A Laboratory for Creativity: How Youth Thrive With Design Thinking and STEAM Education

A Laboratory for Creativity: How Youth Thrive With Design Thinking and STEAM Education

Neal Barbour (Lawrence Arts Center, USA) and Becky Eason (Wordcraft LLC, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2517-3.ch007

Abstract

This chapter explores how design thinking, challenge-based learning, and project-based learning have been incorporated into a STEAM program named ARTspace at the Lawrence Arts Center in Lawrence, Kansas. Using examples of curriculum and practice undertaken over the last five years, the authors share the formation of three distinct assessment tools developed to measure metacognitive awareness of the invention process, creative self-efficacy, and the acquisition and retention of standards based STEAM content. The data presented from a three-year evaluation of the ARTspace program shows statistically significant gains in awareness of process-based thinking/practice as well as confidence in practicing innovation.
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Background

The Lawrence Arts Center (LAC) was established in 1975 as a public/private partnership between the city of Lawrence, Kansas and local residents. The center moved to expanded 40,000 square-foot facilities in 2002, continuing community arts programs and services for individuals of all ages, interests, and backgrounds through three exhibition galleries, a 300-seat proscenium theater, two dance studios, two arts-based preschool classrooms, a half day kindergarten, a black box theater, and eight visual arts studios. In addition to being a center for visual and performing arts, modern art exhibitions, film, and lectures, the LAC provides a full complement of educational programming for ballet, modern dance, theatre, and visual arts, employing over 200 teaching artists to work with over 10,000 students and over 200,000 visitors annually (Lawrence Art Center, 2015). The mission of LAC is to create meaningful arts experiences with and for the community through education, exhibitions, and performances.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Creative Self-Efficacy: The belief one has the ability to produce and be successful with creative outcomes.

Metacognition: The cognitive processes used to plan, monitor, and assess one's knowledge, understanding, and performance.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: A hierarchal framework for educational practice along a continuum from simple to complex and concrete to abstract first developed by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom in 1956.

Challenge-Based Learning: An educational framework that focuses learning and organizational behavior around authentic learning experiences moving through three distinct phases: engage, investigate, and act.

Project-Based Learning: An educational framework in which learners acquire knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question or problem.

Design Thinking: An educational framework of learning using collaboration and problem solving to identify challenges, gather information, conceive of and test possible solutions, and gain knowledge from results.

Standards-Based Learning: A framework of instruction and assessment based on students demonstrating mastery of the knowledge and skills as set by a defined set of criteria.

Pedagogy: The theory and practice of teaching regarding how knowledge and skills are shared in an educational setting.

21st Century Learning Skills: Skills and learning dispositions identified by educators, business leaders, academics, and governmental agencies as being required for success in 21st century society and workplaces; this includes a shift from traditional practices of memorization of science, math, and reading content to communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

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