Design and Technology MDP – 2014

The completion of this years HSC major works were as rewarding for me as ever, the students worked in a variety of design areas – this was challenging from an organisational perspective but allowed students to demonstrate skills that related to their passions, interests and skills.

They had strong design concepts that allowed them to research and develop unique design ideas, this aspect I believe is most important – a pre-formed concept at the start of the project that is shallow in research and innovation/creativity does not allow a student to fulfil the MDP requirements in both the creation of a thorough folio and practical solution.

They did NOT have folio template, we developed a checklist based on marking criteria, changing the order and headings to suit each of the design areas they worked in. This shows evidence of creativity and also application of the design process – NOT heavy instruction, coaching or guidance from a teacher.

 

The projects were:

– Silver and resin jewellery

– Graphics promotional package for Gilroy recycling program

– Bed and storage made from reclaimed timbers

– Guitar

– Sustainably designed family home – model and full plans

– Outdoor daybed with cushions

– Laser cut lace dress with LED lights

– Infographic posters for design students

– Bedroom storage made from pallets

– Grandfather clock made from acrylic

– Parquetry table made from reclaimed building materials

 

Here is a selection of photos from the construction and final stages of the 2014 MDP’s . . . . these photos are not indicative of the ALL the hard work and additional hours these students put it, they were dedicated and perfecting. I hope the amount of experiments they produced is clear – the final products were superb because production processes and ideas were trialled. These projects used resources from other schools, other staff in other faculties, community support, recycled and reclaimed materials, numerous trips to Officeworks for printing and parent help. 



I am so proud of their work, if this is the quality of their work as HSC level students – imagine where they will be in a few years to come. . . . 





















 

 

 

 

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Confessions of a fashion addict and Buy Nothing New Month.

 

I have been following the Adbusters anti-consumption activist journey since my early uni-days. Their campaigns and culture jams are witty, productive, creative and informed. I participate in their “Buy Nothing Day” each year – not to have a tokenistic approach to consumption, but to use their campaign and information as a way to read, be an informed consumer and better understand the lifecycle and impact my purchase decisions have on our environment.  I frequently use the Adbusters resources in my Design and Technology classroom, I believe that better consumer choices will be enabled by clever and thoughtful design.

You can read more about Adbusters here: https://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd

 

Two years ago I blogged and participated in the Buy Nothing New month which I am doing again this year. It is an Australian campaign that runs for the month of October: http://www.buynothingnew.com.au/.

 

I am a SELF CONFESSED FASHION ADDICT, I LOVE buying quirky, strange, on-trend clothes. Buy Nothing New month isn’t so much of a challenge as a lot of what I purchase is second hand and re-purposed. My SELF challenge from now on is to not only not buy anything new for October, but look at WHERE my clothes and fashion purchases COME FROM. How they are made? How are they manufactured, processed, dyed? What packaging does it come in? Is it necessary that I purchase it- WHO will its purchase support?

 

. . . a month of reflection that will start a longer journey! YOU can sign up to pledge to BUY NOTHING NEW for a month here: http://www.buynothingnew.com.au/

Using Pinterest in my classroom

http://pinterest.com/

A super bookmarking tool – I use it to collect bookmarks together of videos, links and online resources for units of work – each unit of work has a separate “board” – frequently I share these with students!

There are LOADS of ideas and resources on there already, so it can be as easy as creating your own board, then “re-pinning” other peoples pins from the search bar OR from people you follow.

I use the Pin it to Pinterest tool – this is an add-on to my chrome browser (found here: https://help.pinterest.com/entries/22997343-Add-the-Pin-It-button) – new pins are added without signing into pinterest! – TOO EASY!

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I RSS feed pins from relevant boards to my Edmodo groups – my DT class get pins from my “innovations and clever design” board, whilst my timber class get “project ideas” – – – see instructions on EDMODO RSS feeds here – – ->  https://blog.edmodo.com/2011/06/01/web-2-0-creating-an-edmodo-rss-feed/

The best bit is that no matter what device you are on, you have access to your bookmarks!!

