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  • Dr. Nathan D. Lang

4C’s of Planning for Creativity

We often hear about, and many of us openly attest to, the value of two essential skills today’s students will need to succeed beyond high school: creativity and critical thinking. Additionally, there are movements afoot that encourage teachers to provide students with opportunities to amplify their voice and make choices in the context of schoolwork.

But between those developmental goals and well-intentioned directives are teachers and students who need techniques to turn the concept of creativity into practical educational experiences and meaningful projects. It’s not enough to only provide direction, but a tool to help students get there.

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the benefits of constraint on creativity. Simply put, absolute creative freedom can be quite limiting. (

This is why it’s important to provide students a scaffold on which they can mount their ideas and insights. When engaged in video creation, students may struggle with the multitude of options available to them: the sequence of their video story, the variety of media available to incorporate, and identifying concepts that are most effective for sharing their stories.

Educators must be equipped to provide guidance, without guiding the student’s hand; structure without obstruction. With that in mind, I have developed a creativity protocol. Teachers can use the questions, prompts and inspiration below to help their students more effectively design, plan, and storyboard options as they engage in video creation projects.

4C’s of Planning for Creativity

Why do I and others Care?

Imagine the finished video project in your mind or draw it out.

Does it elicit emotion? Is it meaningful to you personally? Is it exciting?

Guiding Question: Why must I create this video? What problem am I solving? What do I ultimately want to express?

What are your Criteria?

Identify the criteria that you will use to align, measure and critically assess your video creation project.

Guiding Question: How will I know when I’m successful?

What critical Content is required?

Identify the crucial elements that when brought together will create the optimal video to best visibly express the ideals of the project.

Guiding Question: How well do these elements connect to successful criteria?

What Constraints bound this project?

Identify constraints that are a part of this project. Evaluate the materials, resources, and time you have.

Guiding Question: How will I leverage constraints to create the best video project possible?

There are few things as daunting as a blank page or an empty timeline. In a sense, the 4C’s of Planning for Creativity provides a rubric for enabling inspiration to flourish and be assessed in project-based learning. The concepts offered by the 4C’s are as applicable to other edtech-based and creative endeavors, as they are to video creation.

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