Why study Design Technology?
Study Design Technology because you want to create – this doesn’t mean just make things. It means to conceive, from your own imagination, unique and innovative ideas for products, objects, graphics and systems that solve problems, improve people’s lives, impart information and give pleasure through their function, simplicity and beauty. Furthermore, they would not have existed had they not first evolved from your own thought and been physically made by your hands.
Design technology instills a wealth of transferable skills, which are key in all subjects and sought after in employment and higher education, including problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, presentation, ICT and spatial awareness.
KS3: A Foundation Course in Design Technology
At KS3 students rotate on a carousel, undertaking a range of projects and activities which are designed to develop a wide range of practical, design and presentation skills. Students will gain an understanding of the design process, the historical and cultural context of the subject and the responsibility of designers to consider moral, social and environmental issues. Students are given opportunities to work with a range of materials, including wood, metal, card and plastics, and processes including casting, model making and computer aided design and manufacture.
KS4: GCSE Product Design (AQA)
This is a challenging, exciting and rewarding two-year course which culminates in students designing and making a final product which they have independently researched, developed and manufactured. Students have the opportunity to further develop the practical and design skills learnt in KS3 and gain a deeper understanding of manufacturing processes, materials and wider issues relating to product design. The first year consists of a series of short practical and skills-based tasks. After the Easter holidays students will begin to conduct some initial research into a Design Brief, which they chose from a range options provided by the exam board. This will form the starting point for a controlled assessment task that consists of a design folder and final product.
In the past students have created small items of furniture, bird houses, lighting and electrical products. Throughout the course, students will also develop their theoretical knowledge and understanding of the subject to prepare them for a final written exam.
The coursework is 60% and the written exam is 40% of the final grade.
KS5: A Level Product Design (AQA)
In year 12 you will examine an existing product of your choice, analyse its strengths and weaknesses and then redesign an improved product based on your initial investigations. The second unit is a very exciting practical exam called the Innovation Challenge. You will be set a Design Problem, in which you will have to be as creative and experimental as possible in coming up with a working prototype of an innovative solution over the six hours allowed. You will spend time developing your modeling skills and learning strategies that will allow you to think and problem solve creatively.
In year 13 the sky, or more accurately your imagination, is the limit as you will have the freedom to develop your own Design Brief and then create a high quality, commercially viable product. You will also formulate an innovative marketing strategy for your product. As you go through the year you will be further developing your design skills, as well as your knowledge and understanding of design issues, materials and processes, in order to prepare for the final written exam, which is a combination of designing and theory.
This is an exciting course which will give you a whole range of creative, analytical and practical skills that are much sought after by employers and universities in all fields, whether or not you pursue this rewarding career path.
Enrichment Activities at DGSB
In all Key Stages we offer a range of exciting trips and visits including The V&A, The Science Museum, The Design Museum and visits to local and national design-related businesses. We are always looking for new opportunities in this area, both at home and abroad, and have visited Paris in the past. We are currently planning trips to other European cities of culture.
This year we are looking for students to administer and contribute to our departmental blog. We also need volunteers to help us build a wind turbine for the school site.
In addition to these opportunities the workshops are open on selected lunchtimes for students to extend class work or to develop personal projects providing they have a clear focus.
Design Technology could lead you into many exciting and rewarding careers including architecture, engineering, design for products, cars, fashion, games, media, and furniture, to name a few.
As the subject fosters so many transferable skills it is a good stepping stone for any career. Why do you think there is always a design task on ‘The Apprentice?’