Document Type

Book Chapter

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Engineering in PreCollege Settings: Research into Practice.

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Purdue University Press




Creativity and innovation at times are used interchangeably, while others see then as distinct concepts. Writing for Business Insider, Marshall (2013) distinguishes between the two by defining creativity as “unleashing the potential of the mind to conceive new ideas,” a subjective concept difficult to measure. Innovation he offers as a completely measurable concept that involves, in part, the work necessary to implement an idea. The current era of creativity research that began in 1950 views creativity as a process that begins with an idea that culminates in a product, encompassing both aspects of Marshall’s view. While the multifaceted nature of and different perspectives on creativity have failed to yield a single, accepted definition of creativity E. Paul Torrance, often referred to as the “Father of Creativity,” viewed creativity as much more than just a new idea without form. His definition provided in the first few paragraphs of the chapter has many similarities to the literature on engineering design thinking, including prototyping and communicating results. Beginning with Guilford’s (1950) call for research into creativity, this chapter first explores the concept of creativity and the roles Person, Product, Process, Press, and Problem play in its development and assessment in K–12 settings. Next are brief discussions of the connection between the study of creativity and design thinking and creativity and education. Methods and instrumentation to assess creativity are offered from the current literature, along with opportunities for future research in the area with respect to engineering education in K–12 settings.

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