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Empathy as an Aspect of Critical Thought and Action in Design and Technology

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Critique in Design and Technology Education

Part of the book series: Contemporary Issues in Technology Education ((CITE))

Abstract

User-centred approaches to design stress the importance of the designer understanding the needs and experiences of the user when designing products (Sanders E, Dandavate U, Designing for experiencing: new tools. In Overbeeke CJ, Hekkert P, (eds) Proceedings of the first international conference on design and emotion, 3–5 November 1999, Delft University of Technology, Delft, pp 87–92, 1999). How designers and others involved in designing have understood these needs has evolved since Taylor’s seminal work in the early 1900s. One emerging and influential user-centred approach to design over the last decade has been inclusive design. Researchers working in this field have developed ways of working or ‘signature pedagogies’ that allow them to think critically and empathise with users, to understand their needs from their perspective and to use this understanding to critically inform their own actions when designing, as well as educating others in the practices of inclusive design. I will discuss these signature pedagogies, arguing that they are crucial for developing critical thinking dispositions and engendering empathy when designing and educating others. I will then discuss how the signature pedagogies of inclusive design were successfully introduced into high schools in a number of countries.

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Acknowledgement

I would like to acknowledge and thank my work colleagues, Ian Hosking, Julia Flutter and Katie Klavenes for their valuable contributions they have made in the wider work that has informed this chapter.

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Correspondence to Bill Nicholl .

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Nicholl, B. (2017). Empathy as an Aspect of Critical Thought and Action in Design and Technology. In: Williams, P., Stables, K. (eds) Critique in Design and Technology Education. Contemporary Issues in Technology Education. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-3106-9_9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-3106-9_9

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