5 thoughts on “Graphics Teaching & Learning Guides (Draft) – April 2009”

  1. There is an urgent need for members to read and evaluate the Draft Technology documents that are available at present. Consultation closes on the 28th of May.
    Among the feed-back is the question about a suggested replacement name for Graphics. Two suggestions are given one on the lead document is Design and Visual Communication the other on the survey replaces Communication with the word Representation.
    Key questions are why do we need to change the name? who benefits from this exercise and what is the impact within schools and our already close association with Visual Arts and Design?
    There are many within our educational community who need to have a say.
    Max Maddison

  2. Ron van Musscher

    Max is correct. All teachers who teach Technology (and in fact all teachers who have an interest in our subject and the categories within it) need to read the new matrix and proosed standards. Area clusters and associations are holding meetings where people can debate in an informed environment. Contact your local GTTA and TENZ organiser for information.

    The biggest issue for me is the proposed new name for Graphics; Design and Visual Communication. The reasons for the proposed name are:
    1. Industry, Tertiary and to some extent the general public are unclear what the name means. A lot of outsiders presume it is to do with print based Graphic design.
    2. We know it is a combination of design (designing and knowledge of design) and visual communication (drawing skills and knowledge of techniques) but do others?
    3. The name is a descriptor of practice, but always needs explaining.

    I personally like the proposed name but you don\’t have to agree with a change. If you don\’t you must put your point of view in the feedback and be counted. Or you may have a better suggestion, lets hear it!

    Also you should discuss the effects that a different name would have in your school, go and talk to the Visual Arts people and see what they think.

  3. The issue of the renaming of graphics has generated a lot of discussion on the visual art teachers’ bulletin board, visartsnet. The comments fall into two categories; those that are concerned with the confusion caused by the similarity of ‘design and visual communication’ to ‘visual art design’ and the potential confusion caused among students, school management and other stakeholder, and comments to do with perceived challenges to the visual arts learning area’s ownership of design. A sample of comments follows:-

    Kia ora koutou,

    The NCEA Level 1 Technology standards are currently out for
    consultation (closing 28 May). I am a little concerned by the
    re-naming of what has been popularly known as Graphics to ‘Design and
    Visual Communication’. I think this could lead to a great deal of
    confusion for students, parents and industry as they struggle to make
    sense of students achieving standards in ‘Design’ and ‘Design and
    Visual Communication’. I’m interested to hear what the rest of the
    Visual Arts community think about this.

    The Technology Matrix, along with consultation documents is available
    at http://www.tki.org.nz/e/community/ncea/alignment-standards.php (a
    couple of lines above the yellow box). I have attached the draft
    matrix to this email.

    What do you think?

    Sam Cunnane

    Arts Online Community Facilitator – Visartsnet

    I teach both of these subjects and I am not happy about it either – I
    can see someone in power one day making an ill informed decision that
    they are too similar in name, therefore deciding that we don’t need one
    or the other, whereas they are actually quite different in focus. I say
    make it “Technology Graphics ” and right away from “Visual Arts Design”.

    Diane Morris
    TIC Design, Photography & Graphics
    Art Department
    Woodford House
    Iona Road
    Havelock North

    I was lucky enough to attend the recent PD for DTG (Digital Technology
    Group) in Christchurch where the new Technology standards were
    discussed at length. I was very interested, as a Visual Art Design
    teacher, to see the interpretation of “design” from the Technology
    perspective. I was interested in the overlap of standards we teach but
    came away feeling reassured that the quality of understanding that
    underpins our teaching is our subject strength. It was made very clear
    that these standards are available to anyone to teach (including Art
    if you wish). Technology, after all, is part of every day life and
    should be incorporated into all subjects. We were encouraged to
    formulate courses appropriate to our students’ interests and then
    choose the standards appropriate to assess their learning. There is
    nothing to stop any subject area using these standards as part of a
    wider course.
    Unless Fine Arts change the entrance requirements from 2 x Visual Arts
    subjects or providers like CPIT no longer expect a high level of
    portfolio for entrance I do not think we are in any way threatened by
    these new standards. The quality of teaching is reflected in the
    standard of work produced. I now believe stronger than ever that 1.1,
    2.1 and 3.1 are what underpins our subject strength. It is also very
    hard to teach a subject that you do not have a depth of understanding
    in yourself.
    I was initially outraged by the change of name from “Graphics” to
    “Design and Visual Communication” but on further reflection a name
    change is only that. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    and our students are not so gullible to be fooled by smoke and
    Claire Aldhamland
    Rangiora High School

    Excellent point Sam
    I couldn’t agree more! I wanted to rename the Design programmes in our
    school using the words Visual Communication and when I looked at the
    graphics outline I saw that there would be confusion galore. We ended
    up with Design Media, Photo Media, Print Media etc but I personally
    feel that there needs to be better monitoring of the development of
    each subject and the language used to describe them. Students get
    really confused and need to have more clarity about what each subject
    actually offers without this kind of ‘miscommunication’
    Shelley Ryde
    Diocesan School for Girls

    Totally agree with you…it was bad enough when it changed from
    technical drawing to graphics and design.
    Perhaps this is why art graduates can get financial assistance if they
    agree to train as technology teachers…
    What is their ultimate goal?
    We need to protect our subject/s.

