Awards

The International Creativity in Education Awards is a transformative force in the global education landscape.

The awards are a testament to all the innovators in education. They are dedicated to recognizing and honoring individuals and organizations at the forefront of embedding creative thinking in teaching and learning. They highlight examples of creativity in every subject of the school curriculum. In 2024, our theme is ‘’Creative Thinking for Climate Action’’. As well as shining a light on the different ways in which creativity can be embedded in all aspects of school life, we will spotlight educators and institutions worldwide who are harnessing the power of creative
thinking to bring positive changes. These visionaries are not just educators; they are environmental champions, fostering innovative approaches in the battle against climate change.

Welcome from the Chair of the International Committee ​

Creativity is vital to success today. That’s why curricula across the world are changing to include explicit opportunities for young people to develop their creative thinking skills. In 2022, for the first time, the Programmed for International Assessment (PISA) measured the creative thinking of 15-year-old students in an international comparative setting. We selected creative thinking to help to raise the status of this important human competence.

Luckily, creative thinking is not a magic power. It can be learned, and it can be taught. Schools, therefore, have an absolutely essential role in cultivating creativity and these Global Awards can play a significant role in helping us understand what this looks like when it is done really well.

The Creativity in Education Awards are open to all schools, and we invite entries from individuals, teams and whole institutions. I very much look forward to seeing examples of your creativity at work.

Andreas Schleicher

Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at OECD

OBJECTIVES

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Promote

Emphasize the significance of creative thinking and encourage the establishment of collaborative communities among educators.​

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Brand

Establish a globally recognized brand symbolizing excellence in creative practices in schools across the world.

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Showcase

Spotlight innovative teaching and learning practices that foster creative thinking.

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Acknowledge

Honour teachers and educational institutions, elevating the teaching profession’s status on a global scale.

2024 THEME

Creative Thinking in Education for Climate Action

In selecting “Creative Thinking in Education for Climate  Action,” we embrace the transformative power of creative thought and educational innovation in helping to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

The theme recognises the extraordinary contributions that educators, students and educational institutions are making to sow the seeds for change.

Awards Ceremony

The official awards ceremony takes place annually, typically in the first week of November, during the Creativity in Education Summit. The ceremony includes welcoming remarks from well-known individuals associated with the power of creative thinking in education, commendations from the committee and the chair, award presentations, and acceptance speeches by those given awards.

Ceremony videos will be taken to ensure a worldwide audience can participate in celebrating each awardee. The Creativity in Action awardees receive global recognition, a grant and a distinctive medal.

Sub-themes

Eco-Friendly School Initiatives:

Using creativity to recognise and encourage sustainable practices within educational institutions.

Climate Action through Science and  Technology:

Integrating creative thinking, science and technology to enhance the understanding of climate challenges and generate solutions for the challenges.

Global Collaboration for Climate  Solutions:

Using creative approaches to promote international collaboration in addressing global climate challenges.

Award Categories

The International Creativity in Education Award acknowledges educational excellence across various phases of learning.

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Individual Creativity Leadership

An exceptional individual who has fostered and harnessed the creative potential of their team members or themselves.

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Early Childhood Education and Care

Celebrating innovative approaches that nurture young minds and create enriching early learning environments.

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Primary Education

Recognising educators and initiatives that inspire pupils during their formative years, setting them on a path to lifelong learning and creativity.

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Secondary Education

Honoring those who ignite creativity and critical thinking in older students, equipping them to embrace a world of possibilities in every aspect of their school.

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE

The International Creativity in Education Award acknowledges educational excellence across various phases of learning.

