Europe, West or East, North or South, still faces lack of professionals in the fields of science, engineering and technology. This is the result of inefficient motivation or even demotivation of school children and stemming from this lack of interest on their part in mathematics, sciences, engineering and technology.
From the early stages of the project, the Polotsk State University (PSU) work group have been visiting secondary schools in the region and have also established contacts with some schools from other Belarusian regions. Whilst developing a theoretical base for defining and measuring Science- and Technology-Oriented Creativity (STOC), the PSU team managed to communicate with different schoolchildren for experiential formulation of the STOC.
The initial contacts have shown, that children are a bit shy to talk about such issues as (a) interest in making or doing new things, (b) thinking of new ideas, (c) use of imagination and inventiveness, but during the meetings they opened up to show how interested they were in experimenting, creating something new, or transcending the existing ideas, forms, rules, and patterns. The created contacts with secondary schools made it possible and easy to hold a series of interviews during the planned focus groups which were aimed at getting information from the representatives of the target group concerning their interest in the STEM subjects, playing games, and specifics of their education at school.
“We just wanted to know how prepared school children are for creative thinking and doing. We also wanted to explore the extent to which different school children are creative in science and technology.”
Due to the multiple contacts with school children, their parents, and school teachers, the PSU researchers made different observations which capacitated them to make a conclusion that a STOC creativity is
- an ability to identify the deficiencies in the existing knowledge or technology, formulate (or discover) the problem and give possible solutions to it;
- a process of new knowledge or technology creation, and
- a capability to generate original solution(s) to new or existing scientific or technological problems.
Thus, the PSU researchers have found out that the person is creative in science and technology if (s)he is capable of (a) identifying a problem(s), (b) finding out the causes of the problem(s), and (c) suggesting solutions to the problem(s).
Finally, comprehensive literature review underpinned by the analysis of the discussions, held during the visits to schools, helped the PSU team to define creativity in science and technology as related to children of different age groups and list up concrete means and methods for measuring the STOC creativity of pupils at schools.