Date of Conferral







MaryFriend Shepard


Skills inherent in the creative thinking process such as reflecting and collaborating are needed for success in many careers. However, a focus on standardized testing in K-12 schools in the United States has resulted in the restructuring, reduction, and in some cases, elimination of arts in the curriculum to the detriment of students' creative thinking process. The purpose of this study was to discover whether creative thinking and collaborative skills were positive unintended consequences of a curriculum that includes the design of wearable technologies. Jonassen's modeling using Mindtools for conceptual change and Rosen's culture of collaboration provided the conceptual framework. This qualitative case study explored students' and teachers' perceptions of collaborative and creative thinking skill development while designing wearable technologies. The data analysis used interviews with 3 students and 1 teacher and an evaluation of participant wearable technology artifacts. Rich themes and patterns were determined through open coding. The themes identified to explain the perceived development of creative thinking skills were divergent thinking, stimulation of the imagination, generation of new knowledge, and creative climate. The themes identified to explain the perceived development of collaborative skills were diverse membership, culture of collaboration, and community building. The design of wearable technologies as a Mindtool showed promise as a new way to integrate art with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This study may effect positive social change by informing educational policy and influencing school budgetary consideration toward including art as a value-added benefit to STEM curriculum.