University of Limerick (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5267-5273
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Design is a vast discipline. From a pedagogical perspective design activities require stimulus for higher order levels of cognition. However the ‘unknown’ internal thoughts of a professional designer are hindering design activity in second level (high school) education. The difficulty in capturing and teaching the internal thoughts of a professional designer are resulting in ad hoc approaches to design activity. Design activity in second level education is largely assessment driven resulting in pupils becoming fixated on the end product rather than the meaningful process of design. In the context of pedagogical approaches, the development of a design taxonomy for design activities in second level education is necessary.

The methodology for this study, which commenced in January 2009, involved two types of testing, control and experimental, in eight various school types. All participants were exposed to a similar design project, over a seven week period, which was implemented by their class teacher. The participants, used to test its effectiveness, are students (12-16 years of age) in technologies education. Prior to commencement of design activity participants were assessed in terms of their current design cognition in the domains of vocabulary, grammar and expression. The assessment of design cognition highlighted the necessary skills for successful design activity. The control group undertook a design project in their usual classroom environment. The purpose of this project was to determine participants’ cognitive skills when designing as a comparison to participants exposed to the design taxonomy skills in the experimental testing. The design taxonomy investigated the factor of experience of design and creativity development of participants by implementing various viewpoints on the process of design. Participants were exposed to a design taxonomy, and reassessment occurred in terms of present design cognition. Finally the experimental participants undertook a design project similar to the control participants.

Design activities in second level education do not have suitable methodologies in place to aid the pedagogical implementation in promotion of students ‘designerly ways of thinking’. This paper sets out to report the consequence of implementing a strategic pedagogical approach in second level education focusing on the necessary skills and structure to design activity.