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David Ardley

CAD

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It is becoming more and more disappointing to me :( when I see portfolio work arriving on my desk for moderation with several 'CAD' produced drawings looking rather good but behind the scenes only some very rudimentary skills applied at the design and develop stage - the 'out of the box' divergent thought bits - the creative stuff.

As much as I see the need (and applaud the CAD into schools initiative in the UK :eek ) it seems to have gathered momentum at the expense of the thumb nail sketch and this is criminal - both for the students and for our future as a world that develops design and wealth creators. Like CAM, the focus has shifted at the expense of the fundamentals and this is a concern.

Students need to sketch; to explore ideas and thoughts, to share that 'thumbnail' sketch with peers and teachers and parents, to shape and play and refine line and form BEFORE hitting their Macs or PC's. They must be encouraged and guided to sketch freely and boldly first before moving to CAD to generate assembly drawings, final views and so forth (in fact these could be sketched too but thats another issue). This is NOT SOLEY a demain of the Art class :please

Sketching is an aid for language learning too. Having taught for six years in a school where English is not always the first or second language a quick sketch to convey the idea or item often saw lots of understanding and nodding faces quite quickly.

Sketching is a key skill for our subject; a major factor in the development, generation and plucking of ideas from young fertive minds. Let us not allow it to slowly disappear please. And let us not allow those teachers/parents/managers with 'little knowledge' of our subject look at the shop window of a CAD image and think "my, isn't this child a wonderful designer".

Very dangerous indeed.

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My daughter runs a graphic design business that has some prestigious clients, such as Fox, Virgin and Electronic Arts. The starting point for any new project is a chat with the client and a few sketches on paper. The electronically produced designs come much later in the process.

Unfortunately, there is a trend these days for young people to go straight to the computer without sitting down and doing a bit of brainstorming and sketching first - and this is true of many areas of work, not only Design and Technology. The flashy presentation rather than a good idea becomes the starting point.

I'm not a designer; I'm a linguist, but many of my thoughts that later turned into polished published articles began life as a few scribbled thoughts on the back of an envelope.

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This is also true of the design of on-line courses. There's a Japanese proverb I use all the time when I'm advising teachers about what technology to use on a course: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In other words, the features of the technology will tend to dictate the design, unless the designers make themselves independent of the technologies first (before reintroducing them - but on the designers' terms, not the technology's).

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Thank you for that feedback gentleman :) . I am glad that I am not alone in my thoughts. But how can we address the issue to encourage greater use (of sketching etc.) . :)

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I teach in a technical secondary school where I see 16 to 19-year-old students, mainly mechanical or aeronautical engineering ones, use CAD/CAM daily in their classes of Design and Technology,

Many are quite good at using it, though not all them are extremely enthusiastic about this type of tool, I think it depends on their attitude to PCs in general.

Many are also good at drawing because they have a lot of drawing classes in the first and second school years (14-16 years of age).

In Italy all students have freehand drawing classes both in the primary and the low upper secondary school, so most of them are able to sketch: however, if they are not "talented", many feel embarassed when asked to sketch something.

Perhaps CAD may give everybody the opportunity of seeing their ideas expressed in a graphic form, though generated by a computer.

I agree that the focus should be kept on the real design and develop stage, which is the most important one in my opinion, but this can be done on a PC as well. I am also used to scribbling my ideas on bits of paper but, as soon as I get to a PC, I tend to write them down on a .doc page because this helps me organize my thoughts and give them a structure. I have done a lot of brainstorming on a PC during training courses or meetings: it helps a lot to have everybody's ideas seen on a screen by the whole group or team so that they may be immediately modified or completely replaced. It saves a lot of time.

By the way, I have recently attended a 16-hour-long course on Blender, "an open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback".

http://blender.org/cms/Home.2.0.html

I am a language teacher and I have never used any CAD/CAM software, but I would recommend Blender as a "creative" tool.

Edited by Caterina Gasparini

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By the way, I have recently attended a 16-hour-long course on Blender, "an open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback".

http://blender.org/cms/Home.2.0.html

I am a language teacher and I have never used any CAD/CAM software, but I would recommend Blender as a "creative" tool

This is an excellent contribution Caterina - thank you. I love the fact that you are coming into the DT/'CAD' arena from another subject specialist standpoint. I will delve more into the link you offer above and see how 'blender' really works. Initial browsing indicates that it could be quite addictive!!

Cheers for now.

David

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