Friday, February 27, 2009

A Leader in 3D Animation Wins Academy Award

Ed Catmull (right) won the 2008 Gordon E. Sawyer Award (an Academy Award), which is the highest award given at the SciTech Oscars. This is an award honoring an entire career.

Catmull worked on the inception of 3-D animation and become the first Chief Technical Officer at Pixar, one of the top animation studios in the world. Dr. Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. Previously, he was vice president of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm, Ltd., where he managed four development efforts in the areas of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio.

Steve Jobs founded Pixar, and John Lasseter is one of the creative forces behind Pixar's success. Catmull directed the technology that made animated films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo possible. Other Pixar animated films include The Incredibles, WALL-E, Monsters, Inc., A Bug's Life, Cars, Ratatouille and Up.

Click on the heading above to go to Pixar's site to learn how they make their films and what it takes to get a job there.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mayor's Institute on City Design Held In Philadelphia

Maurice Cox (left), Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts, and Ron Bogle (right), President and CEO of the American Architectural Foundation, were among the mayors and other participants at the Mayor's Institute on City Design held in Phildadelphia in February, 2009.

The Mayors' Institute on City Design (MICD) is a partnership program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Architectural Foundation, and the United States Conference of Mayors. Since 1986, the Mayors' Institute has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities.

The MICD achieves its mission by organizing sessions where mayors engage leading design experts to find solutions to the most critical urban design challenges facing their cities. Sessions are organized around case-study problems. Each mayor presents a problem from his or her city for the other mayors and designers to discuss.

Every year, the partner organizations plan and manage six to eight Institute sessions held throughout the country. Each two and one-half day session is limited to less than twenty participants, half mayors and half a resource team consisting of outstanding city design and development professionals. Mayors present a range of challenges, including waterfront redevelopment, downtown revitalization, transportation planning, and the design of new public buildings such as libraries and arts centers. Following each presentation, mayors and designers identify important issues, offer suggestions, and discuss potential solutions. The interchange sparks lively debate, opens new perspectives, and generates creative ideas. Members of the resource team also make presentations on the role of their profession in the process of city design, illustrated by outstanding examples and best practices.

Despite the intimate nature of its proceedings, the Institute has graduated more than 700 mayors. Many of these are still in office, and a half-dozen are either in Congress or in a governor's mansion. The program has also graduated over 500 designers who have often commented on learning as much from the mayors as the mayors have learned from them. Design is a two-way street, and the Mayors' Institute was founded both to educate mayors about design and to educate the design community about the latest practical needs of our cities.

Click on the heading above to go to the Mayor's Institute on City Design website.

Negative Views of Visual Communication

Click on the image on the left to see it flash from positive to negative. OK, so I too have some negative views about the annoying flashing graphic on the left but I wanted to call your attention to one of the challenges facing design educators. While we work to teach our students knowledge and skills, it is dispositions that may be one of our biggest challenges. Specifically the negative disposition by a portion of the population against visual communication as a serious or useful means of learning, thinking and communicating.

Here are some of the ways I see that negative opinion about visual images being expressed:

Education journals are minimally designed and contain few images. This signals the idea that words are more appropriate for serious thinking than images.
Color photos are reserved for "popular" publications. USA Today is criticized for its use of photos and graphics while the more "serious" Wall Street Journal still uses line art in place of many photos.
People lament that young people aren't reading enough and blame television and video games. This signals the negative idea that students aren't learning and thinking while watching TV and playing video games.
Even some art students express the belief that time spent graphically designing text (like lesson plans or papers) is a waste of time and detracts from the importance of the words on the page.

Some of the positive dispositions toward visual images are:

The public attitudes about war changed when wars became televised (starting in Vietnam). Reading about war is not nearly as powerful as seeing what it is really like.
Visual images in science, like the photos of Earth from space and the visual model of the DNA double-helix, forever changed our understanding of important ideas like the fragility of our planet's atmosphere and the structure of the basis of life on our planet.

