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Designer species: human uniqueness and its educational implications

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conference contribution
posted on 05.08.2009, 10:36 by Gill Hope
The purpose of this paper is to build on work presented at the last year’s D&T Association conference, subsequently published in the Association’s Journal, and to further explore the implications of human uniqueness for children’s education in design and technology. The research that underpins this paper and the proposed model of human cognitive processes (Figure.2) is founded on: • Classroom-based research into children’s design drawings (1998-2003). Examples within the paper are taken from this work. • Theoretical investigation into the nature of design and creativity, which has led to conference papers and journal articles (2001-2008). • Interest in insights from cognitive archaeology and the centrality of design capability in human evolution (2007- on-going). Combining insights from cognitive archaeology, design theory and classroom observations, this paper explains the implications of the three core capabilities identified in Figure.2 for the purpose and content of design and technology education. The difference between humans and other species has enabled the purposeful design and construction of a complex physical, social and cultural environment through which we mediate our relationships between each other and the found and made world. This difference impacts directly on the education of the young: not only must they be taught to do what others can already do, but they need to be equipped to be creative designers of their own lives, spaces and relationships both with and within the physical and social world.



  • Design

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  • D&T Association Conference Series


HOPE, G., 2009. Designer species: human uniqueness and its educational implications. IN: Norman, E. and Spendlove, D. (eds). The Design and Technology Association International Research Conference 2009. [Loughborough University, 30 June - 2nd July]. Wellesbourne : The Design and Technology Association, pp. 53-58


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