Mountains, Exploration, Education, Rich Media and Design

author: Bill Buxton, Buxton Design
published: Feb. 25, 2007,   recorded: June 2004,   views: 5204


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I want to talk about some things that I feel passionate about: mountains, exploration, history, learning and design. In particular, I want to talk about learning and understanding within our society, which is becoming increasingly difficult to function in, much less influence - largely due to technology-induced complexity. I have to believe that the objective of good design is to render the world more manageable, not less so. I do believe that the more technology is developed apart from a social context, and specific problem domains, the less likely it will meet this test. So I have chosen my domain: mountaineering and exploration in the area surrounding the Himalaya. Using examples, I want to put forward the case that we have the potential to design tools that could have as much impact on education and learning tomorrow, as the introduction of the blackboard had when it was introduced in Canada in the mid-1800s. I will also argue that doing so represents a proposition which is as hard to do as it is easy to say – that is, it is a worthy 10 year project. I believe that the current slump in the technology sector is a largely self-induced, and deserved consequence of bad design applied to poorly thought out problems. Through my examples, I want to argue that there is a way out of this, and to point to a particular path. As I said: it’s about exploration. So a good place to start is to establish some appropriate bearings.

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