Part of our job as visual educators is to help people see that our growing access to images, photos, Google maps, YouTube, Vimeo, simulations, information graphics, etc. are a tremendous boon to human intellectual growth and capacity. Books were incredibly important when we didn't have the technology needed to create and distribute images, but now we should celebrate the power of visual images rather than lament the decline of communication by words.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Art Directors Guild is the Club for Designers in Film and TV

If you have students who would like to design for movies or television then they should know about the Art Directors Guild of America. ADG is the organization for people who do any of the hundreds of design jobs necessary for film and television. This includes art directors, production designers, set designers, model makers, matte artists, illustrators, previs artists, graphic designers, title designers, and others.

On Valentines Day this year the Art Directors Guild had their award ceremony in Los Angeles for production designers and art directors.

Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and The Dark Knight were winners at the Art Directors Guild Awards February 14, 2009.

Benjamin Button won the Excellence in Production Design for a Period Film, The Dark Knight picked up the Fantasy Film prize and Slumdog Millionaire was named the Best Contemporary Film at the black-tie ceremony held at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Honorary awards were presented to Production Designer Paul Sylbert for Lifetime Achievement, and to filmmaker George Lucas for Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery.

And five production designers were inducted into the ADG Hall of Fame - Ted Haworth, Joseph MCMillan Johnson, Romain Johnston, John Meehan and Harold Michelson. Mad Men, Little Britain U.S.A., John Adams and Weeds picked up awards for design excellence in television.

The 80th Annual Academy Awards telecast was named the Best Awards Show, Variety, Music, or Non-Fiction Program.

Click on the heading above to see the Art Directors Guild web site.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Logo Design Not as Easy as it Looks

Designing a logo is a common introductory project in graphic design but it is not as easy as it looks. In the effort to move students from eager amateurs to sure-footed designers there are several layers of cliches and over-used devices to try to get the students to let go of.

If they are using a computer to design a logo there are several easy tools that are too enticing and result in bad designs. Overuse of Photoshop simple effects like the “Bevel and Emboss” look amateurish.
Gradients and textures usually do not reproduce well in a logo.

Letter interlacing is done with no meaning in many cases.
Don't use too many elements. A logo has to be the synthesis of the ideas. The simpler, the better.
Simple shapes made with common effects are often new and exciting to amateurs but are easily recognized by experienced designers. They seem unique to students but overused to designers.
The logos should be scalable (look good bigger or smaller). Parts that are too small can be illegible when reduced.
Fonts that seem unique to students are often overused and boring to designers.
Avoid literal representation. Using drawings or clipart can indicate an inability to create original ideas.

Click on the heading above to go to a site called for an article about logo design with examples of good and bad logo design and links to other resources about logo design.

"Kung Fu Panda" Wins Annie Awards

'Kung Fu Panda' was named the Best Animated Feature of 2008 at the 36th annual Annie Awards sponsored by ASIFA-Hollywood.

ASIFA-Hollywood is the Los Angeles chapter of the International Animated Film Society. They gave the animated comedy, which featured the voices of actors Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman, its top prize at its annual awards event in Burbank January 30, 2009.

"Panda" defeated top competitors such as "WALL-E" and "Waltz With Bashir" to win the best animated feature award. I wonder if that is an indication of what might happen in the same category at the Academy Awards on February 20.

Kung Fu Panda won several awards. "Secrets of the Furious Five," a 24-minute animated feature on the DVD version of "Panda," also earned four TV production/short form awards. The award for best video game went to the "Panda" game released by Activision. Dustin Hoffman also won an Annie for best voice acting in a feature film for "Panda."

Some awards went to other productions including "Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II" as best animated TV production and "Avatar: The Last Airbender," which earned a best TV production for children Annie.

Annie Awards are also given in categories such as character design, character animation, storyboarding, animation effects, and production design.

Click on the heading above to visit the Annie Awards website.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

High School Students to Experience Learning from Robot

Scientists at UC San Diego's California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) have equipped a robot modeled after Albert Einstein, the famed theoretical physicist, with specialized software that allows it to interact with humans in a relatively natural, conversational way. The so-called "Einstein Robot," which was designed by Hanson Robotics of Dallas, Texas, recognizes a number of human facial expressions and can respond accordingly. Scientists consider it an unparalleled tool for understanding how both robots and humans perceive emotion, as well as a potential platform for teaching, entertainment, fine arts and even cognitive therapy.

These robots still look pretty stilted and have jerky movements but remember their capabilities are doubling every 18 months or so. These robots are currently scientific instruments to learn something about human-robot interaction, as well as human-to-human interaction.

