Technology and Design
This teaching activity aims to support students to explain and engage in reflection-in-action on values involved both in designs (output), for example, the qualities of the design that resonate with the values, and in designing (activity), for example, how the design engages others in the decision making. Through the activity the students will discuss how reflection-in-action can support thinking about values, explain and exemplify their reflection-in-action through the product, system or service or by the interaction with it.
In our experience, students seldom consider the act of making as a means for reflection, but rather as a way to demonstrate their ideas or concepts (which mostly takes place later in the design process). This teaching activity brings them to realise other uses of their design skills in the design process, namely reflecting-in-action on values engaged in the designs (output) and in designing (activity).
This exercise focuses on “making for exploration”, which is characterised by ambiguity and a lack of predetermined planning (Frens & Hengeveld, 2013), i.e., with no expected plan and result planned before starting making. Such making supports the designer to engage in a reflective dialogue with the material in order to ideate and reflect, and may therefore lead to reflection-in-action on values engaged in the design project.
In this teaching activity, the students are introduced to a value-based perspective (e.g., oppositions such as individualism vs. collectivism) or a worldview (for example, cognitive embodiment), and through making, the students reflect on the values and value stances addressed by the aforementioned value-based perspective. Instead of working towards an end product the focus in this activity is on the reflection-in-action.
After the teaching activity students will be able to:
The making part of the teaching activity can be done either as a homework activity or in class, depending on the time and the Publications at hand. We recommend it to be homework as it provides more time for the student to reflect and to iterate on the making. However, the process is globally the same.
Give the presentation that you have prepared.
Walk through the process of the making activity, instructions, and timeplan. The making should not require advanced skills to shape materials and technologies that the artefact is built of. Remind the students that the aim is to reflect in the making, not to be challenged to make. It can be advised to students to either use accessible materials and techniques (e.g., paper/cardboard modelling) or to use and transform already existing artefacts.
During the making, the students should take a few notes, and document the process and details that has contributed to their own reflection. This documentation is not used in the final presentation but can be a useful material for later reflection-on-action.
The student should have time to reflect while making, which may demand a few (quick) iterations to reach a satisfying result. Satisfaction is reached when the student can use the artefact to exemplify, to reflect upon, and to assess (e.g., by defending a perspective) on a viewpoint regarding the inquired perspective or worldview.
To present the work, each student should:
Each presentation should be short and to the point. It is not necessary to have an extensive discussion on the reflection of each project. Such reflection can be done at the end of the design process.
After all the presentations, a final discussion may take place in order to discuss both the varieties of viewpoints on the discussed perspective or worldview and the benefit of reflection-in-action as experienced through the exercise.
To assess whether the intended learning outcomes were attained by the teaching activity the following assessment activities can be carried out (in class or after class).
Assess students' learning by making them write a self-review (formative assessment) focusing on describing and arguing for how they engaged in reflection-in-action on values and value stances through making as well as reviewing the value judgments made during the reflection-on-action process.
Assess students' learning by having them write a series of short blog posts (ipsative assessment) during the process: 1) Reflection-in-action notes and snapshots/sketches of the iterations, 2) Summation of central aspects reflected upon during the process connected to three keywords and with a focus on values, 3) Results of the reflection-in-action process in relation to values in design, 4) Discussion of the reflection-in-action process through critique the perspective or the worldview exemplified by the artefact in sight of the making experience as well as concluding by defending a position on the perspective or the worldview, 5) Reflection on reflection-in-action through discussing both the varieties of viewpoints on the discussed perspective or worldview and the benefit of reflection-in-action as experienced through the exercise.
In the assessment activity ask students to focus on:
Frens, Joep; and Hengeveld, Bart (2013). To make is to grasp. In 5th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR), 26-30 August 2013, Tokyo.
Schön, Donald A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.