Towards understanding the utility of designing for Education: A research approach

University of New South Wales
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
ConnectED: International Conference on Design Education, 2007, pp. 1 - 4
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There has been a shift in recent times to thinking about learners as active drivers of educational processes despite centuries of vesting control with teachers. Perhaps in a bid to resolve such tension, a strengthening group of educational researchers has recently begun to develop an explicit scholarship around Education as a designing discipline: one in which teachers set up designs to hedge the possibility that students will learn. This paper describes the two-part research design of a doctoral investigation that examines the fruitfulness of designing for Education. In the first study, a learner-as- researcher distilled ideas about designing, by learning to design as a fully participating student in a mainstream undergraduate architectural design subject. Then, in the second study, she tested the educational utility of these insights into designing by working as an academic developer-as-researcher alongside an academic and students in a semester-long postgraduate digital architecture design subject. This investigation squarely addresses the matter of whether Education can be conceived, at core, as a designing discipline: if so, in what respects and if not, why not? Moreover, if its findings suggest this question can be settled in the affirmative, then this investigation will also be significant for its potential to refine an educationally powerful concept of designing, one in which both students and teachers might collaborate actively to enhance learning.
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