Evoking realistic facial expressions in a machine made of wires and gears is incredibly complex. For Einstein to crack a smile, 17 of the robot's 31 motors must whir into action and subtly adjust multiple points of articulation around his mouth and piercing brown eyes.

Click on the heading above to see a video about the Einstein robot.

Architects Use Charrette Process to Design Schools

A charrette is a design process used to gather input from a variety of stakeholders in the beginning stages of designing anything from a building to a whole neighborhood. Architects are increasingly involving stakeholders in actively designing schools.

One of the leaders in this direction is a firm called Concordia. Concordia is a community based architectural planning and design team that uses an integrative and participatory process that addresses physical, cultural, social, educational, organizational and economic assets and needs. They hold charrettes to bring in stakeholders to provide suggestions and ideas for the design of their school.

Steven Bingler (left) is the founder and President of Concordia. Concordia's projects include a range of building types including the Jackson Brewery Festival Marketplace, the New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas and the Henry Ford Academy. The Henry Ford Academy is a 400 student high school located within the Henry Ford Museum (right).

Concordia has undertaken projects focused principally on the planning and design of environments for living and learning. Bingler served as a special consultant to the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education for policy related to the design of schools as centers of the community.

Concordia was a partner in the research and publication of Dollars and Sense: The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools, a collaboration with the KnowledgeWorks Foundation (, Rural Schools and Community Trust, and Dr. Craig Howley of Ohio University. At the behest of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Steven co-authored the second release, Dollars & Sense II: Lessons from Good, Cost-Effective Small Schools.

Click on the heading above to read a short article from New Horizon's for Learning on Bingler's approach to designing schools.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

International Design Alliance (IDA) Unites Design Societies

The International Design Alliance (IDA) is a collaboration between the international organizations representing design. The Alliance was created by founding partners Icsid (International Council for Societies of Industrial Design) and Icograda (International Council of Graphic Design Associations) and ratified by their respective General Assemblies in September 2003. In September 2008, the IDA welcomed the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) to the alliance as the third partner.

The alliance is based on the desire of its partners to "do together what they cannot do alone," concentrating on opportunities arising from multidisciplinary collaboration.

The design community working together for a world that is balanced, inclusive and sustainable.

To bring the benefits of design to world bodies, governments, business and society.

• To serve as the collective voice of design
• To develop and share knowledge of design around the world
• To stimulate innovation through multidisciplinary design collaboration
• To promote the mutual interest of all design professions
• To encourage the use and value of design by building relationships with
world bodies

Click on the heading above to go to the ICSID/IDA website.

Norman Rockwell Museum Has New Visual Studies Center

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass launched a new center for the study of illustration. The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies (RCAVS) is the nation’s first research institute devoted to the art of illustration.

Officially launched in February, 2009, Norman Rockwell Museum’s 40th anniversary year, RCAVS will bring new scholarly attention and resources to the art of illustration, a hugely influential aspect of American visual culture that is only now being studied and appreciated. Through creating new online research tools and collections access, supporting scholarship, and spurring the collection and preservation of important artworks, RCAVS will establish a context for understanding the role of illustration art in shaping and reflecting American culture.

The new center builds on Norman Rockwell Museum’s 40 year history and its stewardship of the art and archives of Norman Rockwell, considered by many to be America’s preeminent illustrator; its work in digitizing the Museum’s art and archival holdings to make the “complete Rockwell” available to scholars and the public online; and its role as the nation’s leading presenter of illustration art through exhibitions and publications.

Click on the heading above to see a video of the launch of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies (RCAVS).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Playing the Future

The 21st century might just herald in the era of playing and games. Just like the 19th century is remembered as the Industrial Age (left) and the 20th century is seen as the Information Age (center), the 21st century seems to be developing into something around the nature of games, playing and simulations.

Learning today is more game-like and we are learning more and more about the principles of designing learning around concepts of play. Tracy Fullerton has written a book called "Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games." (right) The book isn't about the hardware or the software but is more about the principles of designing good games.

The principles of good game design carry lessons for everyone in education or any other human enterprise today. Games are an integral part of all known human cultures. We are just beginning to learn why and how games are the way we will learn and live today as we have throughout history.

