Abstract

In most university settings the rooms are scheduled centrally in such a way that even moving tables and chair configurations can prove problematic. Because different faculty use the space for different purposes, common courtesy and institutional exigency both dictate that classrooms should be reset to neutral at the end of each session. However, from the perspective of design pedagogy this otherwise beneficial practice becomes problematic. For design students there is a strong benefit in the material culture of the design space being intrinsically modelled in the classroom. We therefore offer an alternative argument to the conventional deployment of classroom space, based on three case studies from institutions in the USA and Canada where the opportunity has existed for various forms of material permanence in the classroom setting. The benefits to the students of leveraging materiality and material persistence in the classroom include: • pedagogical benefits—having ready-to-hand reminders of core principles that are represented by objects; • efficiency—classroom conditions of material persistence allow students to pick up from where they left off without wasting time at the beginning of each class in re-establishing their presence in the work; • opportunities for mental reset—transitional spaces from the generic to the creative can remind students that they are entering a different kind of pedagogical environment; and • more accurate discipline representation—the ability to be immersed in works in progress rather than completed items on display. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, embodied classroom environments support students more holistically by remembering that makers have brains and bodies that need physical, psychological, and emotional nourishment.

Keywords:

design education, material design, material culture, embodiment

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COinS
 
Jul 9th, 12:00 AM

Forget to clean up when you're done.

In most university settings the rooms are scheduled centrally in such a way that even moving tables and chair configurations can prove problematic. Because different faculty use the space for different purposes, common courtesy and institutional exigency both dictate that classrooms should be reset to neutral at the end of each session. However, from the perspective of design pedagogy this otherwise beneficial practice becomes problematic. For design students there is a strong benefit in the material culture of the design space being intrinsically modelled in the classroom. We therefore offer an alternative argument to the conventional deployment of classroom space, based on three case studies from institutions in the USA and Canada where the opportunity has existed for various forms of material permanence in the classroom setting. The benefits to the students of leveraging materiality and material persistence in the classroom include: • pedagogical benefits—having ready-to-hand reminders of core principles that are represented by objects; • efficiency—classroom conditions of material persistence allow students to pick up from where they left off without wasting time at the beginning of each class in re-establishing their presence in the work; • opportunities for mental reset—transitional spaces from the generic to the creative can remind students that they are entering a different kind of pedagogical environment; and • more accurate discipline representation—the ability to be immersed in works in progress rather than completed items on display. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, embodied classroom environments support students more holistically by remembering that makers have brains and bodies that need physical, psychological, and emotional nourishment.

 

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