Andreas Schleicher

Director for Education and Skills, OECD

Chair

Tao Zhan

Director, UNESCO Institute for IT  in Education

Vice-Chair

Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin

Deputy Head, Centre for ER and Innovation, OECD

Vice-Chair

Bill Lucas

Chair, Advisory Committee, GIoCT , University of Winchester

Vice-Chair

Angela Bravo

Education Specialist, UNESCO Peru, Former National Director of Secondary Education at MoE PERU

Sizwe Nxasan

Founder and CEO,

FutureNation Schools

Valerie Hannon

Co-founder,

Innovation Unit and the Global Education Leaders Partnership

Zhongying Shi 

Professor,

Dean of Institute of Education Tsinghua University

Antionette Carroll

President and CEO, Creative Reaction Lab & Institute of Equitable Design and Justice 

Margaret S. Barrett

Head of Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance,

Founding Director of PoCCEE, Monash University

Tony Simmons

Executive Director,

High School for Recording Arts

Barbara Schneider

John A. Hannah University Distinguished Professor, College of Education and the Department of Sociology Michigan State University

 

Mark A. Runco 

Director of Creativity Research and Programming,

Southern Oregon University

Carolyn Roberts 

Headteacher

Thomas Tallis School, London

Tony Simmons

Executive Director,

High School for Recording Arts

Barbara Schneider

John A. Hannah University Distinguished Professor, College of Education and the Department of Sociology Michigan State University

 

The International Committee, in adherence to its established rules and categories, will select the award winners for the competition. Teachers and educators eligible can hail from any level of K-12 education.

To partake in the competition, participants must be nominated with an original case study that has withstood the test of time, demonstrating its enduring value and impact. If participating as a team or representing a school, no additions or substitutions of team members are permissible once the shortlisted projects are announced. Moreover, each organisation can nominate only one case study for consideration.

Based on the nominated case studies, the international committee will proceed to nominate candidates for either group prizes or individual accolades.

These guidelines are integral to maintaining fairness and integrity throughout the nomination and award process.

Nomination Sample

Nomination Sample 1: Creativity in Science Case Study

From practice to understanding:

seeing creativity in the history of science Shanghai Experimental School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

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Shanghai Experimental School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Established in 2017,  Shanghai  Experimental  School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is a public school jointly built by the Chinese Academy of Sciences Shanghai Branch and the People’s Government of Jading District. The school provides quality education and aims to become an excellent school that is suitable for the growth of the students.

The Challenge

The Shanghai Experimental School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has a History of Science curriculum for sixth graders, and the following challenges were identified during implementation.

  • The stereotype of the history of science: The history of science was considered as dull and tedious. Learning it required memorizing facts and concepts, and as a result, students lacked the motivation to learn and explore.
  • Lack of connection to life situations: Students had difficulty understanding knowledge and concepts in the history of science. It was difficult for students to relate theories and models to real life to understand science’s development and progress.
  • Difficulty in sorting out information: It was a challenging task for students to sort through a large amount of complex information to understand the twists and turns of scientific development and its patterns.

The Approach

In the course “People and Events in the History of Science and Technology”, we carefully selected actual, open-ended contexts that were related to the program content and had a certain degree of complexity. Faced with the driving question, “How do we plan, establish and exhibit an immersive and interactive gallery that represents the progression of science?”

  • Students needed to complete six task clusters and 15 specific tasks, including the preparation stage, the investigation stage, the material collection stage, the design and planning stage, the construction stage, and the display and reflection stage.
  • Students used the task guide to find important people and events in the history of science. and create a science gallery on campus through “scenarios”, “experiments”, “dialogues”, “craft experiences”, and so on. The science corridor in the school was created through  “scenarios”, “experiments”, “dialogic interpretation”, and “craft experiences”. Through a dialogue between Zeno and Socrates surpassing time and space, students understood the intellectual wisdom of the ancient Greek sages. Through the script murder of the “Mystery of Copernicus’ Death”, students came to realise the influence of heliocentrism on feudal theology.
  • Through the retest of the single pendulum experiment, students appreciated the beauty of maths in theory as well as the ingenuity of the pendulum clock’s design.

