Graphical education in Ireland; in the context of technology education; has its roots in vocational education. The traditional subject focused on developing knowledge and competencies primarily associated with craft based outcomes (Seery; Lynch; & Dunbar; 2010). This philosophy has shifted focus in recent times in reaction to the ever-changing needs of our global society. However; as McLaren (2008) discusses the recent changes in curriculum across many countries; as having left many educators questioning the role of communication graphics in today’s educational milieu. With the availability of resources such as digital media and CAD systems in industry; many have questioned whether graphical education is a redundant subject area (McLaren; 2008).
Therefore; an analysis of the role of graphical competency in a broader technological context is required. Plane geometry; knowledge of projection systems; standards and conventions are core skills that were associated with an early conception of graphical education. Today however; a broader skills set is envisaged to comprise contemporary graphical capability within technological education. Elements of graphical education; such as spatial ability; are core cognitive aptitudes that have been identified as vital to many vocational fields (Steinhauer; 2011) most notably; but not exclusively; the technology and engineering subjects. However; they are also vital in everyday tasks such as communicating ideas and finding one’s way in an environment (Hegarty; Richardson; Montello; Lovelace; & Subbiah; 2002). Graphical education also lends itself to the development of further cognitive complexities such as modelling and ideation. As Baynes (2010) discusses; graphical competencies are directly related to practice and understanding in design.
Considering the visual nature of society; the requirement for graphical competencies becomes more urgent. Technology education offers a suitable arena for the development of these competencies and more specifically graphical education where the associated skills are taught explicitly.
Keywords: Technology Education; Graphical Capability; Visual Culture
PATT 26 Conference; Technology Education in the 21st Century; Stockholm; Sweden; 26-30 June; 2012
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