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Journal for Geometry and Graphics 18 (2014), No. 2, 249--258
Copyright Heldermann Verlag 2014

Traditional Descriptive Geometry Education in the 3D-CAD/CG Era

Kenjiro Suzuki
National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation, University of Tokyo, 1-29-1 Gakuen-Nishimachi, Kodaira-shi, Tokyo 187-8587, Japan

Graphic science is the subject which teaches geometry and graphics. It is taught in early undergraduate curricula at many Japanese universities as a liberal arts subject or as a basic subject for design and drawing. In traditional graphic science courses, descriptive geometry based on manual drawings was taught, but in recent years, the spread throughout society of 3D-CAD/CG has been accompanied by the need for education to respond to these. Therefore in the graphic science education at the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo, where the author taught, 3D-CAD/CG has been implemented since 2007. The descriptive geometry education is given before 3D-CAD/CG education for the following reasons:
(1) Traditional descriptive geometry is an excellent method in teaching and learning geometry of projection and of three-dimensional objects, and concepts and/or procedures in descriptive geometry can be applied in solving geometric design problems by the use of 3D-CAD/CG.
(2) Even in the age of 3D-CAD/CG, hand drawing is still being used (especially for free-hand sketches).
(3) Hand drawing is an effective method of developing spatial ability of students.
However, with the spread of 3D-CAD/CG, the descriptive geometry techniques in analyzing shapes and forms of three-dimensional objects are now losing their earlier practical importance. So emphasis is placed on teaching the theory behind the techniques, i.e., geometry of projection and of three-dimensional objects. In this paper, characteristics features of traditional descriptive geometry together with specific examples of classes will be discussed in order to describe the importance of descriptive geometry education, and the need to switch from the education focused on techniques to the education on the theory behind the techniques.

Keywords: Descriptive geometry, graphics education, graphics literacy.

MSC: 51N05; 97G80

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