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Design and Technologies

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Learning in Design and Technologies

In Design and Technologies, students are actively engaged in the processes of creating designed solutions for personal, domestic and global settings for a sustainable future. For younger children, this usually involves personal and family settings, where there is an immediate, direct and tangible outcome and where playfulness and practical exploration are a focus. Students work on projects as they investigate needs and opportunities, generate and evaluate ideas, plan, manage, produce and evaluate designed solutions. They evaluate success by using predetermined criteria that have been negotiated with the class or developed by students.

Integrating the strands

Teaching and learning programs will typically integrate content from each strand. By the end of each band level, students will have had the opportunity to create different types of design solutions that address all four sub-strands from Technologies Contexts. For example, a unit of learning in Design and Technologies would entail the integration of content descriptions from the Technologies and Society and Creating Designed Solutions strands, and at least one sub-strand from Technologies Contexts. Or, in the Technologies Contexts strand, a unit may address several contexts and include a design brief.

The combination of contexts and types of designed solutions is a school decision.

Design briefs

A design brief is a concise statement clarifying the project task and defining the need to be addressed, or opportunity to be explored. After some analysis, investigation and research, a design brief will typically identify intended users, criteria for success, constraints, available resources, and a timeframe for the project. It may also include possible consequences and impacts. A design brief, when self-generated, is a tool for clarifying a problem or when a design brief is externally imposed, a guideline for design. In the earlier years of learning, design briefs may be fairly prescriptive and teacher-directed. As design skills and design thinking develops, students have greater input into the development of design briefs for specific, identified needs or opportunities.

Factors influencing design decisions

In Design and Technologies, students apply their knowledge and practical skills and processes when using technologies and other resources to create innovative solutions to meet current and future needs. In doing so, they consider economic, environmental and social sustainability. Across each band, students begin by considering environmental factors, then environmental and social factors, and finally, environmental, social and economic factors. Students make ethical decisions about the use of design and technologies, considering health and sustainability implications. They consider aesthetic and functional requirements. They also consider the suitability of enterprise and marketing for the designed solution.

Progression of production skills

Students spend a substantial amount of time engaged in developing processes and production skills. Through the practical application of technologies, students develop dexterity, fine motor skills and coordination through experiential activities. The quality of their solutions improves as their production skills improve.

Students produce designed solutions using production processes involving natural and fabricated materials, components and digital technologies. The types of technologies they use may become progressively more sophisticated. When students generate, develop and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences and for design tasks in a range of technologies contexts, they develop graphical representation skills. They also develop graphics skills when the focus of the design project is on producing a designed graphics solution. Students progress from basic drawing and modelling to using technical terms and techniques and using digital technologies to produce three-dimensional drawings and prototypes

Planning and managing projects

In Design and Technologies, in the lower level-bands, students are actively involved in projects. Students plan, with teacher support, simple steps and follow directions to complete their own projects or manage their own role within team projects. As students’ progress through primary school, they take more responsibility for specific roles within a project, with increasing levels of collaboration and teamwork. 

From level 7 onwards, students begin to manage projects, with support from peers and teachers. In the higher level-bands, students use their increasing skills to manage fully projects and teams. They use digital tools to support their project management. They coordinate teams and collaborate with others locally and globally.

Design thinking

Design thinking involves the use of strategies for understanding design needs and opportunities, visualising and generating creative and innovative ideas, planning, and analysing and evaluating the ideas that best meet the criteria for success.

Design thinking underpins learning in Design and Technologies. Design processes require students to identify and investigate a need or an opportunity, to generate, plan, manage and create designed solutions, and evaluate products and processes. Consideration of economic, environmental and social impacts that result from designed solutions are core to design thinking, design processes and Design and Technologies.

Safety

Identifying and managing risk in Technologies learning addresses the safe use of technologies, as well as risks that can impact on project timelines. It covers all the necessary aspects of health, safety and injury prevention, and, in any technologies context, the use of potentially dangerous materials, tools and equipment. It includes ergonomics, and safety including cyber safety, data security, and ethical and legal considerations when communicating and collaborating online.

