. doi:10.1037/a0013688


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn this micro-credential you must receive a "passing" for Parts 1 and 3 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(250-word limit)

How do you define creativity in a digital classroom?

(250-word limit)

Describe your lesson - how did you use creativity and technology together to support students’ learning?

Part 2. Work Examples / Artifacts

Please provide an artifact that demonstrates your use of creativity and technology to support student learning.

Part 3. Educator Reflection

(500-word limit)

How did technology change students’ ability to be creative? Were you able to create a more meaningful experience for students by utilizing technology? Explain your thinking.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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