Boys, Blueprints, and Skyscrapers: Enhancing Boys’ Creativity Through Assertive Inquiry and a Digital Drawing Application — Erica Sprules, The Sterling Hall School, Canada

  • Creativity through Digital Technologies (2012-13)

Twenty-first century skills, especially creativity, are necessary in an increasingly diverse, globalized, and complex world. However, how can abstract concepts like creativity be taught? One practical thinking tool that can be employed to enhance creative thinking processes during group work is that of “assertive inquiry;” a communication technique that involves the explicit expression of one’s ideas, as well as the sincere exploration of another’s views. When observing Grade Two students during group problem-solving tasks, it was clear that they did not have the necessary communication skills to devise a solution to a hands-on problem that incorporated the thoughts of all participants.

I was keen to determine if assertive inquiry could be taught to elementary-aged students to heighten the creativity of end products through enhanced communication during group work. I also believed that developing digital blueprints through KidPix drawing software would help support the assertive inquiry process, as students would be forced to slow down their thinking processes when devising solutions to hands-on problems. I sought to answer the question, “How does the use of assertive inquiry and KidPix enable boys to problem solve more creatively during group work?”

Thirty-six Grade Two students participated in the study as part of their regularly scheduled Science classes. They were taught the assertive inquiry communication tool, which they employed during their group work. The students constructed digital blueprints using KidPix software, and then worked together to solve a hands-on problem.