Reflecting: Manual Design vs. Computer Design

design manualístico vs. computer design

After the first quarter of a century of the apperance of computer-aided design and the initial dazzle experienced by the community of graphic expression teachers, notably those of technical design, we experienced an inflection point. At this point, our decisions and attitudes will impact on the quality of learning and the skills of the next generation of technicians, technologists and engineers we are building.

There is a paradox in education. No other area of human knowledge produces so many posgraduates and, in contrast, in no other area of human knowledge one has the impression that the result of his performance is getting worse over time. Some argue that this paradox is sponsored by the frequent abandonment of consolidated methodologies -which proven to produce educational results / learning- in favor of novelties and fads.

In the area of graphic expression was no different. Eager to offer ‘the very best’, reference institutions of technical education dismounted their drawing boards to make room for computers. Replacing the development of heuristic skills of the technical design for the teaching of algorithmic skills relating to commands that cause the computer to simulate the design in his memory, a worm click on objects on the screen. In arough analogy: language codes teachers no longer teach studenst to ‘write correctly’ in Portuguese in favor of using a word processor, copyright of some multinational company.

Many thinkers have been warning that the computer does not add quality to intellectual production. A monkey interacting with a keyboard is able to print letters on the screen, by associating words, in sentences and paragraphs without, however, writing something brilliant. It is clear that technology is designed to be ‘friendly’ and the weak link in this chain is not the interaction with their means, but the user’s responsibility on their service.

Professor Eduardo J. Stefanelli is a mechanical engineer. In the 1980s, he worked as a designer and builder of machines (photo 1), taking advantage of infographics programs. He is a system analyst and producer of educational programs / hypermedia learning for education mediated by digital technologies. Teacher of basic education, technical and technological IFSP – Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology São Paulo, he is a witness of the results that this policy adoption has produced to this institution. As a debater on this round table, he aims to demystify the use of CADs for the technical design education and prompt a debate about who has benefited from this ‘dismantle’ the technical / technological education.

Automação mecânica

photo 1 – Prototype automatic machine

reflecting: drawing vs. manualístico computer design is the title of participation in the Round Table: Teaching Design and Area Professional Training in I Design Regional Meeting – Re-design in November 2008 at CEFET / RJ Federal Center for Technology Education Celso Suckow da Fonseca – Rio de Janeiro. 2008.

Eduardo Stefanelli

Engenheiro por profissão, professor por vocação