Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Drawing to Learn

Education has for too long failed to recognize the importance of visualization in the way people learn. School districts and universities don't list visual thinking as a basic skill alongside reading, writing and math but it is clear that, even in science, visual thinking is important for learning, understanding and communicating complex ideas.

Russell Tytler (right) from Deakin University in Australia is one of the researchers who published "Drawing to Learn" in the August 2011 issue of Science magazine. His research shows that drawing in science class helps students grasp science concepts, be more motivated to learn, and helps them communicate what they have learned.

Professor Tytler says their study shows that visualization is integral to science learning and that drawing can help engage students in science lessons, allow them to generate their own representations of common scientific diagrams, assist in the communication of science concepts to others, show understanding of concepts, and help them learn material.

The Drawing to Learn research is part of a three-year study funded through the Australian Research Council on the role of Representation in Learning Science (RiLS).

Click on the heading above to see a 4 minute video of Professor Tytler explaining the study and its results.

The Importance of Drawing in Science Education

The August 2011 issue of Science magazine has an article about the value of drawing in science education. Authors Shaaron Ainsworth, Vaughan Prain and Russell Tytler say that "Certainly making visualizations is integral to scientific thinking." Diagrams, graphs, videos, photographs, scientific illustrations, sketches, etc. are used by scientists to make discoveries, help them understand complex information, and explain their findings to others.

The article explores the value of drawing in science classes to enhance engagement, represent scientific information, improve reasoning and thinking skills, communicate ideas, and improve learning. Representation in Learning Science (RiLS) is a project that shows how drawing can be a central part of hands-on, multimodal learning in science. Preliminary results show that students who do drawings in their science education programs are engaged more in class, discuss at a higher level, and perform better in workbook activities.

The research shows that not only drawings but all forms of visualization (photographs, videos, animation, models, etc.) help students learn and understand complex science ideas. More research is being done but the article says, "...what is clear is the growing interest in drawing as it reflects new understandings of science as a multimodal discursive practice, as well as mounting evidence for its value in supporting quality learning."

Many visual art teachers are realizing that their field is really more about the "Visual" than the "Art" and that, just like English teachers help students learn anything through words, and math teachers help students learn anything through numbers, art teachers can help students learn anything through visual images, objects, spaces and visual experiences.

Click on the heading above see the article in Science magazine.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"My Design Life" Premiering August 24 on TV

Lisa S. Roberts (left) is the star of a new reality TV show called "My Design Life" beginning August 24 on the Ovation network. Ten 30-minute episodes will air on Wednesdays with back-to-back episodes at 8:00/7:00c and 8:30/7:30c.

The new original TV series is a collaboration between Ovation (the only TV network dedicated to arts and culture), Lisa S. Roberts (author of "Antiques of the Future") and Nancy Glass Productions. A special My Design Life marathon featuring all 10 episodes will air on September 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Lisa S. Roberts was an architect who switched to product and graphic design. In the early 1980's, she began collecting contemporary product design objects which became the basis for her book, Antiques of the Future. Roberts has been featured on HGTV and The Today Show, serves on the Executive Committee of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and is a trustee of Philadelphia's Museum of Art.

My Design Life follows Roberts and her team as they visit museum exhibitions, trade shows, retail stores and designers' studios gathering ideas and inspiration for Roberts' upcoming book, "DesignPop: Popular Trends in Contemporary Product Design".

Episodes include visits to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the design studios of Harry Allen and Tony Wurman; retail stores such as Design Within Reach and Moss; and restaurants, including David Rockwell's Pod (right) and Christine Liaigre's Buddakan. Viewers will learn about the history behind designs and the designers and manufactures who created them.

Highlights from My Design Life include:

Episode 1 - Premiering Wednesday, August 24 at 8:00pm ET/PT --- Lisa and her team visit the NY International Gift Fair and discover a new garlic crusher, a piggy bank cast from a real piglet, Kaktus and balloon stools, the hands-on salad bowl, and a biodegradable umbrella called the Brelli, which they test out at The City University of New York.

Episode 2 - Premiering Wednesday, August 24 at 8:30pm ET/PT --- This episode features designer Karim Rashid, who gives Lisa an exclusive tour of his home; preparation for a party Lisa is hosting in Philadelphia; and a controversial photo shoot for the book, including a Garbo can and a provocative female model.

Highlights from upcoming episodes include a visit to CerealArt, designing your own shoes, the Snotty Vase, a visit to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, a hunt through New York City for condoms relating to the NYC Condom Campaign, and a segment featuring design products from Michael Graves and Debra Alder for Target.

Click on the heading above to go to the My Design Life website. For more information and schedule, visit or or follow Lisa on twitter @ mydesignlife.