Beyond design: A new paradigm for technology education

Year: 2001

Author: Mawson, Brent, Maor, Dorit

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The concept of a design as an underlying structure for technology education process is well established and a number of models of increasing complexity have been produced to explicate the process. Allied to this has been a strong design-make-appraise approach to many emerging technology education curriculum statements, and this concept appears to underpin much of the practice in New Zealand classrooms. The evidence strongly suggests that this model reflects neither the way designers work in the adult world, nor how children work in the classroom. This paper begins by examining the development and implementation of models of design processes and the influence of these on teacher’s classroom practice. The actuality of the practice of professional designers and student designers is then explored. The paper then argues that if technology education is to flourish we need to reject reference to design process and develop a new paradigm which reflects more accurately technological practice. Finally it offers some suggestions as to what a new paradigm might be, and briefly outlines an on-going Action Research project investigating the application of the approach in the classroom.