Getting more from a design experience - a challenge to the traditional curriculum
at some recent developments in approach to design and technology that have been developed at the Department of Design and Technology at Loughborough. These have centred about two factors in the conventional approach to design in schools, ie:
a. CDT is usually limited to design and make. It does not look further, to the commercial application of design. CDT, and particularly technology is more often than not a 'problem solving circus' with little link with the real world.
b. This situation has partly arisen due to the wayan expanding curriculum within a traditional timetable structure has become increasingly fractured.
Effective liaison between departments and examples of cross curricula work, particularly in upper schools, is rare. We have built a curriculum of 'little boxes' which is increasingly failing our children in educating them for the real world.
Recognising such factors and generating ideas on how to alleviate them is one thing, actually running an experimental programme to trial ideas is often very difficult. At Loughborough, we have been fortunate to have hosted three, week long residential TVEI courses for students from Bedfordshire. These courses have been a very valuable opportunity, far removed from the normal school environment, to experiment with the points listed above. The most recent, for 56 sixth formers was also interesting in that we were able to trial a new computer simulation designed to be run over a period of time in conjunction with a design brief. We can, therefore point to ideas that have been tried, albeit in an unusual environment, and found to be successful. It is hoped that teachers will find these points of value in developing their own approaches to design and technology.