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Title: Promoting children's creativity : a design method for interactive museum exhibits
Author: Zheng, Su
ISNI:       0000 0001 3577 6149
Awarding Body: Coventry University
Current Institution: Coventry University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis concerns the development ofa design method for interactive museum exhibit with the aim ofpromoting children's creativity. Key to the originality of this research is the development of the Creativity Surprise Model (CSM): a conceptual cognitive framework for the design of interactive museum exhibits. The model is unique in the way it combines areas oftheoretical discourse from a range of perspectives: constructivist learning theory, the philosophy of interactivity and developmental psychology and associated cognitive theories of creativity and motivational drives, into a unified multidisciplinary design approach. This synthesis as a design method to support interactive exhibit design has not been previously explored or attempted. The usability and effectiveness ofthe CSM as a design method to support designers ofinteractive designs that stimulate children's creativity is evaluated by constructing and developing a novel interactive prototype. It . demonstrates how the CSM can be applied as a method in a real life design scenario. The model is further subjected to a practical validation through a process of iterative . design stages and tested in a series ofexperimental trials. Interactive exhibits in museums are providing exciting and dynamic learning experiences with significant potential to stimulate children's creativity. However, many interactive exhibit designs with incorporated new technologies can be distractive or misleading rather than supportive to creative learning. Moreover, sophisticated intuitive interfaces designed to deliver easily accessible information are not teaching children the fundamental skills necessarily to Joster genuine creative outcomes. Certainly, incorporating a diverse range ofcommunication tools is the future of museum interactive exhibit design, including the use ofnew technology. However, these tools should be selectively and appropriately applied for the right purpose to maximise the educational value as well as providing enjoyable interactive learning experiences. The key to communication success lies not merely in the ability to construct an educational experience or make things interactive per se, but in the creativity of designer applying a considered multidisciplinary approach. However, exhibit designers who are skilled in their own design practice are not necessarily experienced in other specialist fields. Therefore, this requires a method which draws on conceptual resources frolll multidisciplinary perspectives to assist these designers in developing and evaluating interactive exhibits to effectively stimulate creativity in the target group. Given these arguments, this research is located in the following interrelated . . theoretic~1 frameworks: constructivist learning theory, the philosophy of interactivity and developmental psychology and associate.d cognitive theories of creativity and motivational drives. Collectively, these perspectives support the developmentand construction of the Creativity Surprise Model (CSM): a cognitive framework that informs a ~esign method for the design of interactive museum exhibits to stimulate creativity in children. Findings reported from the evaluation of the prototype with 118 Primary school children, have validated the effectiveness ofthe CSM guided artefact in producing creative outcomes within a user defined group. The feedback from primary educators was genuinely supportive. Comme~ts from design professional and museum exhibit developer have been variously favourable with theconceptual framework being complimentary to their practice; moreover, it can be seen to formalize their aspirations providing clear insights into multidisciplinary practice. This practical value ofthe CSM model for designers lies in its identification of a motivational link between the emotion of surprise and the generation ofcreative thinking. It targets the user group at the concrete operational stage and directly addresses how to break down the rigid processing associated with this stage of cognitive development, thus it is likely to accelerate their transition to formal -operational thinking in a lasting and positive manner. As a result ofthis research and evaluation, a process ofhow to monitor the design process and assess the effectiveness ofthe artifact was developed from the key finding ofthe conceptual model - the dynamic relationship between creativity and surprise.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available