Transformation by Design

Gill Hope
Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, England

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Ingår i: PATT 26 Conference; Technology Education in the 21st Century; Stockholm; Sweden; 26-30 June; 2012

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 73:26, s. 223-231

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Publicerad: 2012-06-18

ISBN: 978-91-7519-849-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper will argue that design capability is one of the most significant capacities of the human mind and is therefore essential for young people’s education. Underlying this assertion is the belief that design capability distinguishes technology from technicity (procedural knowledge in a technical context).

Extrapolating Ryle’s (1949) ontology to technology education; the author has previously asserted that

Know that           )
Know relevance )            )----- ––> Strategy knowledge
Know how           )

inserting know relevance into Ryle’s two-fold distinction.

Additionally; the role of the inner eye is central to design: seeing in (Wollheim; 1987) and seeing as (Wittgenstein; 1989). The recognition of the use of extrapolation; simile; metonym and metaphor transforms Ryle’s distinction between declarative and procedural knowledge into something much more powerful for thinking about design processes. In a technological context; it represents the transformation of an initial perception of possibility into an innovative product; process or system.

This theoretical understanding grew from the author’s doctoral research into young children’s use of drawing as a tool for designing; part of which involved a 2-year longitudinal study in which the purpose of using drawing for designing was explained to a class of 6-7 year olds using the dual metaphor of drawing as both a container and a journey. This metaphor enabled them to understand the potential and purpose of using drawing to support the generation and development of design ideas. Not only were these young children able to use drawing in a much more powerful way than previously observed in children of this age; but the products and design solutions that they produced were more creative and effective.

Within education; as in the real world; the ability to transfer and apply knowledge from one area to another is highly valued. Within technological design; an effective solution frequently requires the ability to extrapolate; to use metonyms and metaphors from other realms of experience and expertise. The success of the container / journey metaphor depended on this capacity.

The transformational capability of the human mind; to see things from multiple perspectives and to take leaps of imagination stems; this author believes; from our love of story. Essentially; I told the children a good story. To apply narrative to the use of science to engineer a solution is; I believe; a uniquely human capability and empowering children to do so may be imperative for all our futures.


Design knowledge; Design capability; Design drawing; Analogy; Metaphor


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