Technologies learning experiences may involve the use of potentially hazardous substances and/or hazardous equipment. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure that a duty of care is exercised in relation to the health and safety of all students, and that school practices meet the requirements of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, the Victorian Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, and the Commonwealth’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

In implementing projects with a focus on food, care must be taken with regard to food safety and specific food allergies that may result in anaphylactic reactions. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy has published guidelines for prevention of anaphylaxis in schools, preschools and childcare. For further information and the relevant guidelines for Victorian schools, please refer to the Department of Education and Training’s website.

Animal ethics

Any teaching activities that involve caring, using, or interacting with animals must comply with the 'Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes'. For further information about relevant guidelines or to access your local animal ethics committee, please see DET’s guidelines.

Curriculum connections

Design and Technologies has strong connections with a number of learning areas within the Victorian Curriculum, which are set out below.

Design

Design thinking and design processes feature significantly in Design and Technologies, Digital Technologies, and The Arts. Design thinking and design processes are also examples of critical and creative thinking.

The Creating Digital Solutions strand in Design and Technologies develops design thinking and design processes. Designing in Design and Technologies involves design thinking and the explicit use of design processes to create designed solutions for an identified user and purpose (usually to fulfil some practical purpose in the wider world). It involves developing designed solutions that take into consideration a range of factors, such as ethics, functionality, and sustainability, related to the identified need and that can be evaluated using identified criteria for success. It involves experimenting with technologies through drawing, modelling and the manipulation of materials.

Food and nutrition

Student attitudes and behaviour regarding healthy living can be influenced by providing students with opportunities to learn about where their food comes from, how it is produced, and how they can prepare it. In the Victorian Curriculum, students are taught about food and nutrition in Health and Physical Education and in Design and Technologies.

In Health and Physical Education, students develop knowledge and understanding of nutrition principles to enable them to make healthy food choices and consider the range of influences on these choices.

In Design and Technologies, students learn how to apply knowledge of the characteristics and scientific and sensory principles of food, along with the nutrition principles described in Health and Physical Education, to food selection and preparation. They do this through the design and preparation of food for specific purposes and consumers. They also develop understandings of contemporary technology-related food issues such as convenience foods, highly processed foods, food packaging and food transport.

Home economics 

Home economics supports students to develop the capacity to make decisions, solve problems and develop critical and creative responses to practical concerns of individuals, families and communities. Where Home Economics is offered as a subject, the teaching and learning program is based on curriculum drawn from both Health and Physical Education and Design Technologies.

Content drawn from the Health and Physical Education curriculum relates to food and nutrition, growth and development, identity, and connecting to others. Students develop the knowledge to make healthy choices about food and nutrition and explore the range of influences on these choices and build the skills to access and assess nutritional information that can support healthy choices.

In Health and Physical Education, students become increasingly aware of the stages of human growth and development. They take increasing responsibility for their own growth and development by exploring, and learning how to manage the many different factors that influence their identities. Students also develop a practical understanding of how connections to other people influence wellbeing. They learn positive ways to communicate, interact and relate to others in a range of social and movement-based situations.

Multimedia 

Students use multimedia in a range of curriculum areas to communicate evidence of their learning. Explicit content descriptions detailing the knowledge, understanding and skills that students must acquire in relation to multimedia are found in Digital Technologies and Media Arts.

In Design and Technologies, students may produce designed solutions through the Technologies Contexts, for example, graphics technologies specialisation with a multimedia focus.

In Digital Technologies, the multimedia focus relates to the technical aspects of digital multimedia solutions and privacy and intellectual property. The technical aspects cover the digital representation of multimedia and text as forms of structured data, and the digital systems required to capture and display that data. It also includes the algorithms required to create or manipulate them. An understanding of design elements and principles, and how people interact with solutions (the 'user experience') in digital media is also addressed.

In Media Arts, there is a focus on using standard software to produce images, animations, videos and audios, whereas the digital representation of these media elements and the automated interaction with them are addressed in Digital Technologies.

Information Communication Technologies and Design and Technologies

Information Communication Technologies (ICT) are powerful tools that can support student learning. Students can develop and demonstrate their understanding of concepts and content in Design and Technologies through using a range of ICT tools. It is also important that students know how to use these ICT efficiently and responsibly, as well as learning how to protect themselves and secure their data.

Details of how ICT can support student learning in Design and Technologies is set out in the attached Information Communication Technologies and Design Technologies pdf.

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