Design Technology

You may be familiar with the subject “Design Technology” or you may have experienced it at school as Woodwork, Metalwork, and so on.

Probably the best way to explain our thinking is to ask some questions — and maybe give some answers too!

What is Design Technology? This is quite a difficult question, and the answers mean we have to go back a long way in time – and forward a long way in time. Design Technology, and Engineering have influenced man since he first picked something up, altered it and then used it to improve his life. From these early tools, the clothes he made himself, the shelters he built, he started to alter his surroundings to suit his own needs and desires.

Moving forward to the present, we still alter our environment and natural resources to do things to make our lives more fun and pleasant – we use Technology to entertain ourselves, to make ourselves more comfortable. We design and make things to save lives, preserve life, but also to shorten and take life.

What the future holds is very much in the hands of us, now, and how we educate and train our young people to be aware of the environment and how we can sensitively meet the present and future needs and wants of the population.

Design Technology is used to teach students how they can further mankind’s desires for his environment – but also to appreciate and avoid the negative impact we have on our environment. We take regard of the social, moral, cultural and environmental impact of our activities.

The Department covers a very wide range of activities – learning how to design and make products, how to enhance designs and work with a client to make our products more successful and useful, to use electronics to enhance them or add functionality, and how to Engineer, change or make things in an accurate and precise way so they are reliable and safe. We analyse products and materials to learn from, and further, our experiences of products and processes.

In the department we offer a balanced all round technology education at KS3 and give the pupils the opportunity to specialise at KS4.

There is a well equipped workshop, and also a design room with computer and internet access in the department. The most recent investment has been the purchase of a CNC Laser cutter, which will allow pupils to see the designs they produce as CAD drawings using a computer, become real life objects quickly and accurately.

Students can choose to study Product Design at GCSE level, and we use the AQA Exam board for this. The course consists of a design folio and practical piece, produced as a controlled assessment exercise, and a final exam in the summer.

Product Design allows students to use a variety of materials to produce a product and its packaging. Products possible vary hugely – including clocks, radios, ethnic inspired jewellery or wind-chimes, and can bring in elements such as electronics e.g. where the electronics are used to support and enhance the outcome. It is not necessary to understand the electronics, but rather to be able to use them to enhance the product. The customer, or end user, is considered throughout the design process.

Suggested links

These links contain lots of information, pictures, discussion forums, and help areas which could be useful for home-works, coursework and also for some interesting fun reading (and watching)!