Full recordShow full item record
At a time when technological capabilities are perceived to be critical in redefining effective technological education, the introduction of Design and Communication Graphics (DCG) in Irish second level (high) schools has broad implications. Students now have the potential to explore applied geometries, integrated with conceptual thinking in addition to developing essential communication skills. Central to this development is the ability to freehand sketch. Literature concerning freehand sketching (Verstijnen, 1998b) claims that there is a lack of empirically validated models of instruction which promote the development of sketching ability. This research study set out to explore if it was possible to develop the ability to freehand sketch through appropriate instruction and empirically evaluate any development. The study was carried out within Initial Technology Teacher Education (ITTE) and involved over 270 undergraduate students. A number of preliminary studies were carried out to address deficiencies identified in the literature relating to freehand sketching. Using a pre and post test design, the study applied a model of sketching activities which ranged along a continuum from observation to imagination. The effectiveness of the model was examined using various methods (such as visual and verbal protocols (Middleton, 2008)) which captured the tacit and implicit nature of sketching behaviour and cognition. The application of Comparative Pairs (Kimbell, 2008) as an assessment tool for pre and post-instruction conceptual sketches provided a novel method of measuring improvement. It was found that students sketching ability significantly improved as a result of completing the model of activities. The magnitude of improvement was dependent on a number of factors including motivation and previous learning experiences. The model of activities was effective in promoting the ability to use sketching as a communication and problem solving tool. It was found that the model of activities could be delivered by independent teachers. A number of findings relating to students sketching behaviour and cognition were correlated with literature associated with sketching expertise. The study concludes that freehand sketching skill can be developed through appropriate instruction. An empirically tested model of instruction which promotes sketching ability was designed and validated. This has significant implications for the development of pedagogies within Design and Communication Graphics (DCG) and other technology subjects.