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What is SCAMPER and how it can help students

By Dhrubaa Ghosh,

Help your kids think out of the box, but in an organised way, using this innovative technique.

SCAMPER’s main focus is on enhancing creative abilities in children.

Brainstorming began as a concept to make work better, but is now part of education everywhere. One common concept used effectively in brainstorming is SCAMPER. Alex Osborn, credited by many as the originator of brainstorming methods, originally came up with many of the questions SCAMPER uses to get us thinking. Interestingly, Bob Eberle, an education administrator and author, organized these questions into the SCAMPER mnemonic. So this is a method that has its roots in educational practice. Discover how it can help your kids too.  

Why was SCAMPER created? 
Since the inception of the technique in 1991 by Alex Osborn and Bob Eberle, SCAMPER has been implemented world-wide for creative thinking to generate fresh ideas in both business and education. The main focus was on enhancing creative abilities in children. The SCAMPER technique is specifically aimed at overcoming a problem by approaching it from different perspectives, resulting in troubleshooting and also developing new ideas.   

What does SCAMPER stand for?  
SCAMPER Technique is a team brainstorming technique that individual students can also use. SCAMPER is an acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify/Magnify, Purpose, Eliminate/Minimize and Rearrange/Reverse. Let’s see how this works.  

  • Substitute: What can be replaced? Example: your child is working on a DIY project and getting stuck because of a missing component, they have o figure out what else can do the same thing  
  • Combine: What can be combined? Example: cell phones have combine so may features  
  • Adapt: What can be added? Example: cars have added wi-fi connectivity for navigation  
  • Modify, Magnify, maximize, minimize: What can be modified? Example: ergonomic requirements for kids using a laptop and adults using it are different  
  • Put to other use (purpose): Could the product be put to a different use? Example: during COVID19 pandemic, the concept of coffee filters was used as filters in masks  
  • Eliminate or minimize: What can be removed or simplified? Example: are there too any objects on a study desk cluttering it?  
  • Reverse, reengineer, or rearrange: What would happen if you reversed a process? Example: most electronic boards work on this concept of reversing electric flow to engineer gadgets