The Oklahoma Torrance Center for Creativity is a research, service and educational center concerned with identification and development of creative potential. Such as problem solving, innovation, future oriented thinking and lifelong learning. All programs and activities by the Creative Oklahoma Torrance Center build upon the legacy of Dr. E. Paul Torrance, the “Father of Creativity.” Paul Torrance was a pioneer in creativity research and education for more than 60 years. He was a monumental figure who helped make a better world through his lifetime focus on the development of creative potential of individuals of all abilities and ages. He produced over 2000 publications and presentations on creativity.
Torrance’s first teaching experience was at Georgia Military College where he found that boys who did not perform well on tests and standard measures were very bright. This led him to investigate what this meant. His first creativity test was developed in 1943 while working with dishonorably discharged WWII service men. He continued his work with creativity at the Survival School of USAF jet pilot aces of the Korean War. This was followed with the initiation of two longitudinal studies on creativity that are the longest on-going studies of their kind.
The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) were published in 1966 and are still the most widely used tests of creative talent. They have been translated into over 50 different languages and standardized in France, Italy, China, and others. Torrance believed that children and adults have a better chance in life if their best abilities are identified and encouraged.
While at the University of Georgia, Kathy Goff served as Dr. Torrance’s personal research assistant while completing her doctorate in adult learning and creativity. They collaborated for 16 years until Torrance’s passing in 2003. Together they created the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults (ATTA) to measure the creativity of older adults. It is a nine-minute assessment published in 2000. Dr. Goff has been involved in researching, teaching and assessing creativity for over 30 years.
Creative Oklahoma was granted the rights to an affiliated Torrance Center in Tulsa by the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development at the University of Georgia. This is the fourth Torrance Center in the USA and there are currently international Torrance Centers in Portugal and South Africa and plans for Torrance Centers in Ireland, Italy, Japan and China. The Creative Oklahoma Torrance Center serves as the research branch and Tulsa base of Creative Oklahoma.
VAST is providing the research instruments, on-line curriculum, data collection, and analyses to the Creative Oklahoma Torrance Center. Dr. Goff and Dr. Erik Guzik co-founded VAST, an award winning edtech software company that was named Hewlett Packard’s 2012 Catalyst Showcase People’s Choice Winner, Creative Oklahoma’s 2011 Great Inspiration Award and the Oklahoma Journal Record’s 2012 Creativity Award.
Erik is an Associate Professor in the School of Business and Technology at the University of Montana Western whose research focuses on creative economies and IT-based creative problem solving methodologies. He has been developing digital learning environments that promote and assess creativity and higher order thinking skills since 2000. Dr. Guzik has worked with over 5,000 students to develop and apply their creative problem solving skills.
The VAST Creative Abilities Indicator (VCAI) is built upon the work of Drs. Kathy Goff and Erik Guzik. Working with E. Paul Torrance, Dr. Goff developed one of the first creativity assessments for adults, the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults (ATTA), which was published in 2000. Also in 2000, Dr. Guzik developed one of the first web applications to assess student creativity, a project that led to the introduction of the Virtual Problem Solving (VPS) creativity platform in 2005. In 2012, Drs. Goff and Guzik began developing a cloud-based assessment for identifying the creative strengths and abilities of adults using VPS software, resulting in the VAST Creative Abilities Indicator (VCAI).
The VCAI identifies four norm referenced abilities and nineteen other creative strengths. The normed abilities include:
Fluency. The total number of interpretable, meaningful, and relevant ideas generated in response to the stimulus.
Flexibility. The number of different categories of relevant responses.
Originality. The statistical rarity of the responses among the test subjects.
Elaboration. The amount and quality of detail in the responses.
The VCAI is a research based, comprehensive on-line assessment tool to identify strengths and abilities needed to express creativity and maximize potential.
For more information on the VCAI, please visit www.vastability.com.
Beyonders Program (powered by VAST)
The Beyonders Program is the first research initiative of the Creative Oklahoma Torrance Center. The Tulsa Boys Home, Jenks Alternative School and Sand Springs Alternative are the initial schools participating in 2014-2015. Students will complete a creativity assessment (VAST Creative Abilities Indicator) at the beginning and end of the school year. During the school year, teams of students will work through the Beyonders Program.
The Beyonders Program is an on-line, cloud-based creative problem solving curriculum consisting of four real world problems. These challenges range from inventing and entrepreneurship to environmental awareness and community problem solving and improvement. The Beyonders Program has been designed to engage middle and high school students to learn how to solve problems in their own lives and around the world.
Students are introduced to creative problem solving models that are applied to a range of local and global issues. Students construct their own solutions and realize that they can create new solutions to solve problems. This is absolutely essential in today’s world. Sponsorships are being sought to enable the implementation of the best solutions.
The top teams will be invited for a final Beyonders challenge at the end of the academic year. These solutions will be scored by a panel of guest judges. In this way, students will be recognized for their work by some of the top minds in education today.
For more information or to register a team, visit www.beyonders.org.
A percentage of revenue generated from the sale of the VAST Creative Abilities Indicator will aid in the funding of the Creative Oklahoma Torrance Center. VAST has agreed to contract with the Torrance Center for future research and development. In addition to providing office space, the Tulsa Boys Home is providing access to its Training Center to conduct trainings and professional development. Revenue generated from these offerings will provide additional funding. Being part of Creative Oklahoma, a 501(c)3, will provide opportunities to apply for grants for new studies/programs and to pursue funding from private foundations and individuals to underwrite the ongoing operating costs.
Creativity comes from a place much deeper than the desire to win. It involves the desire to contribute to the lives of others, either by introducing something new that improves the quality of life or by showing people that something they thought was impossible is in fact possible. Changing people’s perceptions about what can be accomplished or achieved contributes to their humanity in the richest possible way. It gives hope for the future and changes the way people think about themselves, their work, their schools and their communities.