June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Design in Engineering Education
23.267.1 - 23.267.12
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.
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