Impact of a Toolset for Design Activities

By Keelin Leahy.

Published by Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal — Annual Review

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

This paper reports on an action research study, comprising of ninety-six second level (high school) students. The study investigates the impact of a toolset for design activity, developed in consideration of design principles, processes and practices. The impact of the toolset was investigated through students design activity during Project one (P1) and Project two (P2). Initially, for P1, many students copied or traced an object they were aware of, or created symbolic shapes. Numerous students noted difficulty during P1 to think or communicate original ideas. Post exposure to the toolset, during P2, students demonstrated more unusual ideas and more confidence in their design activities. As a result of a design toolset sessions and tasks students became more aware of and applied the skills necessary for descriptive design activity during P2 design project. The methodology for building awareness and relevance of students’ design cognition and ability proved successful. The findings also confirm that design ability can be improved with consideration of a descriptive design toolset for design activity. This paper highlights the impact of a design toolset for the promotion of descriptive design activity, through grade comparison, usefulness expressed by students and confidence level developed.

Keywords: Descriptive Design Activity, Toolset, Creativity, Design Process

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal — Annual Review, Volume 6, 2012, pp.121-141. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.455MB).

Keelin Leahy

Lecturer, Department of Design and Manufacturing Technology, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, Ireland

Ms. Keelin is a lecturer with the Department of Design and Manufacturing Technology in the University of Limerick. In 2009, she graduated with a PhD from the University of Limerick. In 2005, she successfully completed a first class honours Bachelor of Technology, Materials and Construction concurrent with Teacher Education at the University of Limerick. On graduating she won the Advanced Scholar Award. She has also received the IRCSET scholarship for the duration of her PhD completion. Her key areas of interest include design pedagogy in technology education; design methods and strategies; learning and thinking styles; design and communication graphics; wood technology and design; communication techniques; and sustainable design practice and strategies.