Creative Production as a pedagogical strategy – examples from Theory of Science

Helle Marie Skovbjerg, Frederikke Winther

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingResearchpeer-review


Purpose The purpose of this single abstract is to present and discuss results coming from a pilot study exploring how creative production can be used as a didactic framework for teaching theory of science at BA level at the university. The data consists of observations during talks and evaluations, log books of reflections, and the students’ productions. Conceptual framework The BA in Communication and Digital Media at AAU is based on an interdisciplinary approach involving a wide range of scientific positions of communication. Hence, the teaching of theory of science plays a central role even from the first semester to support the students’ development of not only theoretical, but also meta-theoretical awareness and agency. Further, the education is based on problem-based and project-organized learning, where the students’ learn through applying theoretical concepts and perspectives on self- selected communication problems derived from real world practices. The problem-based approach requires the ability to construct relevant and scientific rationales through acknowledging and applying the meta-theoretical dimensions of their academic work. Theory of science as a discipline, then, becomes not only a matter of knowing, but also a matter of doing, as a tool for building reasonable, scientific optics for analyzing data. Previously, most meta-theoretical dimensions of the students’ projects have consisted of static references of meta-theory with no deeper connection to or actual impact on the project. In this inactive form meta-theory becomes a meaningless and not a productive element of the students’ academic practices, sometimes even counterproductive if it contradicts the concerns and conclusions of the project. Hence, new teaching strategies which can enhance the students’ meta-theoretical agency are needed. As part of a new application-oriented strategy we use creative production in exchange for students passively listening and taking notes as the only mode of production during Theory of science classes. Through the making of small, digital productions the students gain personal and material experiences with meta-theoretical perspectives such as a hermeneutic notion of gaming, the phenomenological perceptions of things and social construction of meaning. Through this rather unorthodox approach to a classic, contemplative subject, Theory of Science is turned into an active and experience-oriented discipline. Theoretical framework We understand creative production in the light of design thinking (Ejsing-Duun & Skovbjerg, 2016). The production is a form given by using a digital tool, using text and theoretical concepts. Learning through production has an important functional aspect as it makes it possible to reflect upon one’s own learning afterwards and to discuss it with others. This point of departure is based on a pragmatic learning perspective provided and inspired by Dewey (1976), Schön (1999) and by an understanding of learning design framed by Sørensen & Levinsen (2014). In a pragmatic understanding of learning the students must first and foremost do something with the concepts – in this perspective concepts coming from theory of science. In their forming a production the students are not only getting to know concepts of science, but they are applying them to a actual scientific practice. Results Our results show indications that production: 1) can facilitate knowledge sharing between students, 2) be a guide for reading and how making theoretical and abstract concepts understandable for students, when they are asked to work with them in a concrete and practical way. At the conference we would like to elaborate on these indications and, on that basis, discuss some of the main challenges for both students and teachers, when implementing a didactic of creative production in a context where creativity and productivity is least expected, for instance, how evaluation seems to be crucial for the students’ acceptance of and ability to enter into this kind of creative and productive framework. References: Dewey J.(1976) Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education (New York: Macmillan, 1916; New York: Free Press / London: Collier-Macmillan, 1944). Ejsing-Duun S. & Skovbjerg, H.M (2016) Copycat or Creative Innovator? Re-production as a Pedagogical Strategy in Schools. I: Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 2016. Schön, D. (1999) The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith. Sørensen, B.H & Levinsen, K. (2014) Digital Production and Students as Learning Designers. Designs for Learning, Vol. 7:1:54-73.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCreative University Conference
Publication date19 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2016
EventCreative University Conference - Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 18 Aug 201619 Aug 2016


ConferenceCreative University Conference
LocationAalborg University

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