The influence of mechatronic learning systems on creative problem solving of pupils participating in technology class A pilot study
Without being creative and finding solutions for various problems of life mankind wouldn’t be what it is today. Problem solving always has been a key ability for development, in the past, the present and it will also be a key for the future. Creative problem solving is one of the most important ways of technical thinking and acting. Therefore, the ability of finding solutions for problems and realizing them is a primary goal for technological education, especially if it is part of a comprehensive school education. It can be assumed that the available resources affect the possibilities and the result of problem solving processes. In terms of technology classes there are numerous resources that aim for the development of pupils’ creative problem solving skills like for instance mechatronic educational environments (MEEs). Unfortunately there is currently no test instrument for rating the influence of these MEEs on the outcome in terms of creative technical problem solving processes. Therefore, we designed a trial for such purpose and tested it in a pilot study: 33 students (9th grade, average age of 15.24 years) of comprehensive schools were given a problem, which had to be solved using three different MEEs. Solutions found by the students have been documented and analyzed to identify system characteristics which enhance or inhibit the creative outcome.
Key words: Creative problem solving, technology education, mechatronic educational environments, Festo MecLab, Fischertechnik RoboTX, Lego Mindstorms EV3
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