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Can Pedagogical Strategies Affect Students’ Creativity? Testing a Choice-Based Approach to Design and Problem-Solving in Technology, Design, and Engineering Education

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Design Methodology and Evaluation 2

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.267.1 - 23.267.12



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Paper Authors


Jennifer Buelin-Biesecker North Carolina State University

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Jennifer Buelin-Biesecker is a Lecturer in Graphic Communications and Technology, Design and Engineering Education in the Department of STEM Education at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. She teaches courses in Website Development, Desktop Publishing and Imaging Technologies, Technology through Engineering and Design, Game Art & Design, and Ceramics. Jennifer completed her Ed.D. in Technology Education in Spring, 2012 at North Carolina State University. Her primary research interests involve ways of fostering and assessing creativity and problem solving in technology education. Jennifer’s work is informed by her past experiences working as a technical theatre teacher and in visual art.

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Eric N. Wiebe North Carolina State University

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Dr. Wiebe is a Professor in the Department of STEM Education at NC State University and Senior Research Fellow at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. A focus of his research and outreach work has been the integration of multimedia and multimodal teaching and learning approaches in STEM instruction. He has also worked on research and evaluation of technology integration in instructional settings in both secondary and post-secondary education. Dr. Wiebe has been a member of ASEE since 1989.

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Can Pedagogical Strategies Affect Students’ Creativity? Testing a Choice-Based Approach to Design and Problem-Solving in Technology, Design, and Engineering EducationLinear models for design and problem solving processes serve as the currentparadigm for classroom practice in the United States. However, the need for alternativepedagogies has been identified in the research literature, as has the need for nurturing creativityand innovation.The DEAL method (Define/Explore/Anticipate/Look back) for problem solving is currently partof the North Carolina K-12 curriculum for Technology Education. The choice-based approach, anonlinear, student-driven method practiced in the field of visual arts education, offers potentialfor transferability to the field of K-12 Technology and Engineering education.Creative outcomes resulting from student projects developed under DEAL and choice-basedconditions were measured and compared in this study. Six groups of students in sixth througheighth grade Visual Art classes were taught an instructional unit on game art and design, a topictaught in both Visual Art and TDE (Technology, Design and Engineering) curricula in NorthCarolina. Either the choice-based approach, borrowed from art education, or the DEAL methodwas used to guide the unit of study. Following either of these methods, students completed theproblem-solving task using a variety of fabrication materials and techniques including videogame design software. The unit culminated in a class gaming session, presentation and critiqueduring which students completed self- and peer- product evaluations. The consensual assessmenttechnique was then employed using seven adult raters to compare outcomes of student workresulting from the contrasting pedagogies.Creativity, technical strength and aesthetic appeal were the three major dimensions measured onthe consensual assessment form. Nine additional items were measured. Comparisons of meansdetermined no significant difference in creativity scores between the choice-based and DEALgroups. Factor analysis suggested the existence of a creativity cluster comprising creativity andthe three associated items, novel idea, novel use of materials, and complexity, demonstrating thatcreativity was assessed independently from technical strength items and from items related toproject aesthetics. Inter-rater reliability was high for all 12 items measured, supporting anoperational definition of creativity on which instructional objectives can be built.The results of this research are consistent with those of earlier studies in determining thatcreativity can reliably be assessed in classroom problem-solving activities. Further application inK-12 Engineering and Technology classrooms is needed in order to draw further pedagogicalconclusions as well as to develop instructional strategies for use by classroom teachers.

Buelin-Biesecker, J., & Wiebe, E. N. (2013, June), Can Pedagogical Strategies Affect Students’ Creativity? Testing a Choice-Based Approach to Design and Problem-Solving in Technology, Design, and Engineering Education Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19281

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