Click on the heading above to check out a "Games in Education" video with Henry Jenkins and James Gee at the Serious Games Institute site -

Provide Students with Spatial Experiences

Students in art classes learn to create 2-dimensional images and 3-dimensional objects. They also learn how to represent 3-dimensional objects and spaces in 2-dimensions. What strategies can we use to get students to develop skills in designing spaces and places?

Sometimes I wonder if even creating architectural models isn't more of a 3-D object activity than a true spatial learning activity. The students seem to treat the model as a 3-D object rather than a model used to conceptualize a space. Do they really think about what the spaces inside the model will be like?

UberArc Architectural Series provides an interesting learning experience for young builders. Those 10 years and older can construct skyscrapers from blueprints and building materials. They follow the steps architects take to construct a building, choosing from provided blueprints or creating a design of their own. They can apply online for a building permit which provides the wind loads and seismic loads for their proposed design in addition to offering a site location and name for their project.

A guide with basic building techniques is included to demonstrate techniques for building structures like walls, arches, curves, and more. The 1600 building pieces provided are made from recycled materials like straws and popsicle sticks. Highly flexible and sturdy links, crossbeams, and connecting panels interlock to form rigid structures that are easy to assemble.
Something really unique is that the UberStix products are engineered to work with existing building kits like, Lego and K'NEX as well as your own recycled materials, like paper clips and plastic cups.

Click on the heading above to learn more about Uberstix.

Don Norman Says We Can Insist on Good Design

Don Norman (right) is a good natured critic of bad design and advocate for the increased use of design principles we already know. He says that not too long ago we didn't know much about design but now, there is no excuse for bad design.

Norman laid out many of his early ideas in his book "The Design of Everyday Things" (left) which he has followed up with several other books.

Click on the heading above to hear Don Norman talk about his ideas about good design.

Oscar Nominees for Visual Effects (VFX)

Eric Barba of Digital Domain, Paul Franklin of Double Negative, and Ben Snow of Industrial Light & Magic are not names known to many outside the film industry but they helped design the visual effects for three of the top films of the year.

The 2009 Visual Effects Oscar nominees are:
* Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron, visual effects supervisor for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
* Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin for “The Dark Knight”
* John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan for “Iron Man.”

This is the first Oscar nomination for Barba and Franklin, and the third for Snow (“Star Wars –Episode II: Attack of the Clones” and “Pearl Harbor”). Industrial Light & Magic is George Lucas' production company.

For the film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, several design companies took on different tasks. Digital Domain created a modeled, animated, lit, rendered, tracked, and composited, CG (computer graphic) version of an aged Brad Pitt using Brad Pitt’s performance as a basis for the animation.

Benjamin has a digital head during every shot in the first 52 minutes of the film using 325 head replacement shots in all. Another effects company, Asylum, created several watery environments. Lola “youthenized” Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Matte World Digital created establishing environments and changed existing locations to give the film the correct period details.

Click on the heading above to see the Computer Graphics Society's coverage of the nominees.

Students Learn about the Pantone Matching System

There are more color systems to learn than the basic color wheel traditionally taught in art classes. Other systems include RGB, CMYK, HTML, and PMS.

PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. Pantone is a system that helps designers match colors in a variety of applications so that colors will appear the same on glossy or plain paper, on trucks, T-shirts, coffee cups, etc.

In September 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone’s founder, created an innovative system for identifying matching and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches in the graphic arts community. His insight that the spectrum is seen and interpreted differently by each individual led to the innovation of the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM, a book of standardized color in fan format. Today, the Pantone name is known worldwide as the standard language for accurate color communication, from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer, across a variety of industries. For the discerning taste of the creative class, Pantone is, quite simply, the color bible.

Click on the heading above to learn more about Pantone and to find out why they chose Mimosa as the color of the year for 2009.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism

Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism (right) is a book edited by Bryan Bell (left) and Katie Wakeford
that presents a new generation of creative design carried out in the service of the greater public and greater good. Questioning how design can improve daily lives, editors Bryan Bell and Katie Wakeford map an emerging geography of architectural activism that is rich in its diversity of approaches.

