Design history in a nutshell

animation, design, learning, media This video is one of a series of six that I've been involved with as author in a project with the Open University to create a series of six two-minute videos for free access on the Open Learn website. The videos take a light-hearted approach to explain some of the key movements in design history: Gothic Revival, Arts & Crafts, The Bauhaus, Modernism, American Industrial Design, and Post-Modernism. There's also an overarching narrative that quietly demonstrates that until recent times designers and design thinkers were absolutely central to shaping and influending societal attitudes, economies, cultural values, morals and models of consumption.Perhaps the time has come for designers once again to speak up and act as influential forces for change! To round things off, there's also a short quiz (6…
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Education by algorithm

learning, pedagogy
In an article on the CoExist website, entitled "Personalization And Analytics: The Future Of Education?", the author, EdSurge [sic] waxes lyrical about Knewton, the unfunnily-punning paid-for mass-customised online educational delivery mechanism. "Jose Ferreira has a big vision of what his startup, Knewton (which attempts to make personalized curricula for individual students), can do for education." So this dystopian vision of education as a mass-customised experience, driven by Google-style analytics is one in which education is reduced to dehumanised algorithms and in which there appears to be no role for pedagogy, nor the opportunity for students to learn by failing, and which teachers are apparently an out-moded and inefficient resource and the emphasis is on "getting through a course". "Knewton will create unique recommendations (both of conceptual material as well…
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Alien objects

creative thinking, creativity, critical & creative thinking, design, learning
LOLA: Alien Object Analysis on Prezi   A critical & creative thinking activity Essentially, a version of a traditional design object analysis activity, this is a creative exercise that introduces students to the idea that all objects can convey meanings; meanings which can be clear, obscure, shifting, ephemeral, long-lasting, trivial, profound, widely understood, narrowly received, lost - and more. The activity can be run with any number of variations, but the one presented here is set against some dystopian future in which all the inhabitants of planet Earth have abandoned it, leaving behind only their manufactured artifacts. At some time subsequent, an alien civilisation finds abandoned world and sends down a landing party to explore. The biggest puzzle they face is trying to make sense of the objects they find…
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Not learning in style

art, creative thinking, learning
OU students who are or once were enrolled on the U101: Design & Creative Thinking in the 21st Century will no doubt recall the TMA11 assignment, which despite the odd numerical  sequencing, is actually the first TMA that U101 students encounter on the module. For those  who aren't familiar with it, the nature of the assignment is to get students to undertake a series of non-threatening creative activities,such as finding as many uses for a paper bag within five minutes, or, using a series of circles printed on a poster, to draw 'roles' that exemplify aspects of their lives. Additionally,  students are asked to make  comment and pronouncements about their learning styles as determined by the undertaking of an online learning style survey, the results of which lead to the…
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