Yvonne Dixon (a UK teacher) was the FIRST person I started to follow – her boards are FULL of info and a great example of how it works for education: http://pinterest.com/ydixy/

 

OR Julie Boyd’s design and technology/textiles boards – – – > http://pinterest.com/textileshotline/boards/

AND. . . Thank you Jeanette James for initially introducing the idea to me!! 🙂

Follow up . . . making the syllabus REAL!

In my last blog post, I talked about how I set about re-designing a year 11 Design and Technology task to incorporate REAL and CONTEXTUAL links with design and designers in industry. I did this by changing an old task that traditionally would normally be a report to a NEW TASK that required students to DESIGN, MAKE and SELL jewellery items using mass manufacturing methods, THEN compare their outcome (sales, budgets, success, failures) to that of a REAL DESIGNER.

And then . . . . 

Students were asked to design and create a mass-manufactured jewellery range using Adobe Illustrator to design the product, acrylic as the medium, laser cutter to mass produce. Students had slim to no experience in using the program and the laser cutter machine. Also, we dont have a laser cuter on site AND many students in the class are not particularly interested in jewellery as a focus area. As well as the practical aspect they had to research a designer that “inspired their style”.

SO, how did all these challenges make this project POSSIBLE? and SUCCESSFUL?

  • Students were introduced to the task and received it in a positive way, they liked the brief, and even though it restricted the outcome (in the material and production techniques). By using the Pinterest inspiration page as a starting point they could see that this was a current manufacturing technique that could produce items that would be appealing for a market day held at school. THIS and the fact that the task USED TO BE A REPORT, and now they were designing for a REAL audience and were actually going to SELL their designs for MONEY (for charity) THEY WERE HOOKED!!
  • I explained the process of laser cutting to students and how illustrator could be used to create vector files that could be read/cut by the machine. Students used youtube tutorials that were on the Pinterest page AND peer support to self teach themselves illustrator with minimal assistance from me, this independent learning I am most proud of 🙂
  • A flaw of mine earlier in the project was that we were using various schools laser cutters (and they each used different settings on illustrator), this affected the time management of the project as the solution was not easily fixed. We used THREE DIFFERENT schools equipment (and picked MANY teaching staffs brains!!) in different localities of Sydney. Doing this whilst trying not to impact school time was MOST challenging. Students wrote about this in their evaluation section of the task, noting that production trials should be done as early as possible in the design process to avoid issues, SO even though it did feel frantic during the product stage, they still worked hard with me, and learnt a valuable lesson!
  • Most students had never designed for a real audience, so when they had their designs and were planning their BUDGET SALES PROFIT table to calculate COST of producing the item and how much it should be sold for there were some GREAT discussions in the room to the effect of: “OMG, we could potentially make a few hundred dollars EACH” – “I can’t believe items that are so cheap to make in bulk could make so much profit” – at this moment, I could not keep the happy teacher grin off my face!!
  • The market day itself was challenging to organise in the school calendar, not only because of the logistics of getting the pieces cut, but also making sure the days when the items would be sold was advertised effectively – we had NEVER dont this kind of task before, so students AND teachers had no idea what could be potentially be on offer! Our Assistant Principal suggested running the market over 2 days (one day for browsing, the second day students could be prepared with money to purchase) THIS WAS A SUPER IDEA! We also used the TAS instagram account to preview images of the items so students could have a sneak peek!

 

SO, how did all the challenges make this content REAL? and VALID?

  • The audience of CUSTOMERS during the market day giving real-time feed back was invaluable. At first students thought customers were being kind by buying items, but when sales got over $500 they were confident that their designs were actually WORTH PURCHASE! This type of validation for any designer/artist is the feel good moment of good design.
  • Students worked the entire design process LIKE A DESIGNER: researching the target market using a survey, looking at existing products for pricing/inspiration, working collaboratively as a class group to create diverse items AND working out the cost of production in relation to selling price and end profit.
  • Student enjoyed the practical aspect of the task and even though it was time consuming I still covered syllabus content in my program such as: designing for people, anthropometrics, culture as a factor that affects design, mass-manufacture methods vs couture and bespoke design processes, marketing, designers and their work and innovations in production methodologies.
  • Not all students were as successful in sales as each other, but they ALL SOLD ITEMS! This enabled them to still calculate profit and complete the second part of the task effectively. Like I said earlier, students that were not interested in jewellery design were still excited and motivated about the task due to the profit making, some even decided from this task that this was the area that they should major in for their final year!

