How can educators make learning more fun, engaging, and empowering? Today’s guest has lots of tips and tricks!
In this episode of the Fueling Creativity in Education podcast, Dr. Cyndi Burnett and Dr. Matthew Worwood welcome Samantha Olschan, an award-winning transmedia artist and educator who works across animation, art, and design for films, brands, and experiential media. Her creative practice investigates how storytelling, motion design, and experimental narrative can serve underrepresented and/or underserved communities.
Listen in to learn how Samantha combines collaborative, game-based, and project-based learning in the classroom with digital media as a learning aid. You’ll gain insight into how you can use gamification, play, special projects, and “artist dates” to engage students in learning through creativity both in the classroom and out in their community.
“Through experimentation and play, we can open ourselves up to learning more.”
Samantha describes how creativity is separate from art and design, the importance of teaching students to work with ambiguity, and how to get your students/kids to trust their ideas and feel confident in their creativity. She emphasizes the value of organizing class time to enable students to explore their interests, produce quality outcomes, and avoid burnout.
“My approach to teaching creativity is through reconnecting the student to empathy and trust. They have to trust their ideas.”
Samantha’s Tips for Teachers and Parents:
- Practice empathy. Think about your students and what they would be excited by, and even your younger self and what you would be excited by.
- Give yourself permission to try new things.
- Ask lots of questions to the people around you.
- Find a mentor or be a mentor. There are lots of people in your community that can support you and engage with your students in fun ways.
- Look to your community for funding for creative materials and resources.
- Creativity is about experimentation, exploration, and engagement – not tools, objects, and outcomes.
Eager to bring more creativity into your home or classroom?
Access a variety of creativity resources and tools & listen to more episodes of The Fueling Creativity in Education Podcast by visiting our website, www.CreativityandEducation.com.
Have a question? Email Dr. Burnett and Dr. Worwood at
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About Samantha Olschan:
Samantha Olschan is an award-winning transmedia artist & educator who works across animation, art, and design for films, brands, and experiential media. Her creative practice investigates how storytelling, motion design, & experimental narrative can be of service to underrepresented and/or underserved communities. As an educator, she combines collaborative, game-based & project-based learning in the classroom with digital media as a learning aid.
Recent exhibitions and screenings include the Black Maria Film & Video Festival, P.O.V. Series (PBS), The ShortList (PBS), Hollywood North Film Awards, Womenwhodraw.com, FrackFest, Visionfest, Tribeca Cinemas, Bumbershoot, New Haven International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Boston Cinema Census, Boston Underground Film Festival, Conversations at the Edge, The Gene Siskel Film Center, Marblehead Film Festival & the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts in Greece.
Teaching appointments in animation, media, and design include the University of Connecticut, Pratt Institute, Wesleyan University, Quinnipiac University, Columbia College, New York Film Academy & The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. M.F.A. in Film, Video & New Media: Animation from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. B.F.A in Fine Arts: Electronic & Time-Based Media from Carnegie Mellon University.