Insights into Design Education

Image by Danielle Jedral: A superb overview of design process from the mind of a second year industrial design student.

In my Industrial Design studio classes at OCAD University, the students are tasked with keeping a design journal. Their “job” is to collect the thoughts between projects. In particular, I am looking for the insights that capture their increasing awareness of design and their personal role in this creative space.

For some the task is difficult, because it requires a certain amount of honest reflection and a particular kind of discipline, but in every single one of these journals there is a page that stands out. The best ones capture a sneak peak of a young design student’s mind as they begin to play in this space.

What is Industrial Design

Danielle Jedral was a student from last semester, and I’ve included a page from her journal here. It came out of a conversation at the very beginning of the semester as the class and I explored different ways of defining what design is, and what their roles would be in the semester. I love the page for its simple logic. Danielle offered that I could share this, which I thought was pretty special, but it means you should all go and visit her side project here.

Utopian (?) Visions of the Future

The opening introduction to the project. A postcard for those who wish to announce they have "arrived". Not totally sure who to credit for the image - but please look at their web site.

It’s surprising that there isn’t more art generated to communicate a future to aspire towards. Anyone my age missed the great enthusiasm of futurism during the 50s and 60s and is more used to apocalyptic visions from Terminator, Bladerunner, etc.

The magic of the project are the enthusiastic blurbs on the back of the "postcards" for revellers to post home.

Liam Young and David Chen are contributors to the “Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today” blog, which is rich with design fiction provocations that are superb to wander through. One of my favourites, and in fact how I discovered them, is a project called “Where The Grass Is Greener”. It’s a tongue in cheek vision of a utopian future;

“Where The Grass Is Greener” documents a radical alternative in contemporary living, an urban infrastructure, a social experiment, a political statement…. Three thousand residents and counting. In London’s outer suburbs, a community has gathered walling themselves off from the rest of society. These postcards bear testament to their vision.

More postcards for your viewing pleasure

Read the rest of this entry »

Digital Education – Storytelling and the Internet

Continuing on from the last post regarding RSAnimate, I just wanted to throw another pioneer of online education and communication.

Salman Khan started tutoring his niece on Maths (sorry to the Americans out there but I still include the “s”), by doing little digital lecture workshops and tracking her progress. It helped that he has a capacity with software programming and a range of different skills that made him particularly adept at weaving together the digital content.

What I appreciate is the simplicity of the format. A single voice, drawing simple diagrams to support the discussion, in short bursts of very specific information. Below is an example; he walks through a VERY brief introduction to evolution, but my personal favourites are his explanations of financial processes.

For more, here is a link to the Khan Academy website.

What is the impact of a compelling story?

Read the rest of this entry »