The Outcome

Hongmei Xia

Principal of Shanghai Experimental School of CAS

Students used the task guide to find important people and events in the history of science. and create a science gallery on campus through “scenarios”, “experiments”, “dialogues”, “craft experiences”, and so on. The science corridor in the school was created through “scenarios”, “experiments”, “dialogic interpretation” and “craft experiences”. Through a dialogue between Zeno and Socrates surpassing time and space, students understood the intellectual wisdom of the ancient Greek sages. Through the script murder of the “Mystery of Copernicus’ Death”, students came to realize the influence of heliocentrism on feudal theology.

Through the retest of the single pendulum experiment, students appreciated the beauty of math in theory as well as the ingenuity of the pendulum clock’s design.

Pan Zhang

Curriculum Teacher, Shanghai Experimental School of CAS

Instead of the boring stereotype of science history, the program encourages students to find important “people” and “events” in science history and builds an immersive and interactive science gallery. By exploring and reproducing the occurrence of scientific phenomena, the discovery of scientific conclusions, and the development of scientific principles, could effectively help students to improve the existing structure of scientific knowledge, and cultivate their design thinking, scientific thinking, and hands-on skills.

Nomination Sample 2 : Creativity in Science Case Study

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North-East Creativity Collaborative

Twelve schools, including Primary, Secondary and Special Education working together over three years to explore Teaching for Creativity. North-East England, UK

Creativity, Culture and Education are an international foundation who work in partnership with organisations to develop creative learning, teaching and leadership programmes with the intention of making new approaches sustainable. We do this through responding to context specific needs, professional learning communities and networks and by considering the ecology as a whole.

We are partners to the North-East Creativity Collaborative, a pilot programme funded by the Arts Council England and the Freelands Foundation.

   –  Nia Richards, Director

The Challenge

 

  • Can children make connections and begin to link multiple ideas together?
  • How can students analyze data better via creative methods?
  • Can they challenge assumptions by testing what they know through research?

The Approach

  • Based on the enquiry questions and the current teaching topic of sound waves within a scientific context, a Creative Practitioner (and Professor) brought in electromagnetic frequency microphones, headphones, and audio recorders for the teachers to play with. They found it was a great way for students to ‘hear electricity’ and allow them access to an invisible world of wave physics. The audio recordings were transferred to a computer where pupils could see the wave forms of their recordings and provided a visual cue for their learning.
  • During the class, the pupils were given an opportunity to explore the computer lab with their audio equipment, testing, playing, and hypothesising about what sounds different electrical equipment would make. They listened to light switches, plug sockets, computer hard drives, monitors, keyboards, and overhead lights, as well as the audio recorders themselves.
Teacher 1

The new equipment, having road tested it with the Creative Practitioner, makes a great addition to the science curriculum in year 4. Being able to record sounds including ones we wouldn’t normally detect was exciting for both staff and children alike!

It also matched the ICT curriculum too. Being able to use the recordings in the audacity software made the science seem much more ‘real life’ for the children.

Teacher 2

My main aim was for the children to start making connections and begin to link multiple ideas together. I was particularly interested in developing a deeper understanding of cause and effect and, in turn, beginning to strengthen their comprehension and scientific inquiry skills.

In one of the follow-up lessons, the class recorded a variety of musical instruments played in different ways. We then used Audacity to look at and explain the patterns of sound waves. Children were able to explain, in simple terms, the relationship between the pattern of the sound wave and the volume of a sound. As a result, it helped them also understand the strength of the vibrations that produced each sound.

When shown an image of a sound wave, these patterns and connections then enabled the children to predict not only which instrument was used to produce the sound, but how it may have been played.

The Outcome

The Creative Practitioner used Kate Wall’s pupil view template method to collect data from 53 students across both classes. The method is designed to capture insight and thoughts in an open-ended, situational template that might be lost through standard approaches to interviews and surveys. The visual aspect of it is often popular with pupils.

Nomination Sample 3: The Art of Possibilities Case Study

University of Cambridge Primary School

Releasing the imagination: celebrating the art of the possible

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We are guided by Maxine Greene’s wisdom that “Social imagination is the capacity to invent visions of what should be and what might be in our deficit society. Social imagination not only suggests but also requires that one takes action to repair or renew” (2000: 20).

