Monday, January 3, 2011

are you a consumer or a creator?

"Faith is taking the first step, even when you can't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther

I've got to be honest - I'm not quite sure what direction this blog is going to take. I couldn't tell you in advance its direct purpose. I don't have a specific end goal. This post is not my thesis, and I do not plan on spending the next 52 weeks trying to make any one point or convince anyone to side with me on any one issue. You may consider this short sighted - and I'm okay with that.

A year ago I read an article talking about the nature of technology to different generations. They stated that those born before 1985 are most likely to approach the internet to CONSUME. They will research hotels or flights, do their banking, read the news, check their email. The internet has become a dictionary, encyclopedia and pile of brochures. It has provided them with convenience and easy access to the things they would have d
one anyway (banking without having to drive to the store, news without paying for a paper, letters without having purchase stamps, booking travel without an agent). I doubt anyone of us would disagree - the internet has brought so much of the world to our fingertips and we have the ability to do so much more for ourselves.

Then there are those born after 1985. This generation of users have become known for their ability to CREATE. They started with creating relationships with online chatting and gaming and then sharing a bit of themselves when myspace entered the picture. They became (and are) heavy users of Facebook. They create avatars in video games, and write blogs, and share pictures. They give opinions. They create content. They put themselves out there to the world.

Now of course this is not a hard and fast rule. But it did leave me wondering, "Am I a consumer, or am I a creator?" Because I am teaching a generation of creators. At least, we'd like them to be. Creators think outside the box. They put themselves out there. They solve problems. They adapt. They possess so many of the features we would like to see our students obtain and take with them into the world after graduation. But somehow we seem to (intentionally or unintentionally) make them into consumers. We put them in chairs at desks with books full of already outdated material and ask them to repeat, remember and summarize already existing i
deas. It seems that schools have become environments that are built to beat the creators of our them. But why, when they are predisposed to being creators?

And so I say again, "Am I a consumer, or am I a creator?" Would it be fair to assume that maybe teachers who are creators are more likely to nurture a classroom full of creators? I can't say for sure. But I would like to test it. So I have decided to make 2011 a year dedicated to creativity. I am going to CREATE. I am going to contribute to the conversations others have started, and sometimes I am going to start my own. I am going to share the things that work in my classroom (and the things that don't) for the benefit of others. I am going to engage my creative passions, such as photography through the 365/2011 project and welcome all feedback. I am going to create.

How about you? Are you a consumer? Or are you a creator?


  1. Hey Alyssa,

    This is a great post - and a great question. I think that I do both - create and consume. There should be some balance, I suppose. I don't see an rss feed for your blog - I would like to add it to my reader, so if you put a feed up, that would be super!


  2. Thank you contributing to the conversation Shannon. I agree - there should be balance. I think it's so easy to consume - but creating is so crucial, not just in response to technology, but in life.

    I added and rss feed to my blog. Thanks for drawing it to my attention.