Design and technology (D&T) is a curriculum designed to produce literacy in design and related technologies. It is offered as a school subject at all levels of secondary school in the United Kingdom and is part of the National Curriculum of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is offered in many countries around the world such as Malaysia, Brunei, Bermuda, Singapore, India, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Malta, Hong Kong, Jordan, Lesotho and Botswana. Many international schools have courses in design and technology. As a school subject it involves students in designing in a practical context with a focus on, for example, food, textiles, resistant materials or digital media. It is also a university course in many countries, including Australia, Canada, the US, Singapore, South Africa, Netherlands and New Zealand, both for the preparation of teachers and for general education in areas such as industrial design. Some of the UK universities which deliver courses include: Brighton, Sheffield Hallam, Goldsmiths' College and Greenwich.
At IGCSE level, the two-year course requires all students to produce one piece of coursework, which must consist of a product that the student has manufactured in the workshop plus a folder including research and analysis about the problem being solved. It should also include a specification based on the research and analysis which should in turn inform the sketched or modelled ideas. As these ideas are developed into workable solutions the students are required to evaluate them as they evolve. As well as a detailed plan of the making process to be undertaken in manufacturing a prototype product the product must take into account the various industrial practices necessary if the product were to be mass-produced commercially. On completion the course teacher awards marks for finish of the final product, creativity, complexity, and how well the project itself was made.
- (AQA) 40% of the final mark is given for the coursework and 60% for an examination of general knowledge in the subject. Of the 40% coursework 20% is based on the making and 20% design work. There is a similar split within the 40% examination where 40% is based on making and 60% is based on designing.
- (Edexcel) 60% coursework. 40% examination of general knowledge in the subject (materials, processes, techniques and sustainability etc.). Coursework is split 50% research and analysis (Design Activity), and 50% actually making the item (Make Activity).
- Types of GCSE D&T that can be taken
- GCSE Design and Technology: Electronic Products
- GCSE Design and Technology: Food Technology
- GCSE Design and Technology: Graphic Products
- GCSE Design and Technology: Resistant Materials
- GCSE Design and Technology: Systems and Control
- GCSE Design and Technology: Textiles Technology
- GCSE Design and Technology: Product Design
A and AS level examinations prepare students for individualised learning and problem solving, which is essential in business and industry. Time management is a key factor to candidates' success within the coursework elements of the qualification. The examinations are as rigorous as any other subject. Indeed, due to the complexity and variety of tasks and organisation skills required this examination and course is very demanding. The subject covers activities from control technology to aesthetic product design. Students have to use all types of computer software including computer-aided design and manufacture, spreadsheets and computer presentations. Outputs from such work are often sent to CNC machines for manufacture.
IB Design Technology (DT) is an elective subject offered in many International Baccalaureate schools globally. Design is also offered in the IB Middle Years Programme as a compulsory subject for grades 6–10, and at the Diploma Programme level (grades 11-12). IB Design Technology is very similar in content to Design Technology, which is widely offered in the national curricula of England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many African nations. It is one of the Group 4 sciences.
The primary focus of MYP Design is to give students an understanding of the design cycle, through a practical programme. The student will complete projects based on solving a real and authentic problem. Students document their progress as they follow the design cycle to come to a feasible solution. They create the solution and then evaluate it following thorough testing.
The Diploma Programme of Design Technology is a two-year introduction to designing, a range of fundamentals of technology, and global technological issues. It provides students with the knowledge to be able to design and make in school workshops, and also to develop an informed literacy about technology in general. Because it is an international curriculum it has a particular focus on global environmental issues. It covers core topics in human factors and ergonomics, resource management and sustainable production, modeling, raw materials to final production, innovation and design, classic design. It covers advanced higher level topics in user centered design, sustainability, innovation and markets, and commercial production. The diploma is accepted for university entrance in many countries, and is a good preparation for careers in areas such as engineering, architecture, product design, interior design, design and education.
