The first thing that struck me as I read through the responses was a good feeling that students (although most of them seemed to be from an arts-centered high school, perhaps to complete an assignment) were being forced to think about creativity, its place in the world, and to question its place in their school days. What a great question for the increasingly bored student population to think about, and perhaps helped give some of them words to articulate part or all of what is missing from their day.
The second point that stuck out to me was the various definitions of being creative. Nearly all responses clung to the traditional fine and performing arts to describe creativity, though the prompt mentioned scientific and technologic endeavors. Use of the word "creativity" is a constant pet peeve for me, as anything in the artistic realm seems to be confused for a creative act. Hand a kid a crayon, that's creative. Let them run around how they want, and that's just like dance. In the comments, students relate basketball, cheerleading, soccer, knitting, and computers to opportunities for creativity. While I do not question the ability to infuse creativity into cheerleading (or any other) pedagogy, or to approach soccer playing creatively as a student, I do question them being labeled as creative, presumably just because they are enjoyable. Creative does not equal enjoyable.
Creativity also does not necessarily equal music or art class. As Penny writes in comment 27, "Art, music and band, the only separate creative classes in elementary school, follow the guidelines of the projects the teachers provide. Art more so than music will allow a little creativity from the student as long as they follow the main instructions of the project. In Music class you sing what you are told and in Band you usually play what you are told. Only at home is where the band members are allowed to be creative." Many superintendents, parents, and, as shown here, students, rest on their laurels by the offering of arts classes. However, many ensemble settings or cookie-cutter art projects offer very little authentic, genuine opportunities for creative, inventive acts. This disconnect between creativity and the arts is also evident to Shayla in comment 2, " the only creative outlets we were given were music and art, but we didn’t have any freedom in what we did. Everything in art was an assignment with a tight criteria. In music we only learned how to read music and play specific notes. That’s all we did all year long."
In the prompt, the NYT asks how they are inspired "to design, invent, and imagine new ideas." I think this is a great definition of actively creating, and it spans all disciplines. I (realizing the controversy of such a statement) don't find many arts education experiences necessarily creative by this definition, and perhaps that's okay for the sake of other skills. But if so, it's important to embrace the spirit of the NYT "creativity" in all areas of schooling.