The use of a computer is both liberating and restrictive, as far as recording what our creativity produces. On the one side, cad programs allow me to create some design and be certain that the dimensions are in a close to correct proportion. (That is important for me as my freehand sketching does not usually have good proportioning.) But on the other side I find that many writing programs are limited inn what they provide, seeming to ask "why would you do that" on a lot of occasions. The more powerful the word processor the worse that seems to be, with "Word" being the worst offender.
But if the concern is just about the use of language in creativity, rather thanb the creation of images by arranging the text, then a computer can be a great value by allowing the stringing of words together without needing to be distracted by forming each charater. Towards that end, spelling correction, or better yet, the notification of spelling errors, can allow the production of documents that are at least technically correct, regardless of their content. So a child can produce beautiful poetry or prose and those reading it will not need to struggle with figuring out what the text is spelling. This reduction of the burde of deciphering poor handwriting is a worthwhile contribution, even as the use of technology reduces the use of longhand script. That has always seemed to be a burden in that after children learn the alphabet and how to read it, they are tasked with learning a second alphabet composed of characters with the same name but different appearances.
So the answer is that technology does both restrict and enable.
This is a great topic and one that preoccupies my thoughts often. I recently had a girls' night out with my daughter and we went to a local paint studio. The idea is to choose something you would want to paint. You are supplied canvas, paints, and helpful tips by wandering instructors while you sip on a glass of wine (my daughter is legal drinking age) and create with reckless abandon (the catch phrase of the studio). By the end of 2-3 hours you have an artistic creation that you can take home with you. I never knew I could have so much fun behind a paintbrush. We were urged to experiment and try out our ideas (if you don't like it - you can simply paint over it). I also discovered wells of creativity that I didn't know existed...
The other day I saw an advertisement for a paint app that came with a brush that you could use on the surface of your tablet. No muss, no fuss, and in comparison to the real thing...no fun. I think in some ways, technology does restrict creativity and limits our imaginations to a computer screen - and that is a shame. You can't feel the textures of the paint as you blow it dry with a hair dryer or recreate strokes using multiple brush sizes in your hand as you search for just the right effect. Selecting brush tips on the computer screen doesn't compare.
I have used photoshop for years and illustrator as well - I understand and appreciate the use of technology in media arts - but sometimes you just gotta get messy!
I believe tools like computers, software, paper and pencil allow us to capture creative ideas. Creativity, to me, is an activity where imagination is inspired by the world and using various media one can express it. Some individuals are not inspire, therefore lacking creativity. I remember taking a Creativity class at Chrysler to help find new automotive solutions using out of the box techniques for creative problem solving. The tools I mentioned previously allow us to extend our imagination rapidly and to explore them in a new creative ways.
Alex, I have to disagree with you on this one. The form of handwriting, for example, has evolved over time. Personally I find using the computer, for writing and drawing, more effective. It is easier to put thoughts down and to work with those thoughts. Learning to write, with pen (pencil) and paper is not difficult. If you took someone who grew up typing and forced them to learn to write, it would not be a problem.
Now, my background includes taking all the drawing classes in high school and then finishing with pre-engineering. My brother did the same, but went the architecture route (and is now a professional architect). Fortunately, I learned to do some programming in that pre-engineering class. When I got to university, I was doing some statistical analyses, including the graphs, by hand. It took me a week. This went well, but the professor pointed out that the next time there would be at least one order of magnitude more data. I got to learn real programming skills which helped me with my career. I got to do many very interesting things.
Now, my father, who had the title Engineering Technician at a government electronics lab, started out as a draftsman. His handwriting was beautiful. Even later in life when we got him and electric pencil, so that he could write on metal, it was beautiful. Even he learned over time that the computer was needed to make progress.
I see in my sons the ability to do both. The younger one, who is a senior in high school, is taking AP Computer Science (mainly Java programming). He also works with 3D CAD software. This is a tool that really gives him a heads up on the skills he will need in University and work. He is very creative.
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