Drawing Board Projects: The case for design experiences without three-dimensional realisation
In the context of the school curriculum, projects and investigations, as we all know, are now considered indispensible; although I recall being inspir~d by a certain History master in the late 1940s who set us, as fourth-formers, research exercises on such topics as Jethro Tull, Turnip Townsend, and other agricultural and industrial pioneers of the 18th and 19th centuries. In those days, of course, we still called it ";homework";, even though the work involved extended field trips into the archives of the public library. Exercises such as these would now be properly termed ";investigations";, since there is no sense of ";projection"; into the future or into the production of an original creation or artefact. Since that time, the Project Technology team and others have done much to place technology more widely into the traditional school environment so that, in addition to the analytical study of other peoples efforts, children and students are encouraged to experience the design process for themselves and the exhilaration and inevitable frustrations that are inseparable from it.
The design process, as Deere 1 and others2 have shown, is the essential core of Technology and any technological project should therefore incorporate a strong element of design; if the prime purpose of an exercise is analysis rather than synthesis, then it might be better described as an investigation.