Our school has a values-led curriculum. As a Free School (government-funded and independent of Local Authority control) has three purposes:

  1. To be a brilliant primary school;
  2. To be research-informed and research-generating and;
  3. To reimagine professional development.

Our Mission – creativities as our responsibility to the challenges of the day.

The Challenge - Three Existential Uncertainties

The world is in crisis. The future of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren is uncertain.

Specifically, there are three existential uncertainties facing us all: the survival of planet Earth, risks to cohesive communities and risks to individuals’ sense of purpose and meaning.

The Solution: Educational Possibilities

The forces for change are held back by technocratic and unimaginative responses to the challenges. Our education systems are no longer fit to reimagine, reinvent and reinvigorate our response-ability to the challenges that will arise.

The world requires a revolution of the social imagination through education, leading us to a tomorrow of active and compassionate citizenship.

The Solution: Educational Possibilities

Creative Being

We consider ways of BEING creative. This is embodied, collaborative, and intercultural

bringing to the fore a holistic response to learning and teaching. We consider the physical, intellectual, social, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of BEING.

Creative Thinking

We invite children to raise questions, to ponder, to philosophise, to reimagine ways of BEING as intercultural and transcultural ways of THINKING. Rooted in Maxine Greene’s philosophical expressions of ‘ reimagining education’ and ‘teacher as stranger’, we explore children’s thinking to develop imaginative,inquisitive, collaborative approaches in response to their learning. Our values of empathy, respect, trust, courage and gratitude are drawn together with the Habits of Mind (self-regulation and metacognition literature) so that CreativeTHINKING includes criticality, stepping back, being in spaces of uncertainty and thinking, ‘What if?’

Creative Enacting

Creative BEING and Creative THINKING together manifest in Creative ENACTMENTS. These underpin the focus of our curriculum –

to nurture compassionate citizenship. These ENACTMENTS are spontaneous (e.g. a child starting a chess club for quieter children) or whole community events (e.g. a school carnival taken to the streets of our local community). These are the moments of creative agency where children, teachers, and teaching assistants find ways to express, respond to, develop, and reimagine new ways of BEING and THINKING to improve the world for us all.

Nomination Sample 4: Creativity and Critical Thinking in Community Case Study

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The Polytechnic University of Viana

IPVC Community of practice for creativity and critical thinking

The Polytechnic University of

Viana do Castelo

The Polytechnic University of Viana do Castelo has 6 schools, with 5888 students and 450 professors, Technology and  Management  School, Business  School,  Sports and  Leisure  School,  Agrarian  School  Health Sciences and Education School. The project is coordinated by the Presidency of Pedagogical Innovation with representatives in all schools of the pedagogical councils. This Polytechnic University is integrated in 10 municipalities in the north of Portugal, and its 4 campuses are located in different municipalities.

The Challenge

The Challenge

  • Objective 1: To intervene, enhance and foster professional development of faculty members in creativity and critical thinking through innovative and active methodologies;
  • Objective 2: To develop creativity and critical thinking in students;
  • Objective 3: To develop a community of practice that promotes creativity and critical thinking in higher education, improving teaching methodologies, learning environments and assessment methods.
  • Objective 4: To integrate an international network organized by the OECD that can foster creativity and critical thinking, having our professors engaged and active in redesigning courses and being part of the data sample in an international survey, along with students

The Outcome

The Creative Practitioner used Kate Wall’s pupil view template method to collect data from 53 students across both classes. The method is designed to capture insight and thoughts in an open-ended, situational template that might be lost through standard approaches to interviews and surveys. The visual aspect of it is often popular with pupils.

Achievement 1:

A community of practice integrating 28 professors who redesigned their courses.

Achievement 2:

A community of practice, with close collaboration and a very supportive environment among faculty members.

Achievement 3:

Empowerment of our community.  Curricular and pedagogical changes on courses, with  professional development for faculty members, 1406 students engaged and 40 professors.

Achievement 4:

Integration in the OECD network in pedagogical interventions, policy-making and scientific outputs.

