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The proponents of the study were able to provide a strong rationale for the experiment. The research team wanted to address a creativity issue. They made the assertion that there were Malaysian polytechnic architecture students who failed in the following areas: 1) the majority of the design layout produced does not show maturity; 2) the majority of the design produced do not have any concrete design concept; 3) the intellectual values for the design ideas were not at par to the level of a diploma student; and 4) the design products do not have strong creativity element (Hassan, Ismail, & Mustapha, 2010, p.163). The research questions and hypotheses were also clearly articulated. The proposed solution to this problem was to use an integrated platform composed of CAD and mobile technology. They needed to prove that CAD and mobile technology were the main factors in the improved capability of the said polytechnic students.
The methodology was described clearly so that others can replicate the same experiment. The subject recruitment and selection methods were described. The proponents of the study were able to demonstrate the random selection of the participants. More importantly, they were able to show that the sample was appropriate in terms of the population to which the researcher wished to generalize because participants were randomly selected from four different polytechnic schools in Malaysia.
There was a control group. Students from POLICIES and PUO were able to perform the designated activity using only conventional methods. The control was appropriate because they wanted to find out if the use of technology can help students perform better. The specific outcome that they wanted to find out was the capability to create better designs.
The assertion made by the proponents of this study was based on an experiment wherein there was a marked increase in the performance of students who used links from a website. They built on this foundation and later made the remarks that a computer-assisted process can be enhanced with the use of mobile technology. They went on to cite other experiments where students were able to access new information at a faster rate as compared to students that had no access to the Internet. These findings were used to construct the proposal that the use of mobile technology and computer-aided design can help increase the capability of the said Malaysian students in the creation of important designs.
It became apparent in the beginning phase of the analysis that the research design was not carefully developed. For example, the proponent of the said study asserted that the use of the Internet significantly increased after the students were given access to technology. It was a weak argument because it did not prove that mobile technology was the main reason why students’ interests significantly increased during the installation of computers within the classroom.
The proponents of the said study also made the attempt to prove that the skills of the students were enhanced after the use of mobile technology. But a closer inspection of the data revealed that there was no significant increase in the student’s contribution to the design even when the school invested in the use of mobile technology devices. However, the proponents of the study highlighted the fact that the students experience a significant change when it comes to the creation of ideas.
Bias and Artifacts
There was no evidence to indicate bias in the experiment. The procedures described in the methodology were applied consistently in the duration of the experiment. The same task was given to the experimental and control group. All the participants were asked to do one thing and that was to design a kindergarten building.
The proponents of this study were mindful that the independent variable was manipulated as described. The students were given access to technology that was supposed to affect their performance. This was made consistent throughout the whole duration of the study. The students who had access to technology were able to develop their designs using the said technology. But those who were not given access to technology had to develop their designs using conventional methods.
The researchers made the assertion that the integration of mobile and CAD technology can produce students with greater skill and creativity. But the basis and support to the claim were not reliable enough for others to concur with the conclusions made by the researchers. They failed to substantially prove their claim. They were only able to show an increase in activity but not the substance of the finished product. They used the CPAM model to measure creativity. But they were unable to show how reliable their method was when it came to the measurement of creativity.
The proponents of the study made the error of connecting activity with the quality of work produced. They made the erroneous conclusion that the significant increase in online searches was proof that the students were all interested. However, they were unable to differentiate between the heightened interest towards a particular object or gadget as compared to heightened interest in their studies. These are two different things. The researchers were unable to develop a mechanism to measure interest in the learning process and not on the technology. Furthermore, they were unable to show if the students will demonstrate the same level of enthusiasm if they were given books instead of mobile devices.
In order to prove their claim, they created a relatively low standard when it comes to the measurement of creativity. They simply said that creativity is the presence of new ideas. The low standard for creativity can produce erroneous results. It was pointed out earlier that the claim with regards to creativity can be a problematic issue because creativity can be equated to beauty and these are subjective terms.
A creative work of art may not elicit the same reaction from another critic. In other words, there can be no hard and fast rules to help people measure creativity. Thus, they created a framework that seems to suggest that creativity is about the use of information and the use of original ideas. If this was the position of the researchers then they must be made to prove that the increase in the details in the architectural design was due to creativity and not merely because the students were able to access information that was not available to them before.
The results of the experiment can be considered reliable if the researchers were able to create a control group. The control group must be comprised of students with access to the same information but not through the use of mobile devices. There are other ways to access information such as through the use of pamphlets, books, and other materials. If it can be proven that the same level of creativity was possible even without the use of mobile devices then it can be argued that creativity and heightened interest in the said subject matter was because of the use of a tool and not mobile technology integrated into CAD.
An overview of the methods used and the results of the experiment will reveal that the poor performance of the students was not due to the lack of ability or the lack of enthusiasm to work on a project. It can be argued that the problem can be traced back to non-access to critical information. In this regard, it can be said that mobile and CAD technology did not enhance the capability of the students. These are mere tools that enable them to perform their job in the most efficient manner.
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At the beginning of the analysis, there were several problem areas that were pinpointed. First of all, the researchers had to prove that the students did not have the capability to develop creative designs. Secondly, they needed to clarify the meaning of creativity and how it can be measured. In the course of the analysis, these apprehensions were confirmed. The proponents of the study could not provide an acceptable way to measure creativity. They utilized a framework to clarify the meaning of creativity but it simply measured the amount of information contained in the said design. In other words, a complicated design that contained a great deal of graphic detail was considered creative. They seem to say that in order for a student to be creative they must present original ideas. Since there was already a problem in the definition of creativity, they in turn had difficulty when it comes to the process of the measurement of the same. As a consequence, they made an error in judgment when they said that creative work was produced when students were able to demonstrate access to new information. But the same can be achieved if the students were given the correct reference materials to base their designs. They can accomplish the same without the use of mobile technology.
Hassan, I., Ismail, M., & Mustapha, R. (2010). The effects of integrating mobile and CAD technology in teaching design process for Malaysian polytechnic architecture students in producing creative product. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 9(4), 162-172.