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Dorte Nielsen "ignites" creative thinking of NI educators with paperclip tool

Updated: Apr 15




In this, our first story, we travel back to WCID week 2021 when the world was locked down and we could only meet online. During the week we were delighted to work with Further Education Staff from South West College staff who had “volunteered” to run events with their students to introduce them to creative thinking practices. We developed materials and exercises and supported these staff to run rapid creativity sessions across a variety of FE disciplines such as Construction, Sport, Early Years and Health & Social Care. Challenges they worked on were focused on the SDG’s and included “How might we make sure all children have equal access to quality pre-primary education?” - “How can we make sure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing by 2030?”


A few weeks later, as a follow up to our celebration of WCID, we were back with our colleagues from the Further and Higher Education Sector. This session was part of a suite of training we have run with Connected NI to help introduce staff from FE and HE to design thinkign and creative problem solving tools and techniques. We kicked the new financial year off with what we call a “SPARK” session which lasts 1.5 hours. The idea behind this series of workshops was to give staff a creativity boost by inviting along creativity experts and asking them to introduce a favourite creativity tool.


For this workshop we were joined by our good friend and renowned author and keynote speaker, Dorte Nielsen. Dorte is a Danish creativity expert with a passion for creativity in education. Dorte introduced over 20 FE & HE educators from across Northern Ireland to a favourite tool of hers to stimulate creativity in the classroom, inspiring participants to train their minds to make unusual connections using the simple paperclip. Initially Dorte demonstrated to participants how the paper clip could be reimagined as a bird with the addition of a few simple shapes and lines and encouraged them to build their drawing confidence. Then they were set of to spark their creative thinking, stretch their imagination and make a wide range of unusual and forced connections. Dorte has an infectious energy and inspired the participants to have a go , encouraging them to keep using this type of exercise in their daily practice. This brilliant tool has become an integral part of our delivery now as a “warm up” for the ideation stage of the creative thinking process. We are very much looking forward to having Dorte back in Northern Ireland to continue the journey with us of encouraging educators here to embrace and utilize creative thinking tools, tehcniques and mindsets in their teaching delivery .







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