Design Fixation


The purpose of this article is to provide awareness of the danger of design fixation and promote the uses of brainstorming early in the design process--before fixation limits creative ideas. The authors challenged technology teachers to carefully limit the use of design examples too early in the process and provided suggestions for facilitating brainstorming sessions to help generate innovative ideas. The authors are not suggesting that teachers never provide design examples; in fact, this article highlights techniques for providing students with authentic examples and the benefits of this approach as rationale for learning from these real-life examples. The authors realize that they reverted to showing students last year's student examples because they often failed to carefully and clearly outline outcomes of the design activities and, as a result, students failed to understand what was required. The fail-safe approach to this problem is to hold up last year's best project--little did the authors know at the time that they were limiting students' creativity and promoting design fixation.


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Todd R. Kelley
Euisuk Sung
Technology and Engineering Teacher
Cultural Relevance, Equity, and Diversity
Informal Learning and Afterschool
Teacher Professional Development and Pedagogy
Publication Year
Additional Disciplines
Bioscience - general
Computer Science - general
Engineering - general
Environmental Science - general
Mathematics - general