T. Albu, L. Scrutchen

Parsons the New School for Design (UNITED STATES)
Design communication tools must integrate both, the “making” process (using our hands and minds) as well as the “technology”. We define the “making” process as an elevated conceptual and crafting practice. Equally, the “technology” is a media based process utilizing virtual environments, mobile devices and applied software tools.

We recognize that there are relevant design schools that promote an exclusive traditional pedagogical approach with minimum technology implementation in their curriculum. Graduating students from these institutions may compete with peers from other academic establishments that inject a broader breath of technology in their design language.

One of the most traditional teaching method for any given design/art course is the hand drawn demonstration. There are numerous implications driven by innovative technologies that can affect various demographic groups with full access to mass technology. Typically students would observe the artist/designer creative process in a studio setting. This is where technology can play a critical role for certain disadvantaged/challenged groups; for instance the webcam device enables one to be fully integrated into the educational process in spite of the nature of one's disability.

Also mass technology can be put in practice for visits to museums or exhibitions. They can be physical or virtual experiences, as is the recent launching of the Valentino virtual museum archive.

The instructional process impacts both, the deliverer (educator) and the recipient (student). The traditional delivery calls for the face-to-face classroom/studio setting. The site-line venue is a combination between classroom and online setting and the distance learning also known as “online” constitutes a virtual environment.
Today’s educator must embrace these different environments. Further inquiries for support and resources must be explored:

- faculty development training assessment
- learning interactions or collaborations taking place in these spaces
- defining the design studio as idea incubator
- design studio as multiple platforms – a space for students of this generation
- design studio as hybrid in itself

There are economic considerations that may profoundly affect the access to technology and information dissemination. For emerging designers from underdeveloped communities who may lack the exposure to the latest technology, succeeding in their field may be somehow limited. Nevertheless, even the wealthy students may face challenges if their background may be tainted by totalitarian or strict socio-political regimes. Censorship conditions are impedimental to full global information access, which subsequently leads to compromised research integrity. In this case technology plays a crucial role in disseminating knowledge within closed communities as well as to the outside world.

Forming progressive and competitive designers suitable for the 21st century demands, the education system must embrace an interdisciplinary inclusiveness. For any designer, creativity is innate; having it coupled by innovative technologies would insure a rounded and solid education.