Investigation of design technology issues in the primary classroom

Davis, Robert Scott (2005) Investigation of design technology issues in the primary classroom. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Design technology is a poorly understood aspect of educational practice, particularly as it applies in the primary school classroom. In a number of countries around the world the implementation of design technology has met with difficulties as it applies to educational practice. In Australia, this curriculum area is a relatively recent addition to classroom programs of study, and it is crucial that a sound understanding of the subject and its specific characteristics is developed to assist in its effective implementation.

In this research a case study of a single primary school classroom was undertaken with a view to identifying issues that may have impeded or facilitated the effective implementation of design technology in such a context. The classroom experiences of the teacher and her students were examined in detail to ascertain any insights into design technology curriculum implementation and practice, particularly as it applies to the primary school environment.

The research identified nine key assertions relating to the practices of this teacher and her students. These assertions were developed and refined throughout the data collection to explain the observed classroom activity. Linkages between previous research and these assertions were utilised to develop a discussion that broadly identifies key issues that may impact on the effective implementation of design technology, as well as addressing broader conceptual issues associated with the subject area. The concept of a contingent approach to design is proposed as a means to explain classroom behaviour by students, and is allied to the concept of a 'field of possibility' and the interpretation of artefacts through a narrative approach. These key concepts combine to develop a structure through which classroom activity may be interpreted by teachers in a manner grounded in student behaviour. A model for interpreting technology activity in the classroom is also developed.

The research, therefore, develops present understanding through the observations of actual classroom activity. Furthermore, it presents new ways of conceptualising design technology that may assist in the progression of the curriculum area by academic and classroom professionals in a manner that is grounded in the reality of the classroom experience.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16004
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: McRobbie, Campbell & Ginns, Ian
Keywords: Alternative assessment, Classroom, Curriculum implementation, Design and technology, Outcomes-based education, Primary education
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Department: Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Robert Scott Davis
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:54
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:40

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