The T-word: How are Interior Design programs tackling technology today?

Presented by: Lisa Waxman Ph.D.-moderator, Connie Dyar, Amy Huber, Kristin Maki, Doug Seidler

Love it or hate it, technology has made a big impact on design.

The design and delivery of interior design projects is increasingly reliant on advanced technological applications. Design projects are more complex, and clients have higher expectations regarding how they can "see" and "test" a design prior to its fabrication and construction.  Today’s entry level designers are often expected to leverage a broad range of building information modeling (BIM) capabilities and quickly produce photorealistic renderings; often managing many software programs in doing so.  Technology is so ubiquitous, it can now be used for rapid prototyping and applications can be carried in the palm of a designer’s hand; providing even greater opportunities for productivity and connectivity. 

The ties between design and technology are so great, that in her incoming 2014 IDEC presidential address Katherine Ankerson mentioned the word technology seven times (K. Ankerson, personal communication, March 29, 2014).  

Technological advances can be both exciting and overwhelming for those charged with teaching technology programs.  While available resources are vast, including web training (e.g., books, and how-to videos; the time commitment to stay current is intense.  To compound the issue, there are many technology teaching pedagogies (Rose, 2013; Siedler, 2014; Waxman & Zhang, 1995), and varying paradigms regarding when and how to introduce technology to students.

This discussion brings together technology educators from five CIDA accredited programs in hopes of answering the following questions:

What software are you incorporating into your curriculum? 

When in the course sequence do students receive exposure to the software? 

What are some of the biggest obstacles you are encountering? 

What unique approaches are you taking in terms of technology?

What are you hearing from advisory boards, internship providers, etc. regarding the future of technology?

How are your faculty being trained and remaining current?

This panel is designed for educators ranging from those who are deeply immersed in the exploration of emergent technologies, to those who are feeling overwhelmed by technological advances. The goal is to provide an understanding of when the represented programs are introducing software to their students (see Table 1), when the students are expected to become proficient (e.g. using the software on their own), as well as provide potential strategies for how to train and maintain software proficiency for faculty members.


  • Rose, M. (2013).  Teaching Software or Teaching with Software: Exploring the Relevance of Interior Design Courses Focusing on the Teaching of Industry Standard Computer Aided Drafting and Design Software. In Turpin, J. (Ed.) Proceedings of the IDEC National Conference, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Seidler, D. (March, 2014). Flipping the Revit classroom.  Presentation at the meeting of the Interior Design Educators Council, New Orleans, LA.
  • Waxman, L. K. and Zhang, H. (1995), Computer Aided Design Training Methods In Interior Design Professional Practice. Journal of Interior Design, 21: 21–29. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1668.1995.tb00205.x


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