More than thirty essays by practicing architects and designers, urban and community planners, landscape architects, environmental designers, and members of other fields present recent work from around the world that suggests the countless ways that design can address issues of social justice, allow individuals and communities to plan and celebrate their own lives, and serve a much larger percentage of the population than it has in the past. Clearly demonstrating a trend that is moving from the margins into the mainstream, the work encompasses community activism; sustainability; new approaches to prefabrication, manufactured housing, and modular design; a merging of the roles of designer and developer; a deepening commitment to pro bono work; and much more.

Click on the heading above to watch videos from one of the events across the country to roll out the new book.

Support Design Education

Continuum and the Rotman School of Management have a nice video on why businesses should support design education in schools. Roger Martin (right) is dean of the Rotman School of Management in Toronto and appears in the video along with several others providing an understanding of the importance of design thinking for everyone.

Continuum created this video to bring to people's attention the growing importance of design thinking in business, and to advocate for a corresponding evolution in design education. They collaborated with others in the design and academic worlds who are part of this movement. The video was shot at the Rotman School in Toronto and at Continuum's studio in Boston, with contributions from author Dan Pink and academic Jeffrey Huang. The video touches upon the current state of design education, its challenges—and the possibilities for its future.

Click on the heading above to go to the Design Education portion of the Continuum website and click on the photo of Roger Martin to see the "Support Design Education" video.

Paul Sproll Chairs Design Education at RISD

Paul Sproll is one of the national leaders in design education in K-12 schools. The primary focus of his work is teaching and learning in and through the arts in schools, museums and community settings.

Sproll is a longtime advocate for the study of design (products + things, words + images, places + spaces) in elementary and secondary schools; he views design education as a potent strategy for empowering students to make critical judgments regarding design and the visual text[s] of everyday life. He is a regular presenter at national forums on art and design education and frequently serves as a curriculum consultant and arts organization panelist.

In 1992 Paul founded RISD’s Center for the Advancement of Art + Design Education, creating an institutional infrastructure to support the professional development of K-12 teachers and, more recently, programming for high school students. The Center’s work comes to life in RISD-sponsored summer academies, workshops, studios, lectures and institutional collaborations.

He directed RISD’s High School Student Initiative, a three-year project funded by the Surdna Foundation designed to provide urban high school students with greater access to RISD programming. In 2003 he spearheaded an ongoing partnership between RISD and Hope Arts High School, a Providence public school undergoing significant curricular changes.

Click on the heading above to see a video of Paul Sproll talking about RISD's programs.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Design Can Win a $15,000 College Scholarship

Have your students design a Doodle 4 Google and possibly win a $15,000 College Scholarship.

Google has launched its Doodle for Google (or Doodle 4 Google) competition for students in kindergarten up to grade 12. The theme of this year's competition is "What I wish for the world" and the winner will get a $15,000 college scholarship. Contestants are being asked to create a "doodle" that symbolizes the theme. The winner's creation will be featured on Google's home page on May 21, 2009. Only teachers can submit entries for their students.

Click on the heading above to go to the Doodle 4 Google site.

Singularity University Launched in Silicon Valley

The public launch of Singularity University at the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley was recently announced. Singularity University aims to assemble a world class community of thought leaders, academics, and entreprenuers across the many fields of exponentially advancing technologies (nanotechnology, genetics, medicine, artificial intelligence, etc.) in order to address humanity’s grand challenges.

With significant backing from Google and NASA, and with the participation of a renowned cast of faculty and advisors, Singularity University is poised to become a world class institution for the innovation, collaboration, and leadership that will capitalize on the promise of technology to solve the world’s greatest problems.

Ray Kurzweil (right), Peter Diamandis, and a team of advisors has been intently working on the idea and the details of various planning meetings have been filtering into public consciousness throughout the year.

The university is built on the ideas presented in Kurzweil's book "The Singularity is Near". The "singularity" he refers to is the point at which technology advances to a point that "lets humans transcend our biological limitations". In general, the idea of the university is that technology is advancing at an exponential rate and universities have to be re-designed to keep up with the increasing speed of change.

The planning over the past year brought together a wide range of people from a variety of different fields. The plan is to have intensive 9 or 10-week summer programs for grad-level students, where they learn a variety of different subjects (some outside their field), but then work together to try to tackle a "big problem" (world hunger, climate change, etc.) using their diverse backgrounds and knowledge. They are also offering 3- and 10-day classes intended for those already in the workforce.

