"The theme of the lecture addresses a question: how can we design spaces in the city which encourage strangers to cooperate? To explore this question, I'll draw on research in the social sciences about cooperation, based on my book, and relate this research to current issues in urban design."
(Harvard Graduate School of Design, 28 February 2012)
"Tokyo-DIY-Gardening is an open sourcebook and resource for urban gardening on a personal level - 'hands-on gardening for a crowded city'. It includes 'how-to' examples/instructions, photo essays, observations, interviews, articles and more with the aim of knowledge sharing and creation around low-cost, agile gardening in dense cities (with a focus on Tokyo).
The DIY element invites everyone to experiment, share, and create a garden regardless of how little soil, space, budget, or experience you have. Gardening is fun for seniors, children, cooks, bird-watchers, and all of us who spend most of our time in the city."
(Jared Braiterman and Chris Berthelsen)
"There is considerable irony in this for multimedia. We have struggled technically to be able to deliver the full screen narrative form that TV so clearly represents - one hour of full screen full motion video has been a multimedia holy grail for so long! - and yet just as we appear to be able to deliver it, we find that what learners seek is something else anyway. They need a browsing, grazing environment where learner autonomy is fundamental, where the model of information represented is crucial to that browsing function, where metaphor and interface design are of primary importance and where sound bites, video snatches, auditory icons and text labels offer a complex and participatory environment that challenges the learner and recognises their increasing sophistication as information handlers and creators. Our normal information lives have changed without us noticing and the implications for multimedia and learning are complex and significant. The many publishers seeking to provide electronic books and narrative CDs are seeking to generate product that is a generation too late, as the age profile of buyers clearly indicates."
(Stephen Heppell, BBC 1995)
[Heppell accurately foretold the shift towards more open-ended organisational forms but in doing so failed to recognise the risk for learners of having too much choice. While the agency learners is increased through their autonomy to browse and graze etc. this is only the case when they possess recognition rules (Bernstein 2000, p.105-106) which allow them to construct meaningful discovery narratives.]
"The ways students use digital technologies are fundamentally different from how they are taught in the design studio. Implicated herein is the practice of teaching primarily through one-on-one 'desk crits' - what design educator Cal Swann derogatorily refers to as the 'Sitting by Nellie' approach, which often results in design instructors explaining their personal experiences in order to improve the students' work.
Conversely, by motivating students as active participants in learning, who construct knowledge collaboratively with their peers - rather than relying upon transmissive teacher-to-student approaches that create what Fischer calls 'passive, consumer-learners' - co-operative technologies reduce the focus on isolated learners. Such collaborative practices are not just about learning how to master participatory technologies as a means to personal expression; they should also be understood as social skills that enable engagement within a larger group or community.
The implications of participatory technologies for the practice of design will be long-term, far-reaching and are already being felt - though they are only beginning to be understood. What these developments mean for design education has barely begun to be addressed. 'The informal participatory communities of fans and gamers are where digital natives already congregate when they seek out knowledge - not the traditional classroom where learning is seen to be static, provisional and bureaucratic,' Jenkins declares. His cautionary report that schools tend to educate only individual problem-solvers - even though students entering the workplace will be asked to work collaboratively in teams, drawing on different sets of expertise - is as valid to design pedagogy as it is to education in general.
Digital technologies allow anyone with access not only to peer behind the curtain of the mysterious creative process but to experiment with it, and even appropriate the creations of others, first hand. Pierre Lévy's notion of a problem-solving, democratic 'collective intelligence' is already a reality on the Net where most of tomorrow's designers now engage with creative culture. When this group enters higher education, they will not leave their online communities and collaborative skills at the door.
There will always be a symbiotic relationship between design and the technologies used to support the creation of artefacts. Nevertheless, once connected digital technologies are introduced in the design studio - as they were in the 1990s - a new way of (net‑)working and engaging with design's communities of practice is possible. Consequently, design education requires a new approach that imparts relevant knowledge and skills in partnership with these technologies - technologies that take advantage of a classroom that exists beyond the academy walls and position the design student as a part of a broader community of learners.
From this perspective, students are not just individualised learners, the computer is not just another production tool, and the classroom studio is not a self-contained entity where students acquire knowledge to be applied later outside in the 'real world'. This type of connected pedagogy can be envisioned as a part of a wider network of learning, fostering engagement with the field that continues long after students receive their diplomas. The design classroom and its curriculum of projects, critiques and comps still have a crucial role to play in such a context, but they have to be connected with what students already know about in their world.
This article is based on research from the KnowledgeWorks Foundation (kwfdn.org).
Illustration by João Fazenda"
(Deborah Littlejohn, Eye no.70 vol. 18)
"On June 19 , danah boyd participated in the Berkman Luncheon Series to discuss her work and research in the area of social networks. She provided a great historical context to the various sites that have come and gone from the center of Internet activity, as well as some insight into what brought about their successes and failures.
Prior to her presentation she explained, 'Publics offer youth a space to engage in cultural identity development. By engaging in public life, youth learn to interpret the cultural signals that surround them and incorporate these cultural elements into their life. For a diverse array of reasons, contemporary youth have limited access to the types of publics with which most adults grew up. As a substitute for these inaccessible publics, networked publics like MySpace and Facebook are emerging to provide contemporary American youth with a necessary site for peer engagement.'"