Guest Editorial-Creative Design: Scaffolding Creative Reasoning and Meaningful Learning

Article excerpt

Design is a cognitive activity that adds much economic, social and cultural value. Creativity is a desired core competency of individuals and organizations alike. It follows, then, that design and creativity are, or ought to be, among the main goals of learning and teaching. However, we do not fully understand the connections between design and creativity on the one hand, and between learning design and creativity and teaching design and creativity on the other. How, precisely, can design and creative capabilities be promoted in formal and informal education? What are the principles for generating activities and curricula that promote creative design? What scaffolding do learners need to become more creative and to learn to design? How can responsibility for scaffolding be distributed between teacher, peers, and computing technologies?

Information processing theories and technologies impact these issues in at least three fundamental ways. First, we now have the beginnings of information theories of creative design that provide insights into the content, representation, organization, use and acquisition of knowledge. During the 1990's, for example, Kolodner (1994) and Wills & Kolodner (1994) presented a case-based theory of creativity in design while Goel (1997), and Bhatta & Goel (1997) described a theory of creative design that integrates case-based and model-based reasoning. Second, during approximately the same period, constructivist (Savery & Duffy 1996; Jonassen 1999) and social constructivist (Palinscar 1998) theories of learning and teaching became prominent. Third, a new generation of interactive technologies has developed over the past two decade that has the potential for transforming the learning of creative design. These interactive technologies include multimedia technologies and of course the World Wide Web.

The articles in this special issue begin to address the broad issues listed above, taking into account what we know about the reasoning involved in creative design, cognitive and socio-cognitive theories of how people learn, and the affordances of hardware and software technologies. The six papers in this issue answer four core questions: What can we infer from constructivist and socio-construtivist theories of learning about how to help youngsters learn to design and solve problems creatively? What social constructivist practices can be used to promote learning to design, and especially learning to design creatively? How may theories of design, creativity, and creative design inform these practices? How can interactive technologies be exploited to promote such learning?

Lee & Kolodner in "Scaffolding Students' Development of Creative Design Skills: A Curriculum Reference Model" explore the implications of case-based theories of creative design for the design of curriculum that will help high school students learn to design and become more creative designers and problem solvers. Using what we know about constructivist practices and design cognition, they propose a curriculum framework for promoting creative design and describe how it can be operationalized for national and local educational standards. They advocate the teaching creative design within the context of sustainable development projects relevant to the local communities where the high school students live. As stakeholders, it is argued, learners will find the context personally meaningful and be motivated both to do well at achieving project goals and at learning to design and solve problems creatively. Lee & Kolodner's potential reach is global; they envision high school students in cities as disparate as Atlanta, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, working together and learning from each other.

Global outreach aimed at supporting teaching and the development of meaningful learning at the higher education level is investigated in Keskitalo, Pyykko and Ruokamo's Global Virtual Education (GloVEd) model. …

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