    Hi Sam,
    I think they can claim ‘Design’ because it can be spread to mean a
    number of things and they definitely cover learning in that area but
    Visual Communication is perhaps a bit of a false label when listed at
    the top level like that.

    Hi Sam and others
    I have just downloaded and read the new technology matrix (thanks for
    attaching it Sam). I must say that it smacks of a largely redundant
    subject trying valiantly to find some justification for its continued
    existence. I think we need to be quite clear about the ownership of
    design, which historically has been taught successfully within the
    auspices of the visual arts departments. To say I am appalled is an

    Blair Kennedy
    Without having spent a lot of time looking at this it is a big
    concern. I found the new standard below of particular interest. I had
    always thought one of the points of difference between “Graphics and
    Design” which is what our school already calls it and us is the use of
    established practice.

    1.24 Use the work of an influential designer to inform own design ideas


    Certainly does already cause confusion with the word graphics. Even
    tertiary language is geared towards our Visual Arts Design and Visual
    Communication degree courses this would be very silly of the
    Technology folk as this misleads students and parents into courses
    that lead onto other professional opportunities within an already
    established industry.

    Have they not done their research?

    Lisa Purda
    HOD Visual Arts
    Tararua College
    Chruchill Street

    I think it is very important for the Graphics community to let the Ministry know through the survey how we feel about the naming of the strand of technology where our standards will reside.

    The following comments from Motu Samaeli may help you to focus on some of the issues:-

    As I am sure you are aware, the term ‘Design’ is central to the debate.

    Ownership of design is itself an interesting point as I think it is a far bigger term than is catered solely by any of the areas of Visual Arts Design, Graphics or Technology.

    One way of looking at the place of design in the three subject areas is that Visual Arts uses Design as a context, and still essentially operates in a visual arts way, where the visual elements are typography and image. Graphics (in its newest guise undertakes Design Practice in a more creative way primarily in the 3D contexts of spatial and product design. Technology looks at a Design situation from a more pragmatic problem-solving way searching for optimal solutions. I do recognise there are overlaps, but there are key differences in approaches and emphasis that adds up to a richer blend for the design orientated student.

    The scenario being explored at our school is to look at Graphics in terms of Spatial Design; Art Design in terms of Graphic Design; and Technology in terms of Product Design. These are clearer titles that recognise the differences in the subjects and seems to have favour with all the HODs involved.

    I actually think that the term Graphics has always been confusing to the uninitiated anyway. Many people think of Graphics in terms of Computer Graphics or Graphic Design. The confusion of subject names and the differences between Graphics and Art Design already exists anyway, and a lot of it is based around perception and a lack of guidance anyway.

    Then it needs to be re-iterated that the term “Design and Visual Communication” is not a subject name, rather a category name of which the standards that best relate to Design and Visual Communication are gathered. A school can still offer a subject called Graphics.

    In light of all this discussion I am thinking about the discussion meeting I am organising with Lesley for the Auckland region next week (either 18th or 20th May). I would like to run this meeting to look at the Graphics ‘context’ as part of the Technology consultation. The intention is to go through some of the background in the curriculum developments of Graphics (for a start there is some inaccurate information out there anyway) and invite any interested parties to have their say. I think it is about informing people about what Graphics (or Design and Visual Communication) is all about. I would be more than happy to put an invite on the visart site, to have a wider discussion and start to break down the barriers created by the silo effect of subjects and departments.

