Mt Fuji, emojis, surfing and smart phones – a day in the life of LTC Graphic Design

“Take out your smart phone and text me the emoji for ‘wave’…” isn’t a teacher directive you’ll hear in most classrooms. Students studying Graphic Design at LTC are presently completing the semester’s formal Written Task (Design is History) which challenges them to complete a series of Design Detectives – a number of somewhat ambiguous and even outright cryptic research problems for them to research, solve and document to their online diary.

One of those Design Detectives embraces the reality that our 21st-century students have a powerful learning tool in their pocket which teachers can utilise to maximise engagement. The Design Detective went like this:

Use your iPhone or Android device to text your teacher the emoji for ‘wave’.

Upon receiving your text, the teacher will send you a link relating to a famous graphic artist. Answer the following questions relating to the artist on the S2 Design Detectives page of your online diary:

  1. Who am I, what is my country of origin, my DOB, and DOD?

  2. I’m most famous for a single artwork but it was part of a series – what was the series? Show at least three images from the series.

  3. How did the artist produce artwork for the series (i.e. what technique was used)? Answer this question by sourcing and adding a video demonstrating the technique.

  4. Apart from being the emoji for ‘wave’, where else can we find the artists famous image in modern popular culture (hint: look on the classroom wall).

  5. Look closely at the artists famous ‘wave’ image. What do you see? What is going on in the picture? What is the unfolding story?

The link sent back to the students was for this recent ABC News Breakfast feature:


If students successfully connected the dots their documented solution will have resulted in:

  • Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave of Kanagawa’
  • 36 Views of Mt Fuji
  • Woodblock printing
  • Quiksilver and Roxy
  • …plus change.


Check out the work of just some of our Graphic Design students – the result of their engaged, active and inquiry-based learning skills:

Well done to all of the students in Line 1 Graphic Design for engaging with design history.

It’s great to see our ‘digital natives’ embarking on a research journey when the content is packaged and delivered via 21st-century methodology. In upcoming challenges, students will again use their phones – this time to scan QR codes, use drawing Apps and to update their online diary. With luck, the teacher reaction of “Oi… put your phones away!” will become a directive of the past.

Mark Will

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