Effective Ways of using Mobile Applications in Design Education

Presented by: Dr. Junghwa Suh

The purpose of this paper is to explore ways to use mobile applications that expand learning within and beyond the formal classroom. The study particularly examines the effective use of social-networking mobile application as a tool in design education. A classroom is usually a confined space which limits an in-situ part of the learning in design. In order to promote versatility and flexibility of learning in various interior contexts, students should have opportunities to explore and analyze key design components in authentic physical interior spaces. The learning activity using mobile application is introduced in Introduction to Lighting Design course. This study uses a mobile photo/text/video-sharing application called Instagram as a platform to enable students to easily share visual- and text-analysis of lighting design elements and principles of interior spaces. Their visual analysis is then shared with an instructor every week through a course-restricted mobile account. The study is divided into three phases (01, 02, and 03) to assess the effective use of a mobile tool in this course activity. In phase 01, the mobile learning weekly assignment was presented to students on the first day of the class, asking students to share photos and provide a short description of capturing the effectiveness of lighting design in various interior spaces. In phase 02, an exemplary instagram post was presented to students per the discussion between students and the instructor. It demonstrated identification of key lighting design components and analysis of lighting design in relation to interior space by answering six specific questions. In phase 03, visually descriptive & point-system rubric has been developed for the students. This rubric presented three major categories of lighting design, and the six questions from phase 02 have been reorganized into these categories: 1. Lighting + Space (L+S) 2. Lighting + Color (L+C) 3. Lighting + Aesthetics (L+A) A point system was integrated to identify hierarchy of information and evaluate their analysis in systematic way. These categories were presented in a graphic format that identifies and describes effect of lighting design components in interior space. Students were encouraged to create their own analysis based on the rubric. Pattern study of students' analysis in each phase shows that the visual rubric is critical to provide the necessary cues and hierarchy of design information that were needed for successful design analysis. The outcomes of the study also show that the instructor cannot assume students know the direction of how to do the analysis. Students may be an expert in using the mobile application but specific intention and guide of using mobile device in learning should be communicated thoroughly. Since students are required to communicate in a visually concentrated digital platform, rubric should correspond to the appropriate format for providing clear direction on how to do in-depth design analysis using a mobile device. The integration of the mobile device presents creative ways to expand design learning in real-world settings, outside of a confined classroom.


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