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Creativity-Supporting Learning Environment--CSLE

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ACM Transactions on Computing Education Volume 12, Number 3, ISSN 1946-6226


Despite much public discussion about the importance of creativity and innovation-friendly teaching in Finnish higher education, the impact of the general opinion on actual teaching practices has been limited. In the Finnish computer science education the teaching mostly follows a pattern of lectures, fixed exercise sets, and exams. With this article we want to open a discussion about possibilities of enhancing the learning environment by focusing on creative problem solving. We will present results from two research experiments in which we aimed to provide computer science students with a practically oriented learning environment with an explicit intention of supporting the creative work of students. There exists a vast amount of scientific theory about creativity, yet it is unclear on how to turn that theory into practice. Thus, our main interest was to find ways of applying creativity theory in practice in the context of computer science education. Our research experiments consist of a practically oriented computer science course, where LEGO[R]Mindstorms robots were used as the platform for the student work. Methodological tools used in this study included content analysis of student products, observations from our learning sessions and semi-structured interviews with the students. The course was organised two times: the first time was in spring 2009 and the second in spring 2010. The total number of attending students was 72. In this article we argue that our approach of providing a creativity-supporting practical computer science course was a success. We gained a lot of ideas on how to support creativity, the students were clearly motivated, and they began to learn a new kind of experimental working style. The robotics kit seemed to work well both as a trigger for motivation and as a platform to support experimental learning, enhancing students' creativity and working style. In our opinion these findings are of great importance, and give promising practical ideas for the support of creativity in higher computer science education. (Contains 3 tables and 1 footnote.)


Apiola, M., Lattu, M. & Pasanen, T.A. (2012). Creativity-Supporting Learning Environment--CSLE. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 12(3),. Retrieved April 1, 2020 from .

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