Promoting Student Creativity and Inventiveness in Science and Engineering
In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama captured the essence of recent national blue ribbon panels and the conclusions of many economists: “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world” he said. But to create a workforce with enhanced critical and creative thinking skills, we need to train experts in science and engineering who can find innovative solutions to problems. Scientists and engineers in the laboratory or field frequently encounter ill-structured problems that can have many solutions and multiple solution paths. To approach such problems, “higher order” mental operations are crucial. These include analysis, synthesis, and abstraction but in addition, creative thinking, which according to Bloom’s taxonomy of learning skills is the most complex and abstract of the higher order cognitive skills (Krathwohl 2002). It is creative thinking that...
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