Educators engage in many types of design. Design thinking is central to our understanding of educational technology: curriculum design, interaction design, game design, multimedia design, data visualization, lesson design, software design, etc. Working on individual and (mostly) team projects, students practice the process of conceiving, implementing, and refining creative solutions to educational problems.
Together, students and faculty study how people learn. Sometimes, we want to know about how the mind works; how it structures knowledge and processes new information. Other times, though, we focus on how people learn from each other and their world; considering education broadly as the transmission of culture, values, and knowledge.
To borrow from Marx, “The philosophers have only interpreted education, in various ways; the point is to hack it.” In terms of computer programming, hacking emphasizes the creative and playful side of writing code; with an emphasis on seeing beyond apparent limitations to achieve clever new solutions. We want our graduates to be comfortable in a digital world: understanding computer programming, networks, and hardware. From this perspective, they can reinterpret learning in terms of a digital culture and networked learning.
We embrace the School of Education’s core values, like reflective practice and social justice. By studying the history and theory of technology—as well as the practice—we develop our capacity to critically evaluate technology from multiple perspectives: balancing efficiency with concerns for equity, or avoiding technical solutions when a simpler, non-technical solution is apparent.
We remember that we live in the real world, not an academic bubble or through a digital display. Every semester we challenge our students to work on real projects that affect people in our local community, the global internet, or both. This project and service based focus encourages deeper learning as students encounter the complexity of problems in the real world. We also want to be active participants in the world of digital media and learning (see hacking).