Thursday, April 9, 2009

Imagination + Engineering = Imagineering

Rhonda Counts (left) recently retired from a long career as a Disney Imagineer. She spoke with future art teachers at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania because design (information, products, environments and experiences) is becoming part of the preparation for future art teachers.

Walt Disney Imagineering was originally formed by Walt Disney on December 16, 1952 as WED Enterprises (WED: Walter Elias Disney) to develop plans for a theme park that would become Disneyland. Disney could be considered the father of exerience design. WED Enterprises was renamed Walt Disney Imagineering and has gone on to create new attractions at Disney World and other parks around the world.

There are many good books about the Imagineers (right) that will help teachers see how experiential environmental design could be applied in school settings. Schools could look more like Disney World, EPCOT, or interactive childrens' museums than corporate office buildings. Shouldn't schools be the "happiest places on Earth"?

Imagineers combine an interest and knowledge in engineering and skills in imaginative visual storytelling. Students should learn the skills necessary to tell stories visually using graphic design, product design, architecture, landscaping, animatronics, costuming, and all the other skills employed by the Imagineers.

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