Ron Wakkary, Erik Stolterman
A fascinating trend in HCI is the growing interest in making, which has recently influenced most educational programs in interaction design and HCI. Making is now an established element in these programs, where students work with materials to shape and develop physical products while also exploring and tinkering with computational materials. The existence of Arduino and similar tools—and, of course, the explosion of 3D-printing techniques—have drastically changed what we imagine sketching to be. What is this trend? Is it good for our field? Though many believe this is an important development for HCI, it is less clear exactly how and why this is true. Jonas Löwgren explores some of these questions in this issue's cover story, examining four reasons why making is significant in interaction design research. His discussion leads to some answers that, if taken seriously, could result in some substantial changes in many of today's HCI educational programs.
It is obvious to us that there is an increasing number of researchers and practitioners questioning what constitutes our field.
It is obvious to us that there is an increasing number of researchers and practitioners questioning what constitutes our field/discipline/profession. The cover story is one example; Cameron Tonkinwise provides another in his Confessions column, where he challenges HCI researchers to engage with "big" issues. He writes, "Interaction design scholars, especially those with tenure, should be making public critiques of overarching directions in the 'techonomy,' not merely out of a kind of civic duty that comes with the privilege of their tenured expertise, but also because the very expertise that their discipline cultivates depends on these critiques." Something to think about!
We want to remind you that most of the articles in the magazine are also available online at http://interactions.acm.org/. There you can also read posts by our official bloggers, who offer exciting and provocative ideas about our field. Take a look!
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Ron Wakkary and Erik Stolterman
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