Connections, Crossover Convergernce, and Compromise

Article excerpt

What is an industrial design professor doing writing an article for K-12 teachers? A year ago the answer would most likely have been that I needed another publication for my dossier. This year the reason is quite different. Here is a short history of the creation of this article.

Last September 2000, while attending the Industrial Designers Society of America National Education Conference at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, I was introduced to the International Technology Education Association through a presentation made by ITEA's Brigitte Valesey. She made a compelling presentation about the ITEA operation, organization, and services and gave a detailed review of Standards for Technological Literacy. Before that time, I was not familiar with your organization, but was not surprised that it existed. Since that introduction, I have been more and more convinced of the significant importance of the connection that has been established between our organizations.

Now that we have this connection, what will happen next? My first reaction, at last year's IDSA education conference, was that it was just going to be another paper relationship to be managed by the Education Committee of IDSA. Since that time, I was elected to be the Chair of that national IDSA committee, and it is now my responsibility to help in the development of our relationship. My first thought and action was to get to know the ITEA membership face-to-face. This last March, I attended the ITEA conference in Atlanta, sitting in on paper sessions, walking through the exhibition several times, meeting attendees and assisting two of my industrial design colleagues in presenting an industrial design workshop for ITEA members. As I met and talked with conference attendees, I discovered the potential crossovers of your interest in design and our interest in your profound technical education base. This quickly brought me to the realization of how significant this relationship might become.

It is my contention that the industrial design profession, being relatively young, has not taken on the task of looking for strategies to recruit the next generation of talent. However, I believe that we have not been remiss in doing our duty, as we have always had an adequate supply of talent and there was no reason to develop new sources. The new ITEA relationship is now a perfect connection and opportunity for our profession. It will be easy to advocate, throughout our two professional organizations, the message that we must develop our relationship among our memberships and assume an interest in each other's activities.

Where do a technical education association and a professional design organization cross over? One thing that we industrial designers definitely know very little about is the creation and delivery of industrial design material for K-12 education. The industrial designer's role in this crossover is to pass on what we know professionally to K-12 educators so they can begin to develop and deliver interesting projects about our field with accurate content. Industrial design projects should be fun for young minds as well as providing them some them opportunities to gain experience using design skills, methods, and technical knowledge. Supplying your organization with papers written by our membership is the first effort to begin passing knowledge to ITEA members. Roger Funk, FIDSA, one of our life-long career educators and a Fellow of our society, is directing this publication effort. He is our chief publication liaison with ITEAs two journals.

The second thing we need to accomplish is to encourage members of ITEA to submit papers for our IDSA publications and attend our conferences. …