SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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DESIGN ThINkING Santiago Calatrava, Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas, Texas. Photography by Jeremy Dickie. The Age of Connectivity Martin Rayala I n our evolution from the Stone Age through the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age, we have now arrived at the Age of Connectivity. That which distinguishes our era is a level of networking and connectivity never before seen in the history of humanity. A doctor in Guyana has instant access to the best lifesaving diagnostic information available in the world. Political regimes are held in check by public opinion informed by video images transmitted in real time around the world. The connectivity afforded by networking systems is transforming the human condition on the planet. Designing for Connectivity Design thinking processes are ideally suited for dealing with complex, interconnected networks. They involve a higher degree of collaboration than many traditional art forms in the past. Designers look for patterns and develop an understanding of the systems that create those patterns and strive to understand how parts influ8 schoolartsonline.com ence one another within a whole. Challenge students to think about the many systems involved in urban planning. What systems determine how well a city works? How is design used to improve the systems within our cities? things could be. How can we improve our interactions with other people, places, and things through better design? Physical Connectivity Connectivity is an essential characteristic of our physical world as well Social Connectivity as our virtual world. The design of Most striking of the new forms of con- bridges, highways, buildings, cities, nectivity is that of social networks. and transportation all require a comThe Internet, World Wide Web, and plex understanding of connectivity. social networking services like FaceBeautiful bridges designed by Santiago book are expanding Calatrava, complex the social, cultural, The connectivity afforded buildings designed political, and ecoby networking systems is by Bjarke Ingels, nomic connectivity and connected comtransforming the human munities designed of the planet. The condition on the planet. by Andrés Duany effect is so pervasive that it's hard are all examples of to believe that the World Wide Web physical structures and environments was invented by Tim Berners-Lee only that require an understanding of both twenty-five years ago. social and physical connectivity. Have students create a social Have students design a bridge, a networking game. Challenge them building, or a city and create a model to build upon the study of the way or prototype to test their design. How things are from their science and hisstrong is their bridge? How does their tory classes and think about the way building fit in with the surrounding Continued on page 37.

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