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Farhat Ara (Graduated 2013)

Area of Research:


I joined the Centre as a Research Scholar in August, 2005, just a few days after Mumbai witnessed its worst flood ever (26th July, 2005). My primary research interest is in design and technology education in schools.

We live in a designed world where the technological innovations are emerging in an unprecedented manner. Researchers and educators have increasingly felt the need of new abilities among individuals in the world driven by technological innovations. Design and Technology (D&T) education has been introduced in various countries throughout the world in order to develop the knowledge, understanding, technical and interpersonal skills among future citizens. However, in India neither design nor technology finds a place in the curriculum.

The focus of my study is on understanding middle school students’ ideas about design and designers. Design professionals and educators believe design ability to be a form of natural intelligence possessed to some degree by everyone. Design is increasingly being considered as a culture different from the established cultures of sciences and humanities and hence proposed to be included in general education, rather than being limited to the specialist.


My proposed research topic is


Investigating ideas about ‘design’ among students, teachers and designers: Towards design education at middle school”


I also aim to develop design-based activities for middle school students. My other area of interests include philosophy of technology, history and philosophy of design, history and philosophy of design and technology education, design cognition and learning, cognitive science.




In Journal:


Ara, F., Chunawala, S. and Natarajan, C. (2011). A Study Investigating Indian Middle School Students' Ideas of Design and Designers. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 16.3, 62-73.


Ara, F., Natarajan, C. and Chunawala, S. (2009). A study exploring the strategies utilised by Indian middle school students in identifying unfamiliar artefacts. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 14.3, 47-57.


In Proceedings:


Ara, F., Natarajan, C. and Chunawala, S. (2011). Students as users and designers: Product evaluation and redesign by Indian middle school students. In Chunawala, S. & Kharatmal, M. (Eds.). (2011).  International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, epiSTEME 4 Conference Proceedings. India: Macmillan.


Ara, F. & Natarajan, C. (2007). A study of middle school students' depictions of routes based on verbal descriptions and cues. In Natarajan, C. & Choksi, B. (Eds.), Proceedings of Conference epiSTEME- 2, Mumbai, India, Feb 2007.


Ara, F., Chunawala, S. & Natarajan, C. (2009). From analysing to designing artefacts: Studying middle school students' ideas about design and designers. In Subramaniam, K., & Mazumdar, A. (Eds.), Proceedings of epiSTEME-3: International Conference to Review Research in Science Technology and Mathematics Education, New Delhi, India: Macmillan.

Ara, F., Natarajan, C. and Chunawala, S. (2010). Naïve Designers: A study describing Indian middle school students' creative design solutions to a real world problem. International Conference on ''Designing for children'- with focus on 'play' and 'learn'' at Industrial Design Centre, IIT, Mumbai, Feb 2-6, 2010.

Participation in Conferences/Workshop/Symposiums:


International conferences/workshops:


Conference epi-STEME-2, Mumbai India, February, 12-15, 2007.


Workshop on Diagrams By Prof. Barbara Tversky from Department of Psychology, Stanford University, USA. Mumbai, India Feb 11 and 17, 2007


Conference epi-STEME-3, Mumbai India, January 5-9, 2009.


Workshop on Understanding Causality and explanation by Prof. Stathis Psillos from Department of History & Philosophy of Science, University of Athens, Greece. Mumbai, India, Feb 5 -9, 2007


Workshop on Design and Technology Education conducted by Prof. Kay Stables from Goldsmiths, University of London, Mumbai, India, January, 12-13, 2009.


Conference on ''Designing for children'- with focus on 'play' and 'learn'' at Industrial Design Centre, IIT, Mumbai, Feb 2-6, 2010


National conferences/symposiums:


National Symposium on ‘Zoology- A Neorealistic Approach ,‘ Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, March, 26 & 27, 2004.


National Conference on Science Education, National Initiatives in Science Education (NISE), Atomic Energy Education Society, December, 11-15, 2007.





Year of Passing
M.Sc. (Zoology) Calcutta University, Kolkata 2004
B.Sc. (Zoology) Calcutta University, Kolkata 2002
Higher Secondary (10+2)

West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, Kolkata

Secondary (10) West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, Kolkata 1996





M.Sc. Project (2004)

Title: Endocrine Hypothalamus

Guide: Prof. Subroto Chakraborty, Department of Zoology, Calcutta University, Kolkata



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