Photos from the task: 

 

THANK YOU!

A huge thank you to Bossley Park High School for allowing us to use their laser cutter, The Kings School TAS department for sharing ideas and their laser cutter AND Malyn Mawby from Abottsleigh for donating her valuable WEEKEND to help produce the designs, without the after-hours support of these schools/teachers the students in this class would not have seen their successes! 🙂

My take-aways – YES planning and managing this task for all students to have high quality products was TOUGH, it did require extra work hours, BUT students made this worthwhile by their appreciation and success. . . HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR SYLLABUS REAL???

I want to make this syllabus content REAL!?

I always talk about how learning should be relevant, contextual and applicable to students lives. I always demonstrate how syllabus outcomes/content should link to real world stuff- so when students say “WHY are we learning this” there is a legitimate answer, OR, even better, the question isn’t asked- the link is THAT evident.

Tell my then, WHY do I have an assessment task scheduled for Preliminary Design and Technology that looks at design practice, designers and comparisons between their work in industry and what we do in school? WHY does the task ask for a written report that compares and contrasts designing and making when students DON’T get to have that experience? . . . oh jeez, I really can’t hand that task out?? . . . . REALLY?? :-/

Enter the NEW task!!

designers and their work

designers and their work2

So, what’s the difference? THIS task will allow students to DESIGN, MAKE, MAYBE FAIL? MAYBE SUCCEED? They will get to HAVE A GO AT BEING A DESIGNER- designing, making- selling. The premise being that they will NOW have some practice to compare their designer to! 

The hard parts in writing this task:

  • when we design and make we usually create a design folio- there is NO TIME for this process, an assumption has been made that the design process is ESSENTIAL and will be followed- therefore an evaluation could be conducted based on success and failures within each stage of the design process. SO this is how P2.1 will be assessed.
  • we DON’T have a laser cutter on site, I have liaised with another school (bribing teachers with coffees and goodwill) to allow me to produce students designs- this could ONLY be done during weeks 3/4 of term.
  • Students SHOULD be able to determine presentation methods determined by their audience. This is an important skill as designers. Yes report writing skills are important too, but that got scrapped so that students could choose presentation method, SO this is how P5.2 will be assessed.
  • They should be able to compare and evaluate the success of their designs to those of a real designers, BUT, WHAT IF THEIR DESIGNS DON’T SELL on market day?? . . . I have created a BUDGET SALES PROFIT table– so that as long as they set out to achieve a profit, they will still succeed. (NOTE: yes 20 marks is a lot for this section, marking criteria includes use of computer graphics and laser cutting technologies)
  • MATERIALS!!??? . . . I purchased all the findings in bulk from ETSY, and acrylic “scraps” from Australian Plastic Fabricators this kept costs down AND we have a variety of colours in the acrylic. All profits will go to support our World Youth Day travellers from Gilroy.
  • NO TIME FOR RESEARCH??!!! . . . I started a PINTREST board for students with bookmarks and links of relevant designers, illustrator tutorials, laser cutter videos/info. This should get them started! (and limit the time spent on this section so they can get to the good stuff quicker)
  • The need to UNDERSTAND design is important. There is still a section that analyses and evaluates a designers work, hopefully this wont be presented in a report format (as it doesn’t need to be) AND hopefully the experiences they gain in the practical side of the project enable this section to be much more rewarding than just reading a bio on the internet.

This task has taken HOURS of planning, research and co-ordination, but, HOW could I say I was making learning contextual and relevant from WITHIN a classroom? By handing out a research report???

