The increased provision of digital media to facilitate
design activity in commercial practice, Higher Education
and schools, has led to the need to consider what the
likely impact has been on design education.
The potential for Computer Aided Design (CAD) to
impact the activity of ‘designing’ within an educational
context is clearly established and it has been identified
that many of the activities associated with projectbased
design could be undertaken using CAD
technology. This paper aims to examine the extent to
which the potential identified is being effectively
implemented in design activity within education.
To do this, the paper reports further research on a survey
distributed to design and technology departments
nationally (Hodgson and Fraser, 2005) and describes the
role and impact that CAD may have on aspects of design
and technology education.
It reports both teacher and pupil opinions arising from
interviews and analysis of student work. It provides
relevant case studies to support any conclusions drawn.
It notes that CAD/CAM is having a significant and positive
impact on the activities undertaken in design and
technology education and that, at the very least, this
allows participants to make and manufacture items that
would not have been possible either by more
conventional means or within the time constraints of a
modern curriculum. Despite this, the paper suggests the
impact of Computer Aided ‘design’ and the role it can play
in the activity of ‘designing’ is an area of potential not very
well established or often recognised. It notes an increasing
awareness of how the technology may be used to better
facilitate ‘designing’ and that the use of CAD in design
development activity could be seen as furthering the
potential already well established.