  4. This forum is a wonderful idea as long a teachers get on-line and have their say.
    It has been proven that peoples voice can make a difference to the development of new structures and curriculum content
    my thoughts for now:
    1. The change of name for graphics: The writers of technology curriculum are not silly. They see the huge potential in the numbers of students taking graphics that will all of a sudden boast the numbers who are taking technology and with a change of name, all of a sudden graphics has to build its credibility again. There are very few students taking technology in the senior school (which must be a problem for the credibility of the writers of technology) as compared to the numbers taking graphics and by bringing graphics into the new matrix under the title of technology will elevate technology to a status that demonstrates to the minister of education that technology is actually succeeding in New Zealand.
    The biggest problem with the change of name is that all the students who currently take graphics as a subject at senior level may be disadvantaged when they are trying to get into university/tertiary institutions, or apply for careers in industry as they won’t know exactly what ‘Design and Visual Communication’ means. With more time, and improved change management process, the transition from Graphics to D &VC could be of real benefit for our students however.
    2. Design and Visual Communication:
    A) As Ron has articulated, DESIGN recognises the importance of knowing about and working in design, especially from the point of view of design thinking. Knowing about the principles and elements of design enables students to understand the nature of human responses to these elements that make a difference to how we as humans react/respond to our environment and make conscious decisions/ judgments based on these sensitivities. Designers (like scientists with their experimentation with physical structure of our world) are able to make sense of this knowledge of human function and purpose to develop possible outcomes that are more suited for human use. This form of learning is desperately missing from the technology curriculum, where judgments and decisions are based more on the scientific model. Graphics, even though on an evolving scale, has been more successful (the evidence has been proven with tertiary feedback) at this and hence been more successful with students entering the creative industries. Often designers make decisions based on the ‘absence of rule’ exploring new territories, not necessarily adhering to existing practice – this is how creative innovative thinking occurs ….
    B) Visual communication: We have to be VERY careful not to denigrate the value and purpose of learning about visual communication. Yes, it encapsulates the use of all kinds of drawing as a method of furthering our communication of our ideas but it also recognizes the complex information we as humans can use to improve the quality of our thinking, come up with new ideas by extending our thoughts, gain knowledge, gain information that we appraise and reflect on to make decisions, use as a communication device, often the communication in itself can be the leader to a new idea. It is difficult to demonstrate (on this forum) how much we need to be aware of visual communication knowledge and skills. Visual communication is crucial to student personal development and awareness. If Graphics (Visual communication) is about moving forward, then the above considerations need to be part of the discussions taking place.

    I can offer more!! but I think I had better stop there. The learning area of graphics has, for many years, been heading in a progressive direction.

    It is vital that all teachers of this important learning area begin to respond in some way towards the current discussions or they will find it heading in a direction that may not be beneficial for their students or themselves.

    Here is a statement I have just sent Lesley Pearce regarding the ‘Art, Technology, Graphics’ debate:
    In an ideal world these subjects would be under one umbrella as the creative industries (with the new matrix system maybe this is a definite option) and share each others expertise and thinking to bring the level of students creativity and confidence to communicate and create effectively in the Art, design and technology. A significant number of products generated by this collaboration are evident throughout the world in movies, product /experience generation, cars, buildings, etc etc.
    I personally don’t see the need to separate the disciplines and see that there is only improved access to learning for students wishing to follow pathways to the multitude of careers in creative industries. By siloing the areas out we are further isolating the students from real world learning and denying them, in some situations, access to expertise and knowledge that could improve the quality of their thinking and ultimately their outcomes from technological and graphics practice.
    I hope we are training out teachers to leave here with the notion that the 3 disciplines peacefully co-exist. And not to be in the business of isolating the learning.


  5. Ron van Musscher

    Wellington GTTA meeting.
    The meeting we held last night to discuss the impending new standards was informative for those who attended, despite the late notice, the weather and the traffic afterwards.

    A couple of issues applicable to all technology teachers were raised:

    1. Only the new external achievement standards which replace the existing Unit Standards (see the list on the consultation document) will be assessed next year. You will not be able to use both.
    2. You can use both the internal achievement standards and the new internal achievement standards in 2011, but not beyond 2011.
    3. There is still an issue with some standards from the Generic matrix that can only be used once.
    4. Questions were asked about resources supporting the new subject specific standards: The external and internal standards will be supported by tested and moderated resources (happening now) and will be published on TKI? (I think).
    5. There are still issues using the generic standards where understanding of the marking is not clear. Results from year to year appears to vary despite similar learning programmes being run.
    6. There appears to be a lack of PD that addresses number 5. Who do we ask for guidance?
    7. Teaching and Learning Guides are being written for each subject area, to be published later this year. September we think.
    8. A possible new name for Graphics was discussed by the Graphics members, there is some support for Design and Visual Communication, and some for retaining Graphics in some form.

    Please remember that your responses to the consultation is due by the 28th May! Be heard!

    An observation from me: While the meeting was at short notice and there were reasonable numbers attending, however it is obvious that a lot of schools are not using their subject association to access information and PD.
    With advisory services being reduced severely the only other sources of information and support is from other teachers and subject associations, and they only work with everyone contributing and being collegial.

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