Assessment tasks can be evil. This task, to me NOW seems real, with learning and skill development in mind. I hope this task allows students to PLAY the part of a designer, so they can better understand their role, what they do and the technologies and processes they use. This class is such a CREATIVE group, I couldn’t have possibly imagined stifling them with a “report”. I can’t wait to see what they come up with, what they will make and sell, and HOW this will inspire them to form a career pathway in design.

Bulk purchased findings

What can YOU do with a piece of fabric? . . .or a length of timber?

What can YOU do with a piece of fabric?

My fave part of teaching in a practical course is watching students transform their fabric/timber into items of soft furnishings, clothing, toys or timber products, decorating them to their individual tastes and styles and employing skills and processes learnt in technology units.

 

This is only a quick post, but I wanted to collate some of the extraordinary and creative work Gilroy students have done in my classes- and as you can see from the images, even though they work to a design brief and with constraints their final outcomes are unique and demonstrate some clever use of recycled materials and processes.

 

Projects pictured include:

  • Year 7 textiles technology – interior design/cushion
  • Year 7 mixed materials technology – product/light design
  • Year 9 Industrial Technology -timber: treasure chest
  •  . . . and a whole heap of random pics 🙂

 

What an awesome year it has been !!!

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First world problems- buying jeans, and being short! . . . turning flares into straight leg jeans

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First problem- I bought jeans that were too long, they were $29.95 with an extra 50% off, I couldn’t resist the bargain and set about hemming them this evening. . .

THEN!!! As soon as I cut them to the correct length I wasn’t happy, being a flared leg I had cut them off at the widest point making me look shorter. Not cool.

Solution!!! Makes into a straight cut by slimming down the leg width, here is how I did it:

1. Use another pair of pants as a guide, this saved me so much time! Use a fabric marker to etch a gradual line from the OUTSIDE LEG SEAM ( this is important, because the inner leg seam is normally top stitched for strength)

2. Pin, and then sew a straight stitch at a stitch length of 4( this will enable easy unpicking if needed) – turn inside out and try on. If it is not slim enough, re sew next to existing stitches, no need to unpick unless it is too tight.

3. If it is correct, adjust stitch length to 2, and sew alongside the inside of existing stitches- this will reinforce the new seam.

4. Trim back excess and trace onto other leg, repeat!

5. Sew edges with a blanket type stitch or overlock to prevent fraying.

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BYOD workshop materials – apps, online tools and how you ACTUALLY DO BYOD in the classroom.

Excitably this year at the IIATE conference I ran a workshop on BYOD (bring your own device).

How can portable devices such as tablets, smart phones, laptops, iPads and iPods be integrated effectively into technology classes to enhance learning?
Online tools, apps, games and websites that are relevant to a wide variety of TAS subjects will be demonstrated. Bring your own device on the day (ALL platforms and device types are welcome).”

Here is my prezi introducing the concept/idea of BYOD- – – – > PREZI 

In the weeks prior to the workshop I employed the help of my PLN to gather additional resources, because other teachers in my PLN teach in differing subject areas AND different device types AND they are pretty clever!

Some of the responses looked like this:

I went through each app that was suggested compiling a list that worked with my workshop sections/audience (keeping in mind my workshop was for TAS teachers in a high school setting):

  1. APPS
  2. WEBSITES
  3. STUFF FOR TEACHERS
  4. STUFF FOR LATER

THIS info I then put into these handouts to be used on the day.

I chose to use QR codes as they are a GREAT way of getting A LOT of info into a small space – each QR code on the handout contained WHAT the tools DOES and HOW it could be integrated into the classroom. I can also attribute the groovy layout to comic life, SO EASY!!

PDF FILES:

Apps for BYOD

Websites for students BYOD

Stuff for teachers

STUFF TO CHECK OUT LATER- BYOD

HOW DO YOU DO BYOD IN YOUR CLASSROOM ??? ANY TIPS FOR NEWBIES OR SEASONED TECH HEADS??

Showing off my students’ Design & Technology Major Design Projects !!

In the HSC course of Design & Technology students embark on a 9 month journey that starts with them sourcing a DESIGN NEED, and is completed with them creating their OWN DESIGNED SOLUTION. This Major Design Project (MDP) is weighted as 60% of their HSC assessment marks (exclusive of their school assessment marks).