Nomination Sample 5: Integrated Practice Case Study

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Pudong New World Experimental Primary School Attached to Shanghai Theatre Academy

"Around the world in 80 days" integrated practice creativity programme

Pudong New World Experimental Primary School, Attached to Shanghai Theatre Academy

Pudong New World Experimental Primary School, previously known as New World Experimental Primary School, attached to Shanghai Theatre Academy, was established in April 2001 and officially renamed in March 2020. It stands as the singular primary school in the city, emphasising ballet and art education alongside academic development. Guided by the principle of focusing on children’s future, the school’s philosophy, “tiptoe to see the world,” drives its “Around the World in 80 Days” comprehensive practice and creativity program. This initiative serves as a platform to explore students’ innovation and creativity through interdisciplinary project-based learning.

Centred on cultivating high-quality project-based learning, the school prioritises instilling morality and advancing compulsory education’s teaching and learning reforms to enhance its overall quality. Emphasising creative problem-solving skills, the school utilises project-based learning as a central focus, employing activity projects, disciplinary projects, and interdisciplinary projects as key vehicles for change in teaching methods. The school’s strategy for promoting project-based learning involves collaborative research, unified promotion, combined supervision and evaluation, and fostering a scientific approach to stimulate the school’s operational vitality while advancing compulsory education.

Our Approach:

The “Around the World in 80 Days” programme aims at three levels – caring for the new world, exploring it, and fostering its creation. It is designed to be practical, engaging students in activities while nurturing their creative abilities. Rooted in China’s heritage, this theme-based integrated practice programme expands students’ international understanding and future competence. Our curriculum is structured around three cultural spheres – traditional, maritime, and global cultures, allowing students to inherit their heritage while connecting with the world in an open and inclusive cultural environment.

Our Approach

  • Aligned with these principles, our project-based learning programme guides students to explore their hometown, Shanghai, the five continents, and the world from a multi-disciplinary and multi-regional perspective. Tailored to different age groups, each grade’s activities vary in complexity across a semester-long thematic unit, spanning 16 weeks, thus completing the “Around the World in 80 Days” journey within our school.
  • Throughout our curriculum practices, we’ve established a rigorous process for learning within the Integrated Practice Creativity Programme, valuing students’ preferences in curriculum development. This thematic programme is divided into five key segments: problem identification, planning, practical research, learning and evaluation, and presentation and exchange. It promotes project-based learning by engaging students in interdisciplinary learning to tackle authentic and challenging problems, enhancing their core qualities, fostering comprehensive knowledge application, and nurturing creative problem-solving skills.
  • Emphasising learning objectives aligned with curriculum standards, our approach provides a platform for students to showcase creativity through diverse evaluation methods, effectively tracking their learning process, evaluating course effectiveness, and promoting holistic student development through timely improvements to the curriculum.

The Outcome

Zhou Yi, Principal and Secretary, Pudong New World Experimental Primary School,

Shanghai Theatre Academy

The “Around the World in 80 Days” project-based learning within the Integrated Practical Creativity Programme has flourished due to innovative curriculum adaptations and students’ daring experimentation. Students have engaged in diverse learning methods, actively participating in and exploring the entire learning journey. They’ve uncovered history through songs, grasped mathematical concepts while drawing, embraced cultural differences in sports, and encountered science through dance. Employing interdisciplinary knowledge and methods, they’ve delved into deep project-based learning, acting as researchers tackling real-world problems.

These creative learning experiences have authentically ignited students’ creativity, fostering heightened engagement, emotional involvement, and a stronger passion for learning. Students demonstrate increased willingness to confront challenges, fostering improved information processing skills, a multi-perspective problem-solving approach, proactive teamwork attitudes, and enhanced hands-on abilities. Throughout the “Around the World in 80 Days” comprehensive practical creativity programme, our students have shifted from mere knowledge transfer to knowledge experience and discovery, transforming from rote memorization to practical application, thus nurturing innovative thinking and creative qualities.