In this competitive day and age, many individuals are looking for high-paying professions and skills sets. One of the more popular and in-demand skills sets is accomplished through Design and Technology degrees. Design and Technology (DT) is taught in schools the world over. Unlike many other skill sets that are only taught in a few schools, Design and Technology courses are available in virtually all grade levels from primary to university, and this includes many international schools. This article deals with course information for those living in the UK.
In 2001, the government of Britain developed its Design and Technology course areas into categories. These categories include: Textiles, Food, Graphic Products, Wood, Product Design, and Resistant Materials. As of 2009, course specifications were changed to reflect newer technologies. The new two-year course specifications at the GCSE level requires those taking Design and Technology courses to create at least one complete work product.
The work product that the student produces is required to be a product that he or she has completed in the course workshop. It must also include the documentation, analysis and research conducted by the student, as part of the requirement. The documentation must be directly related to the work product produced and should lead toward the model stage of the process. Students taking the Design and Technology course should use their documentation throughout the process for evaluation purposes.
In addition to the above, the student must supply a detailed development plan of the product which could be used in the manufacturing process of a prototype product. The student must ensure that all industrial practices needed for the development of the prototype be provided in such a way that it reflects details on how the product could be produced in mass commercially. At the completion of the program, students are given grades on the final product, its complexity, its creativity, and how well the work project itself was created.
In terms of the final grade for AQA, forty percent is given for the Design and Technology coursework. The other sixty percent is given for examination of knowledge on various subjects. In terms of the coursework portion, twenty percent will be based on creation of the project and twenty percent will be based on design process work.
For Edexcel, the final grade is based on sixty percent coursework and forty percent based on examinations. The examinations will include general knowledge in a variety of subjects including processes, materials, sustainability, techniques, etc. In terms of coursework, it will be divided fifty percent in creating the work product and fifty percent in research and analysis.
There are different types of GCSE Design and Technology that are available. They are broken down into the following: GCSE Manufacturing, Systems and Controls, Graphic Products, and Resistant Materials.
Under the A and AS levels, Design and Technology falls under Human Science. This allows students to prepare for entry into university later on and focuses on learning as well as problem solving. These skills are vital for business and industry. In addition, the course helps students learn effective time management. It should be noted that the examinations given under this group are rigorous.
In general, this core subject courses cover aspects including control technology and product design factors and everything in between. Students are required to use various types of software which will include computer-aided design (CAD), software associated with manufacturing, various types of spreadsheets and software used for presentations. Students will also become familiar with CNC machines used in modern manufacturing.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Design Technology elective is offered in a wide variety of IB schools. This is an international program and is offered in the IB Middle Years Program and is considered compulsory for grades 6 through 10. It is also offered in the Diploma Program for grades 11 and 12). This program is similar to what is found in the Design Technology program and is available in New Zealand, England, Canada, Australia, and several of the African nations. It is one of the Group 4 sciences.
Under the MYP Tech program, students are taught to understand the various cycles associated with designing a product. This is a practical program in that students create projects that focus on solving real problems. Successful students must document their progress throughout the design cycle and ultimately arrive at a solution to the problem. They then test their work.
For those looking for a two-year program, the Diploma Program of Design Technology may be the solution. This is an introduction program to design and covers a wide variety of subjects that are essential to global technological issues. The program teaches students to design and create various projects. It also focuses on general technology subjects that the person will need later on.
Because this is a two-year program and offers an international curriculum, it often concentrates on global environmental aspects and issues. The program covers a variety of core topics such as materials, design, product research, development and innovation. It also exams issues associated with energy, mechanisms, structures, and global sustainability. With this knowledge, students can later specialize areas such as textiles, food, electronic products, computer-aided design or even on broader issues such as human factors. This program is an excellent option as its diploma is often accepted for university entrance in a wide variety of countries. It also provides for a solid education in areas such as design, engineering, education and architecture.
Design and Technology is also available in Scottish secondary school curriculum, and is available at Standard Grade, Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher Level. It is also available in a variety of New Zealand schools, with requirements for both Scotland and New Zealand being very similar to those found in England. For all UK, students interested in Design and Technology, scholarships and other forms of financial aid are available for those who qualify. Detailed information on financial aid can be found at each school or university and should be referred to often as conditions concerning financial aid tend to change over time.