The MDP challenges their creativity, applied subject knowledge and also their time management skills. This year, with a small class of 11 students, it was NOT any easier to facilitate this process. The biggest challenge FOR ME was being the CONSTANT source of motivation and direction for these students. However, I loved EVERY minute of it, the BEST moment was celebrating the completion of the MDP and their personal success with some cake 🙂

Students in my year 12 D&T class worked to create:

  • A RC (remote controlled) scaled fighter plane
  • A WIND turbine for residential use
  • Bed linen set that incorporated custom printed fabric from the students OWN sketches
  • Electronic music production tutorial website
  • A moving wall system for small apartment living
  • Graphics for a wake-skate board
  • Storage system that hangs from the ceiling
  • Silver jewellery – rings and bracelet
  • Baseball field incorporating green energy and universal design principles
  • Kitchen “step aid” built within a kickboard
  • Velcro bootie and stomp pad for surfers to enable aerial manoeuvres

3 students from this year’s cohort have been entered into the University of Wollongong Design and Technology Competition, but all of these projects are personal successes in their own right, which is why they deserve this blog post to CELEBRATE ALL THEIR HARD WORK!!

SLIDESHOW OF PROGRESS PICS and COMPLETED WORKS: (only SOME of the HUNDREDS of pics I took)

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Students should fail.

Students should fail, they should be allowed to make mistakes, comfortable to even.

Why? Because learning by self exploration and trial and error not only builds resilience but enquiry based learning also encourages independent problem solving skills.

I have been thinking about this post for a while, not only because it is a common theme in my classes (mainly due to my KLA area) but also because for some students, the fear of failure is frightening. During the last parent teacher night, I had an extended conversation with a student and parent, our discussion considered “what is the worst thing that could happen if you make a mistake?”

Well? What is is it? . . . . we decided the WORST case scenario is re-doing something, but then pondered, “if it’s a do-over, would the second time be BETTER?” . . . what if in the act of failing and making mistakes they are becoming more discerning and critical of their work, able to distinguish right and wrong on their own!?

First of all, I believe it is essential to have ground work in place so that students feel comfortable enough to make those initial mistakes and secondly but MOST important is the TIME and FRAMEWORK for them to evaluate, share and IMPROVE based on those mistakes. And THEN, if a mistake is made, it is a GOOD ONE!

My year 12 students are at such a crucial time in their Major Design Projects, all through the process it has been a goal of mine to program/cater for time for SELF experimentation. Common questions such as “which plastic is suitable? what glue do I use” ALL get the same answer. . . . EXPERIMENT? TRY? RESEARCH? and decide YOURSELF!! I revel in thinking about HOW MUCH MORE they are learning by just working it out themselves! . . . . but why do I feel more comfortable in doing this with older students??

My year 7 and 8 technology classes run based on projects, in order to complete the projects students follow steps and a series of demonstrations. Reflecting and comparing this to how I run my senior classes, I couldn’t think as to WHY I don’t do the same thing??!! Why do I TELL students all the answers? – – sadly, its due to lack of time, urgh.

So, on friday and today, I gave it a go with my juniors. I let go, and let them make mistakes. . .

And, of course like in my senior classes, they felt comfortable enough to. And even though I normally get excited about the learning that takes place, today what excited me the most is that they were comfortable enough in my classroom to make those mistakes, they shared them with friends (so they didn’t make the same mistake) AND they shared them with me.

Did this impact greatly on time as I originally thought? In “lesson time” it put me behind 1 lesson. BIG WHOOP!! ??

What WAS beneficial is seeing the independent learning, exploration and problem solving in my juniors that I LOVE seeing in my senior classes. We spent time reflecting on each others mistakes in a discussion (and later a blog post), but mainly focused on WHAT WAS LEARNT FROM THEM.

EPIC lessons!! = HAPPY TEACHER!

. . . . I have loved reading about their “mistakes” in their reflective blog posts – I highly recommend this for a reflective blog exercise in your class!

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