Speculative and Critical Approach to Designing Technological Futures through HCI Education

Alma Leora Culén and Nicholas Sebastian Stevens

pp.  8 - 31download






We believe that challenging times demand HCI education to pay attention to current real-life, complex, systemic problems. Therefore, we suggest an integrated framework for teaching HCI that involves combining the transition design framework, which suggests long-term, future-oriented design on a large scale toward more sustainable lifestyles, and speculative and critical design. The integration of the two creates spaces for dialogues and debates enabling students to take a more critical perspective concerning possible futures and technology design. We suggest studio-based pedagogy and explicate various aspects of the course, including its theoretical and practical underpinnings, pedagogical approach, and provide examples of projects to illustrate how the framework was used and ways in which speculative and critical design and thinking were crucial for learning. Finally, we highlight six learning facets that might contribute to orienting students’ upcoming professional work towards desirable futures.


Keywords: critical thinkingeducationspeculative designresearch through design; transition design; studio pedagogy; experiential learning



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