Technological education is part of the Scottish secondary school curriculum. Technological education is segregated into various subjects available at National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher
Standard Subject in Technical
- Graphic Communication
- Design and Manufacture
- Engineering Science
- Practical Electronics (available to N5 level)
- Practical Woodwork (available to N5 level)
- Practical Metalwork (available to N5 level)
Specialist Subjects within Technical
- Architectural technology
- Automotive engineering
- Civil engineering
- Building services
- Electrical engineering
- Mechanical engineering
Example work: www.cdtwork.wordpress.com
In the UK, the Arkwright Scholarships Trust awards two-year scholarships to students who are taking GCSE/Scottish Standard Grade in design & technology. The Arkwright Engineering Scholarships support students through their A levels/Scottish Highers and encourage them to study engineering or a related area of design at a top university or through a high-quality industrial apprenticeship.
The internet can be a great source of ideas for your Design and Technology projects, but it can also help you with the other skills that you need to learn for your GCSE. As well as finding sites dedicated to the area of design and technology that you are studying, you can also find plenty of resources online that have been created specifically for students studying a GCSE course.
1. The BBC’s Bitesize website is a good place to start if you are looking for help with your course. It has sections for each of the subjects covered by Design and Technology courses, including graphics, electronics and textiles. Bitesize is a good place to review the material that you have covered in class and then to test yourself to check that you have understood all of the important ideas. You can find a selection of different resources within the section for your subject, including revision materials, activities and tests, so there are plenty of ways you can incorporate this site into your preferred revision style.
2. Technology Student has plenty of resources that might help you with the ideas that you encounter during your course. The site has information about the design process and the use of different kinds of materials. There are sections for electronics, graphics and resistant materials, which will be particularly useful for GCSE Design and Technology students, but there are other resources too that could be useful if you want to learn more about technology.
3. The Mr DT site features some examples of work by students on GCSE Design and Technology courses, which might help to inspire you with some ideas for your own projects, but it also has some useful tips and resources to help you with the skills you need to develop during your course. You can find tips on how to lay out your product designs, how to plan your project and how to develop your ideas, as well as practical tips for different kinds of projects. This is a very useful site if you want to review a particular topic, but it will be most helpful if you take a look at the resources on offer when you start your coursework as it can guide you through the process of coming up with and implementing your ideas.
4. The Design Technology Department website has a selection of quizzes and resources that can help you with the ideas you need to learn for your exams. You can test yourself on your knowledge of different kinds of materials, or read up on topics that you are revising.
5. Practical Action has a section on sustainable design and technology that might help you to understand some of the ideas that you have covered in class. The site is intended for teachers, but it is full of resources that you can download to use on your own.
6. Many of these sites focus on other areas of Design and Technology, but if you are studying Food Technology for your GCSE, S-Cool has some useful resources to help you to understand the most important topics. The site has notes to review for each idea and questions for you to use to test yourself on what you’ve learned.
7. Plenty of sites can help you to come up with ideas and techniques that you can use in your course. Instructables is a good place to start looking, as there are suggestions for a wide range of different products and materials that you could use in your work, but there are also some more specialized sites that are worth checking out if you are interested in a particular type of design. For example, Popular Mechanics has some interesting articles on different kinds of technologies, as well as some useful how to articles that describe the kinds of projects you might like to develop if you are taking a course in electronics or resistant materials.
8. Design Addict is an interesting site if you are looking for inspiration for your projects, particularly if you are interested in furniture or jewellery making. The index has information on many famous designers and you can also search for individual products by period, function or material. Web Urbanist is another good design site that includes sections for some of the graphics and design subjects studied at GCSE. If you are interested in pursuing design or technology at a higher level, these sites will be particularly useful as they give a good idea of what can be accomplished in this sort of career. If you are intending to study Design and Technology at A Level, you might also want to check the Arkwright Scholarship website to find out if you can apply for support.