Facilitating Social Constructivist Learning Environments for Product Design Students Using Social Software (Web2) and Wireless Mobile Devices

By Thomas Cochrane, Isaac Flitta and Roger Bateman.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is well understood and has been well documented that there is much to gain by using social software in creating collaborative learning communities. However little is known about using a context independent interactive collaborative environment with an emphasis upon sharing, ease of use, customization and personal publishing (Mobile Web2). This paper describes an innovative and integrated Mobile Web2 technology in a product design live project setting, that assists product designers to solve a real problem to serve a real client. Students and teaching staff use a smartphone to capture design decisions and prototypes and collate and share these via an online eportfolio. From the data collected from staff/students surveys it was found that this method provided a stimulating collaborative environment that develops personal skill to bring out their latent creativity in such a way that these will become part of their project. Opportunities for mobile web2 product design projects are outlined. The logistics of providing access to appropriate hardware and software for all students are also discussed.

Keywords: Mobile Web2, Social Constructivism, Product Design, Education

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.67-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.278MB).

Thomas Cochrane

Academic Advisor (eLearning & Learning Technologies), Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation, Communication, UNITEC, Auckland, New Zealand

Thomas Cochrane is an Academic Adivsor (elearning and Learning Technologies) with Unitec (March 2004 to present). His role at Unitec includes providing support for elearning and learning technologies for Unitec teaching staff, and pushing the boundaries of educational technology for enhancing teaching and learning at Unitec. His research interests include mobile learning, web2, and communities of practice. He is currently implementing mobile learning trials for his PHD thesis: “Mobilizing Learning: The potential impact of wireless mobile computing on teaching and learning in higher education in New Zealand”. Harnessing the potential of social software tools (such as: Mobile Blogging, RSS, Instant Messaging, Moodle and Elgg…) using wireless mobile devices, such as: PDAs, laptops, and the new generation of mobile phones. Thomas Cochrane BE, BD, GDHE, MTS, MComp Academic Advisor (eLearning & Learning Technologies) Centre for Teaching & Learning Innovation, Unitec tcochrane@unitec.ac.nz (00649) 815-4321 xtn 7067 http://ltxserver.unitec.ac.nz/~thom/ http://ltxserver.unitec.ac.nz/mediawiki/index.php/Main_Page Blogs: http://tcblogtest.blogspot.com http://thomcochrane.wordpress.com http://thomcochrane.vox.com

Dr. Isaac Flitta

Senior lecturer, School of Design, Unitec New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand

I have been an academic and a research active for over 12 years. I am currently a senior lecturer and Programme Director for the Bachelor of Product Design at UNITEC. I joined UNITEC at the beginning of this year from Bournemouth University in the UK. I was Programme Leader for the BSc (Hons) Design Engineering Programme, and was involved with teaching design courses in different programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Roger Bateman

Associate Head of Design, Senior Lecturer, School of Design, Unitec New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand

Roger began his career in design as a studio assistant at the London company Flux Designs in 1985. In 1989 he began ‘Square One’ studio; concerned with the design and development of furniture and product designs for contract and domestic markets, the studios’ clients included Viaduct Furniture, London/ Glosbrook and the Liverpool City Council. In 1994 Roger joined rds London as partner and design director. The company designed, developed, manufactured and sold contemporary furniture to clients as diverse as Diesel, British Airways, the V&A Museum London, Scottish parliament, KLM, Morgan Grenfell, TSB, Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, The Royal Opera House London, The Dome UK, British Council, Warner Music and Virgin Music. In 1998 he joined the Keen Group Ltd London, overseeing the design and development of office furniture solutions. Keens clients include Apple Computers, BBC, Chanel, IXC Tokyo and the Stella McCartney Studio. In 2000 Roger moved to Spain to oversee design development and manufacture of Keen Products whilst at the same time forming a design partnership with Jane Dillon and Tom Grieves. Their clients included Casas Barcelona and AvantGarde Milan. Throughout his career in furniture and product design Roger has academic positions at LIHE, Liverpool, Edinburgh College of Art, IED Barcelona and Eina Barcelona. Roger is currently Associate Head and Senior Lecturer in the School of Design where he has been working since November 2004. Roger teaches in the Bachelor of Product Design the Master of Design, is Head of the Schools Design & Business Incubator and a member of the School’s Research & Advanced Practice Committee. Roger is currently developing the areas of Design Enterprise, Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Exchange within the School.


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