Creative Thinking

"in and about education"

Workshops at ICAB 2017

Workshop 1: Stimulating creative problem solving in mathematics

By: Klaas Pieter Hart

Technical University Delft

In the Mathematical curriculum in Delft there are moments where we appeal more than average to the creativity of the students. First of all there are the modelling courses, where problems are presented to students that can be attacked using material from earlier courses. Next there is the first-year course, Kaleidoscope, in which we (briefly) treat a few areas of mathematics and in which the students must solve a number of problems from the discipline of the week, through collaboration and creativity. In this workshop I will describe and illustrate how Kaleidoscope works using material from the course; the participants will be able to prove their creativity on a number of problems.

Click here to find the workshop material

Workshop 1


Klaas Pieter Hart

Photos by Robert Tjalongo, www.rockinpictures.com

Workshop 3: Student-directed learning: The Personal Pursuit

By: Jennifer Herek and Klaasjan Visscher

University College Twente

Intrinsic motivation is a primary driver of creativity, and nothing fuels it more than passion. By stimulating students to follow and develop their passions as part of their education, we can unleash an enormous creative potential.

In this workshop, we will present an educational innovation that does exactly that: the Personal Pursuit. The Personal Pursuit is part of the ‘Technology and Liberal Arts Sciences’ program of the University College Twente, in which the students shape their own course, project, or internship, according to their passions and personal interests. The variety is vast – designing a robot, making a business plan for a new company, doing an internship at a research institute, writing a children’s book about technology, etc. – allowing each student to personalize their engineering education. In this workshop, we will show how we stimulate creativity, provide guidance, and assess this type of student-directed learning. We will share inspiring examples as well as hurdles that we’ve encountered in making the Personal Pursuit work in practice. During the workshop, participants will be encouraged to think about how a personalized, passion-driven form of education can also be implemented in their programs.

Workshop 3


Klaasjan Visscher and Jennifer Herek

Photo by Robert Tjalongo, www.rockinpictures.com

Workshop 4: Teaching students to write more creative research proposals

By: Roy Erkens & Kim van Broekhoven

Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Maastricht University

Creative Problem Solving is a structured method for generating ideas for possible new and creative solutions. In science it is of great importance to be creative in solving problems or writing research proposals. Amazing discoveries or revolutionary breakthroughs are often generated by combining existing ideas in a new creative way. Creativity is not a stable personality trait and thus students can learn to be creative. In this workshop the experience in teaching how to write more creative research proposals in two master programmes of Maastricht University (Systems Biology and Biobased Materials) will be shared.

Workshop 4


Kim van Broekhoven & Roy Erkens

Photos by Robert Tjalongo, www.rockinpictures.com

Workshop 5: The scenario method and stimulating creative thinking

By: Coyan Tromp 

FNWI, Institute for interdisciplinary studies, University of Amsterdam

Scenario development is probably the most applied and well known method to translate future images or a vision into a strategic action plan. Scenarios are descriptions of possible future situations in society, usually in a particular domain within society, for example higher education. In the master Earth Sciences and in the master minor Science for Sustainability at the UvA, scenario development is offered as a professional skill that students can choose to be trained in. After a short introduction into the scenario method, you are invited in this ICAB workshop to explore and develop some scenarios for the future of universities. In doing so, you’ll be able to find out for yourself how the method can be used and what role it can fulfil in the stimulation of creative thinking.

Workshop 5


Coyan Tromp (standing)

Photo by Robert Tjalongo, www.rockinpictures.com

ICAB_fotos_smaller_website/icab2017_fotos_WS5_Tromp/067 (1024x683).jpg

Workshop 6: Creating open creativity stimulating practicles for Beta education

By: Gerrit Kuik (UvA, VU), Tahita Dreef (UvA, VU) en Tonny Mulder* (UvA)

Faculty of Science, Department of Physics & Astronomy VU University & University of Amsterdam; *FNWI, Psychobiology, University of Amsterdam

Student-driven open practicles, where students are encouraged to navigate the scientific method on there own, are nowadays common within the Physics and Psychobiology departments at the VU and the UvA. The combination of training their creative and critical thinking skills provides them with an indepth knowledge about the scientific process while acquiring the neccessary topic specific knowledge. Furthermore, it boosts their self-knowledge and confidence.

In this workshop, we will start with an open discussion about experiences with this type of educational approach, discussing the successes, challenges and learning experiences for the students as well as for the educators. Additionally, the participants will be challenged to define the bounderies and prerequisits for implementing this approach within their own curriculum.

Workshop 6


Gerrit Kuik, Tonny Mulder & Tabita Dreef

Photos by Robert Tjalongo, www.rockinpictures.com

Workshop 2: Tinkering, creativity and trial & error

By: Angelica Mader en Edwin Dertien

Faculteit Elektrotechniek, Wiskunde en Informatica, Creative Technology

Tinkering is a way of material exploration. In an iterative way the tinkerers starts seemingly undirected, define their own goals, design prototypes, evaluate them and start over again defining a new goal. This way of working is familiar to (young) children and hobbyists, but not yet a method in academic teaching.

Reasons why we introduce tinkering in our bachelor courses are that:

  • Students become active learners and owners of their problems, stimulating their creativity
  • Hands-on knowledge or “knowing-in-action” are prerequisite for making things (i.e. in engineering and design disciplines)
  • The basic scientific cyclus of observation, hypothesis forming, evaluation, and (experiment) design is trained here already on an intuitive level.

Introducing tinkering in academia, however, is not straightforward. For students it clashes with the school-attitude of reproducing variations of given exercises, and having defined levels of correctness. Furthermore, ‘trial and error’ is a crucial and instructive aspect of tinkering. Errors are, however, not considered as the right outcome of the process, but are perceived as ‘having done things wrongly’. From the lecturers’ side it is difficult to assess the level of ‘creative wrongdoing’ or the ‘daring’ attitude of the students, and also to evaluate depth and creativity of a tinkering process.

In the workshop we want to present a number of settings, toolboxes and assignments for tinkering that we use, and discuss ways to set the stage correctly, create a fruitful mindset and a valid way of evaluation with the workshop participants.

Workshop 2

Due to circumstances, this workshop was cancelled

Have a look at the program of the successful ICAB 2017 conference.

Have a look at the workshops held at ICAB 2017.

Click here for a photographic impression of ICAB2017.