Student Self-Perceptions of Design and Creative Thinking (Fundamental)
2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Andrew Jackson is currently pursuing a PhD in Technology through Purdue's Polytechnic Institute. His previous middle school teaching experience informs his role as a graduate teaching assistant for TECH 120, an introductory course in design thinking. He recently completed his Master of Science in Technology Leadership and Innovation from Purdue University with a thesis investigating middle school engineering self-efficacy beliefs. His research interests are engineering self-efficacy,
... and decision making. Abstract Background: Design is an essential part of engineering for promoting critical thinking and creativity. Despite the demand for creativity, education programs have even been criticized for not focusing enough on creativity and even sometimes eroding it. Patterns of diminishing interest in engineering throughout secondary education suggest that further work needs to be done to understand the impact design activities might have on student attitudes. This is important even as young as middle school when students are forming self-perceptual beliefs and career interest. Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this correlational study was to examine middle school student design thinking and creative thinking changes following engagement in an engineering design curriculum. Student self-efficacy, "beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments" is a necessary prerequisite for action and persistence. We hypothesized that design thinking and creative thinking self-efficacy would be related and increase following the curriculum. Design/Method: An online pre-test and post-test were administered to middle school students at the beginning and end of a 16-week course on technological literacy in a STEM context. The instrument included nine questions evaluating student engineering design self-efficacy and 12 questions evaluating student creative thinking self-efficacy. Pearson's correlation scores were used to describe the relationship between design thinking and creative thinking self-efficacy. Paired and independent t tests were used to evaluate gains in both measures. Results: Students had highly related levels of design thinking and creative thinking self-efficacy before and after the curriculum, r(1176) = .777, p < .001 and r(465) = .843, p < .001 respectively. Analysis of paired responses demonstrated significant gains in both forms of selfefficacy, M = 1.32, t(133) = 7.60, p < .001 and M = 0.79, t(124) = 4.19, p < .001. Because a limited number of responses could be paired, subsequent independent sample t tests were performed which supported claims of an increase in design thinking and creative thinking selfefficacy beliefs and could utilize a greater sample size. Conclusions: The present study provides empirical evidence for an alignment between design and creativity. Results of the study also indicate that design experiences can positively impact self-efficacy beliefs for design and creative thinking. Due to the overlap of these two constructs, strategies encouraging self-efficacy in design and creative thinking may be transferrable. The concurrent increase of creative thinking confidence following participation in a design curriculum also increases the pedagogical value of design.