Researchers have defined creativity as a mixture of nature and nurture. My research focuses on new digital media and technological devices impacting creativity within the design process. The design process is an excellent example of creative thinking used to solve wicked problems present in all Social Sciences. The way the design process unfolds and the influence of traditional design tools have been extensively studied since the 1960s. These tools have been defined as critical in moving the design process forward. The issue is that new digital tools are currently changing the way wicked problems are tackled within the design process. Furthermore, current design students rely mainly on digital media to unfold their design process. These statements are acute since the way design is taught must adapt to this transition to effectively satisfy new students' needs. My research skills comprise protocol analysis enhanced with physiological tools to analyze creative processes better. Through psychophysiological tools, I can collect data through multiple sources within the creative process that pinpoint high cognitive load conditions, sensory arousals, or unexpected occurrences linked with creativity.
I am driven by how new technologies and novel teaching pedagogies can contribute to design education. New digital media and immersive technologies enhance cognitive processes and allow the development of creative ideas. This premise guides my research, teaching practices, and projects and boosts my research agenda at the University of Florida. My latest journal publications focus on how different levels of embodiment in VR affect spatial skills, cognition, and idea generation. In these studies, I supported how VR has significant academic advantages, such as improving spatial skills in design education.
I believe in the relevance of digital media in creative ideation processes. Digital mediums (such as VR and AR) permit the enhancement of creative thinking by liberating cognitive load in the design process. Furthermore, combining traditional and digital media tools creates a more dynamic system that enhances creative moments. As educators, we must understand the influence of such combinations to stimulate creative thinking better.
Likewise, my research informs my teaching by effectively implementing emerging technologies to enhance cognition. Technology affects every aspect of our existence. Much has changed since digital media tools were deemed as restrictive for the creative process. More intuitive digital media with higher levels of immersion and embodiment stimulate creative thinking. Teaching using this media will influence creative thinking and refine creative methods to help develop new and more efficient digital tools.
Finally, I regularly present my findings at regional, national, and international conferences. I continuously collaborate in events to better understand how the creative mind works. I strive to publish in domain-specific peer-reviewed journals that can contribute to disseminating my research and building networking. Moreover, I move forward with my research to be recognized and obtain funding and support, such as the Unity create with VR for educators program that awarded my lab with state-of-the-art VR headsets.
As a long-term goal, I intend my research outcomes to delineate curricular advances in design education. As a researcher and educator, I would like to expand my research by implementing methodological changes and studying the impact of such changes on design students. Furthermore, I will research how using new technological devices, and digital media can overlap creative design methodologies amongst other disciplines and multiple educational backgrounds.
As I stated initially, I am convinced that creativity is by nature within us; we need to know how to nurture it.
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