design and visualizing with tech
From my work in art, I have a lot of experience communicating with images. It often felt like a form of telepathy – taking an image from your vision and directly transmitting them to someone else. It’s a whole other way of talking – without language getting in the way.
By incorporating digital technologies into the mix, technologies like digital cameras and the Internet, you get a whole new way of communicating quickly and simply across language and space. Chapters 8 and 9 in our text talk about design as a new literacy, as the literacy of the 21st century. To contextualize learning in a constructivist/constructionist framework means seeing learning as a design process. My own background as a designer biases me towards seeing that all around me, and my thinking is already skewed in that direction. It’s actually pretty exciting to think about.
In doing these readings I worked hard to try to keep the issues I mentioned above in mind. Why do we visualize? What are the tools traditionally used, and what are we using now? Our text has different examples of digital and online tools used to visualize object before they are built (programs like Pro/Desktop and SketchUp), create music with composition software (programs like Impromtu and Musical Sketch Pad), and new media design creating animated “microworlds” to learn programming and organizing skills (programs like Scratch). My own experience and bias, however, lead me to use pencil and paper, or even just the materials that I’m using themselves (cardboard, etc.) to create mock-ups or test objects – securing me more fully in my ‘digital immigrant’ status.
It’s just easier for me to use the tools or material that I’m familiar with and have years of experience using to visualize and create models with. So, while digital tech may make it easier to communicate my ideas across language and space, the tools that I prefer to use to work out those ideas aren’t digital. I have to go to other tools, like cameras or video, to take that next step, and to access the bridging effect that digital media can provide.
Which is a good lead in to my beginning attempts at Flickr exploration, and images on the Internet. It has become incredibly simple (and common) to use the Internet as a virtual storehouse of images and ideas. I can easily search something that I’d like to look at, can’t visualize, or don’t understand – and get a visual image (or a lot of them) to help me understand more. Flickr comes with a community aspect to it as well, which is really interesting, blending visualizing tech with sociable tech in a way that holds a lot of promise. Good thing we had two weeks to explore it!