When we talk about the use of technology in schools we often note how the technology can be leveraged to increase students’ level of thinking. Bloom’s taxonomy placed “creating” (used to be synthesis) near the top of the “thinking pyramid”. I agree that creating is something we ought to be having students do, but there are some subtle traps awaiting our implementation.
When teachers have students create a Powerpoint about topic X, the students are not necessarily creating using their understanding of topic X, they are creating using their understanding of Powerpoint and maybe topic X. A students can know little about X and still be able to create a wonderful presentation about X.
For example, students might create a Powerpoint about density that has loads of examples and explanations of density, but not really use this information in any meaningful way – other than to “present” it. Instead, if students create a solution to a problem (how can we separate oil from water), or design a product (a submarine) using their knowledge of density the creative act is much more closely aligned with the intended content. Also, notice other thinking such as application and analyzing come into play.
So, have kids create, just be careful about what they are creating. Despite the obvious mental development benefits, creation may distract us (and students) from the intended learning goals.