Stifling Creativity

Does the Internet help or hurt the creative process?

Name a topic and you are sure to find controversy on the Internet if you look hard enough. One topic that periodically comes up for debate is whether the Internet is ruining our creativity. Are you a creative person? How often do you write, draw, paint, compose, or otherwise exercise your creative muscles? Are you spending less time creating and more time surfing the web?

That's the sort of thing The Atlantic's Rosa Inocencio Smith explores in her recent post (scroll down to get to the main article). She posted the question - is the Internet helpful or hurtful to human creativity? - to an online discussion forum and then reveals some of the answers. Not surprisingly, the answers were as different as the individuals responding to the questions.

Supporting Web Links

Discussion Questions/Activities 
  1. This article provides a good opportunity to discuss the different ways people use the Internet. Poll the class to see how they spend their time online. In what ways has the Internet helped students? Is there a downside?
  2. Divide the class into two groups to debate the question Ms.Smith posed in her article - Is the Internet helpful or harmful to creativity? Each group should choose a side and take some time to research their position. Bring both sides back together and hold the debate. 
  3. As an individual project, ask students to research the way the Internet has changed one creative field. Students might choose to explore music, publishing/writing, film, the arts, etc. Students should write a brief report on their findings. In their opinion, has the Internet helped or harmed the field they researched? Students should explain how they arrived at this opinion.

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