Innovation, creativity theme of student summit at Scollard | North Bay Nugget

Whether it’s buckets, a drum kit or any new form of technology, a former educator in North Bay is sharing the message that imagination and creativity can come in many forms.

“I guess the big thing is that students do have the capacity to become more creative and that creativity is not just a single domain,” said Dr. Robert Graham, a teacher who taught at W.J. Fricker Public School and in the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University.

“And educators today, I think, are looking for ways to inspire and engage with technology, and that’s not an easy thing sometimes.”

Graham’s message about creativity was shared with approximately 100 students and teachers from across the district at St. Joseph-Scollard Hall Catholic Secondary School Friday as part of the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board’s fourth annual STEAM — or Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math — Student Summit.

The day-long summit gives grades 5 and 6 students a chance to engage with various technologies available to them in the classroom, in the hopes that they might present their ideas in different ways down the road.

Dr. Robert Graham speaks to students at St. Joseph-Scollard Hall Catholic Secondary School, Friday, during the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board’s fourth annual STEAM Summit. Michael Lee/The Nugget

Having taught English in Japan, worked as a health and physical education teacher in Hawaii and with inmates in jail, as well as having served on the Prime Minister of Canada Teaching Excellence Committee, Graham says in a world faced with many problems, industries and businesses are looking for individuals who have that capacity for creativity.

Banging away on his Roland sampling pad before moving on to a drum set and some buckets, Graham tried to show how sounds can be created both in non-technological ways by simply being creative.

Also the author of a book on what he terms techno-resiliency, Graham says he tries to inspire students and teachers to take risks and solve problems.

“Whether it is technology or not, we want to just let students know what is creativity and what is innovation,” said Peter Anello, a technology-enabled learning facilitator with the school board who first met Graham during a teaching placement at W.J. Fricker 13 years ago.

“And I think this morning’s session was a clear message for the students, and hopefully our main goal is for them to go back to the classroom (and) share what they’ve learned with the rest of their classmates.”