Winter 2007 – Spring 2008
Limerick to Aviero, and now to Rome. HCIEd 2008, the HCI Educators’ annual conference takes place this year in the city of ancient architectures where structures, some of which may no longer be lived in, continue to remain, provides inspiration to our conference theme about ‘Architecting the future’ of HCI education. While HCI education should last the future and prepare the next generations of practitioners and educators, it should also morph and adapt to the changing technology and challenges of ‘life and death’ that technology also presents. This will also require some change, an ‘unfreezing’ in our thinking about the nature of interaction, the bulding of new knowledge, and methods about how we communicate that new knowledge. In this line, how much should we as educators teach skills of doing and skills of thinking, about HCI? While much of this will depend on what industry wants, as educators and scientists, we need to excercise inventiveness and creativity, to be proactive and lead the revolution, rather than to be rective and to follow trends.
Scientists express their creativity through the elaboration of the descriptive models of the world. When they are faced with very complex scenario they have to look for new tools and paradigms that may help them to carry on their ‘opera’. Designers, on the other hand, creates because they have a vision on how to change and, hopefully, improve the world.
Once their task was relatively ‘simple’ because the ‘machine’ used for the mediated communication was simpler and also because the relationship between the man and the machine was 1:1. When the changes of the scenarios were still slow and not very relevant they were able to face such changes by adopting and incremental point of view on the innovation processes. The recent technological revolution, however, has changed completely the scenarios of the mediated communication. Nowadays it is very difficult to proceed for incremental innovations and the predictability of the results is very weak.
We are now within a new era of the man-machine interaction, that we may define ‘organic’, an era that requires the elaboration of a new paradigm, new design processes, new methods and tools, new alliances among different and complementary disciplines: in few words a new vision. It is a task for anyone dealing with the communication mediated by the machine and even more for the educators that form the future professionals of such domain: this is the sense of ‘‘Architecting the Future’.
It is not a simple task and its complexity is also increased by the constrains that, often, are introduced by the educational institutions and exogenous factors. Nevertheless the goal of our community should be the identification of guidelines, flexible enough to be adapted to the various needs and contexts, that may lead, respecting the cultural specificity of the ‘place’, to the development of the common educational ‘space’ envisaged by the Bologna’s process … a space that in future should, in our vision, be more and more technologically enhanced.
Still at work …