Academic journal article The Technology Teacher

Connections, Crossover, Convergence, and Compromise

Academic journal article The Technology Teacher

Connections, Crossover, Convergence, and Compromise

Article excerpt

Now that have this connection what will happen next?

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 by 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 ITEA, 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. In March, I attended the ITEA conference in Atlanta, sitting in on paper sessions, walking through the exhibition several times, meeting members, and assisting two of my industrial design colleagues in presenting an industrial design workshop for ITEA members. As I met and talked with attendees, I discovered the potential crossovers of technology educators' interest in design and industrial designers' interest in ITEA's profound technology education base. This quickly brought me to the realization of how significant this relationship might become.

Initially, the most prominent opportunity for our profession of industrial design is for the recruitment of new talent for our professional programs, which are found in over 50 universities and schools of art. I am especially interested in what may be the outcome from a different talent pool -- one that has the potential to advocate our profession from a very young age. This will be unique for industrial design, since most of the general public has little knowledge of our profession.

Traditionally, we have recruited students from high school art programs. Many of these programs no longer exist and many of those art educators lack sufficient information about us to tell our story to young people looking for alternative careers in the visual design areas. Historically, our relationship with art programs has been appropriate since most of our college-based programs are administratively located in art units. However, since the 1950s there have been several successful industrial design programs that have grown out of architectural programs and a few more recently out of engineering. This indicates that, although we have had a solid hook in the arts, we have definitely found, with ITEA, a new foothold in more technology-and science-based areas. We aspire to attract more of these technically interested students to a professional education in industrial design. Most of these students have traditionally been going to engineering and architectural based professions. We have discovered, at my home institution, that some of our most successful students have begun in engineering and after several terms or years, transfer to our program of industrial design. The reason given most of the time is that they found no real connection between their classroom studies in engineering and creating or inventing products. The architectural transfers seem to come later with the majority of applications coming from students pursing graduate level education. …

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