INVESTIGATING CREATIVE AND DESIGN-ORIENTED PRACTICES IN K-12 ENRICHMENT COURSES

2020-07-27T20:28:06Z (GMT) by Mehdi Ghahremani

This thesis is an article-based (3-paper format) dissertation. In the first article, the research team adapted an input-process-outcome (IPO) model of group-level processes in the classroom, as a theoretical framework, to examine students’ experiences regarding pre-college engineering curricula, classroom environments, and their experiences with the creative process in the two engineering courses offered in a university-based summer enrichment program. Applying provisional and open coding to semi-structured interview data from 16 participants, an Input-Process-Outcome Model of Collaborative Creativity (IPOCC model) was developed. In this study, I grouped our findings under Inputs, Group Processes, Outcomes, and Mediating Factors. The IPOCC model expands the 4P model of creativity to incorporate more collaborative contexts. According to the 4P model, creativity can be viewed from four different perspectives: Person, Process, Product, and Press. The IPOCC model suggests that in K-12 collaborative practice, creativity involves group-level considerations in addition to individual-level components. The IPOCC model offer insights for educators in terms of input components, group processes, and mediating factors that can facilitate learners’ engagement in creative teamwork. Findings of this study indicated that a combination of challenging tasks, open-ended problems, and student teamwork provides a rich environment for learners’ engagement to think creatively.

The purpose of the second study was to systematically investigate how novice/K-12 students’ visual representation of design ideas has been operationalized, measured, or assessed in the research literature. In the different phases of screening in this systematic review, inclusion, exclusion, and quality criteria were applied. From an initial sample of 958 articles, 40 studies were included in the final step of the coding process and qualitative synthesis. Applying provisional and open coding, three broad themes, and 23 characteristics were identified that have been used by researchers to conceptualize sketching of ideas, in novice/K-12 design activities: Communicating Ideas, Visual-Spatial Characteristics, and Design Creativity. We propose this Three-pronged Design Sketching (3-pDS) framework to examine K-12 design sketches.

In K-12 settings, one major challenge of conducting research on the influence of engineering education programs and curricula involves assessment. There is a need for developing alternative, effective, and reliable assessment measures to evaluate students’ design activities. The third study aimed to address this need by developing the idea-Sketching Early Engineering Design (i-SEED) Scale to assess pre-college learners’ freehand sketches in response to a design task. Applying the Three-pronged Design Sketching (3-pDS) as a theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to examine evidence of content validity, construct validity, and internal consistency of the i-SEED Scale data. The data collection took place in a residential summer enrichment program for students with gifts and talents at a Midwestern university. Following different stages of scale-development design, a sample of 113 design sketches were scored in this study, and the scores were used to provide evidence of the validity of the data for the i-SEED Scale. The sketches were generated by 120 middle- and high-school students in a collaborative design-oriented course. Exploratory factor analysis results supported a three-factor model for the i-SEED Scale, including Visual-Spatial Characteristics, Design Creativity, and Communicating Ideas.