This university is for fairly high-rollers, intellectually and financially. Programs run around $25,000 and expect some facility in areas like nanotechnology, biotechnology, industrial design, artificial intelligence, etc.

Click on the heading above to see a video at the Singularity University website.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Amazing Photos of London at Night

You have to check out some amazing photos of London, as seen from above at night by photographer Jason Hawkes. If you're a person, like myself, who has flying dreams, these photos will have a special significance.

Hawkes shot the photos with a camera attached to gyro-stabilized mounts while strapped to the side of a helicopter, using Nikon gear and either a 14-24mm or a 70-200mm lens. Even with that, the low light and heavy vibrations can make things difficult, so he often shoots connected to his MacBook Pro to check the sharpness of the images on the spot.

For the full effect click on the photo on the right to see it in a larger size.
Click on the heading above to see a set of the photos and look for a second set that were posted at a later time.

Technical Theater Teachers Teach Design

Technical theater teachers help students learn how to design sets, costumes, lighting, makeup, masks, props, and a variety of other design needs for theatre, film and television. Theater design sometimes overlaps with architecture in that the designer has to consider and design a space. This goes beyond the 2D and 3D learning that takes place in most traditional art programs. Theater designers work not only with images and objects but have to learn to design spaces and experiences.

There are a few organizations for theatre teachers such as the Educational Theater Association and the American Alliance for Theater and Education. Many resources are available for technical theater designers.

Click on the heading above to see some resources for teaching design in theater, film and television.

English Teachers Teach Design

Many English teachers belong to the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). While their main mission remains that of teaching students to read and write they have always included some design components when they produce school newspapers, yearbooks, run photo labs, teach film, study illustrated texts, and do a variety of other design activities.

NTCE's Assembly for Advisers of Student Publications/ Journalism Education Association (AASP/JEA) includes members of the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and serves advisers of student media, such as newspapers, yearbooks, literary magazines, radio, and video.

The NCTE Executive Committee adopted a new definition of 21st Century Literacies that include more visual design in their programs. According to their statement:

"Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the twenty-first century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies. These literacies—from reading online newspapers to participating in virtual classrooms—are multiple, dynamic, and malleable. As in the past, they are inextricably linked with particular histories, life possibilities and social trajectories of individuals and groups. Twenty-first century readers and writers need to

Develop proficiency with the tools of technology

Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally

Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes

Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information

Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts

Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments"

Many of the proficiencies above are those of designers. An International Design Education Association would include English teachers who teach design as well as journalism teachers, media specialists, computer science teachers, theatre tech teachers, art teachers and a variety of other K-12 teachers.

Click on the heading above to view the NCTE web site.

Survey Says Education Lags Behind Design Industries Needs

Ouch! A recent survey says that college web design courses fail to deliver people prepared to work in the web design industry. The survey says college courses don't keep pace with the latest technology. The experts surveyed say that higher education should focus on fundamentals of web design, not just currently popular software.

The survey, called "Teach the Web," was released Jan. 20, 2009 and includes opinions and advice from 32 web design professionals who are considered some of the most knowledgeable and respected in the world.

The survey says that educational bureaucracies move slowly when approving new curriculum, while the web design industry moves fast enough that the curriculum is obsolete by the time they get around to committee approval. One of those surveyed said they don't hire graduates of university web development programs.

In most real-world design fields the culture of large educational institutions (whether K-12 or universities) is unable to cope with the demands of such varied and fast-moving industries. While many well-meaning teachers are doing their best, those in the survey say students come out of a university program not knowing what they'd need to know to be hired.. They claim that most of the time, students have been brought a long way down the wrong path.

Leslie Jensen-Inman (right), an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she teaches design, business, and technology, wrote the "Teach the Web" survey and said web design college instructors should embrace the business' harsh realities. Jensen-Inman, a member of the Web Standards Project Education Task Force, wrote in the survey's introduction, "Let's face it. Technology moves fast; academia doesn't,"

If we look at a continuum that goes from "historic", "traditional", and "contemporary", to "new", and "emerging" most educational programs in K-12 through college lean toward the traditional side rather than the new and emerging side where students need to perform.

Click on the heading above to go to Jensen-Inman's blog.