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A study of designerly activity in secondary design and technology

A study of designerly activity in secondary design and technology

Trebell, Donna (2008) A study of designerly activity in secondary design and technology. EdD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

The purpose of the study reported here was to research designerly activity in secondary design and technology as pupils aged 14 designed but did not make products for the future. Four research questions drove this study: (a) What are the features of the classroom interactions that support pupil's design activity? (b) What sort of designing do pupils do when they design without having to make what they have designed? (c) What is the teachers' attitude to design-without-make? (d) What is the pupils' attitude to design-without-make?

This study is presented in four parts. The first part provides a theoretical positioning by reviewing literature in the following fields:

- theories of learning which promote the idea that understanding is constructed socially and culturally;
- the nature of design activity as revealed by some design professionals;
- the nature of design activity as revealed by 'fledgling designers' (Trebell,
2007);
- creativity in the context of the design and technology classroom;
- literature on classroom interaction.

The second part describes the research project and methodology in which (a) designerly activity in a secondary design and technology classroom is captured using video data, (b) the work of pupils carrying out the design-without-make unit is scrutinised and (c) the views of the teacher and four of the pupils are obtained through the use of semi-structured interviews. In the third part of the thesis data is presented, analysed and discussed using an analytical framework drawn from the relevant literature (Bar lex, 2005; Corden 2001; Coultas, 2007; Hamilton, 2003; John-Steiner 2000; Kumpulainen & Wray 2002; Schaffer, 1996; Schon 1983: 78; Tharp & Gallimore, 1988; Wegeriff & Mercer 2000) supplemented by emergent categories from the data leading to the identification of the following:

- the range and categories of designing pupils engage in when they design without having to make what they have designed;
- the features of the classroom interactions that support pupils' design activity;
- the teachers' attitude to design-without-make;
- the pupils' attitude is to design-without-make

The final section comprises the conclusion together with suggestions for further research to build on and extend the findings of the thesis.

Findings indicate that the pupils designing in this context was highly iterative, creative, involved making a wide range of design decisions and revealed understanding of technological concepts. The features of the classroom interactions that support pupil's design activity are many and varied. A number of the features have emerged as themes from the literature and have been tested during this study in order to identify their significance in the development of pupil's designerly activity. These consist of: a) Design decisions - Bar lex, (2005); b) Learning conversations drawn from literature on constructive dialogue - (Kumpulainen & Wray 2002; Corden 2001; Wegeriff and Mercer 2000; Coultas, 2007) and c) Scaffolding and Mediation - (Schaffer, 1996; Tharp and Gallimore, 1988). It has also been possible to identify a number of emergent categories from the data namely: teacher gesticulation, the use of visual stimulus such as laminates; the use of visual stimulus such as film; interactions related to managing pupils' poor behaviour; making use of existing products; making graphics equipment available; showing examples of pupils design work; pupil gesticulation and the teacher exemplifying the generation and development of design ideas.

In addition findings show that pupils and their teacher valued the experience gained through undertaking a design without make assignment.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.571412
Uncontrolled Keywords: design, technology, secondary education, literature review,
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Education
School of Education > Department of Professional Learning & Development
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:15
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/6089

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