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Exploring perceptions and attitudes towards teaching and learning manual technical drawing in a digital age

McLaren, Susan V. (2007) Exploring perceptions and attitudes towards teaching and learning manual technical drawing in a digital age. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 1 (1). ISSN 0957-7572

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Abstract

This paper examines the place of manual technical drawing in the 21st century by discussing the perceived value and relevance of teaching school students how to draw using traditional instruments, in a world of computer aided drafting (CAD). Views were obtained through an e-survey, questionnaires and structured interviews. The sample groups represent professional CAD users (e.g. engineers, architects); university lecturers; Technology Education teachers and student teachers; and school students taking Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) Graphic Communication courses. An analysis of these personal views and attitudes indicates some common values between the various groups canvassed of what instruction in traditional manual technical drafting contributes towards learning. Themes emerge such as problem solving, visualisation, accuracy, co-ordination, use of standard conventions, personal discipline and artistry. In contrast to the assumptions of Prensky's thesis (2001a&b) of digital natives, the study reported in this paper indicate that the school students apparently appreciate the experience of traditional drafting. In conclusion, the paper illustrates the perceived value of such learning in terms of transferable skills, personal achievement and enjoyment.