The objective of this Primary Research is to carry information on recent and ongoing research into Primary Design & Technology education. This is essentially "Page One" of a weblog that will be updated every six months: immediately after the D&T Association Conference in July and again in January of each year. The weblog will include national initiatives, group and individual research.
For inclusion of your research (or to update/amend details), please send a brief research report to Dr Gill Hope, providing the name(s) of researcher(s), institution/funding organisation, summary of the research, interim/concluding findings, publications, contact details and/or a web link.
Primary D&T at D&T Association Conferences
Presentation of current research into Primary Design & Technology has always been a strong thread within the annual D&T Association conferences. This has been a catalyst for discussion, networking and development of collaborative work between researchers within the UK and the forging of valued international links.
The D&T Association's Design and Technology Education: An International Journal has always been the publication of choice for reports of research projects in the UK. Reading the list of authors is almost a "Who?s Who" directory of researchers with a wide range of interests in primary D&T.
The Centre for Research into Primary Technology is based at the University of Central England's Perry Barr campus under the direction of Professor Clare Benson. CRIPT has held biennial conferences since 1999, bringing together researchers, academics, policy-makers and practicing teachers with a keen interest in the development of primary Design and Technology. These have been truly international events with delegates from across all five continents, leaders in the field in their own countries and world-wide. The conference provides the opportunity to hear many interesting and distinguished speakers, to engage in deep and thought provoking discussion and to compare and share on-going concerns in design and technology education within primary schools world-wide. Contact Clare Benson for details of conferences and publications.
Pupils' Attitudes Towards Technology is an international organization based in the Netherlands that promotes research in technology, both primary and secondary. Conferences are conducted around the globe.
D&T Association/Nuffield/CRIPT Initiative
The growing research profile within the UK primary D&T community, and concerns that we were each doing this independently in our own small corners, with little recognition or funding, led to the feeling that we must do something together. This led to the D&T Association/Nuffield/CRIPT seminar 'Developing and celebrating good practice in primary design and technology' hosted by the Nuffield Foundation in February 2002.
A subsequent working party convened at the CRIPT at University of Central England in March 2003 to consider the recommendations and possible ways forward, which led in turn to the first meeting of the National Research Group at the Nuffield Foundation in February 2004, where discussions were held in geographical groupings in order to begin to move the national agenda forward in a more cohesive and collaborative way.
As a result of the initial meeting, the South England Research Group has met regularly to develop a pilot study investigating the student perception of D&T in the primary school. The research subjects are students on both BA(QTS) and PGCE (P) courses within participating institutions across the South England. The aim of the study is to investigate the students? recognition and understanding of the D&T teaching and learning within primary schools in which they undertake their School Experience Placement. A small pilot study has been undertaken which will be used to inform our own practice in increasing student knowledge and understanding and equip the students to become better classroom practitioners. Contact Gill Hope or Maggie Rogers with any queries.
For information on activities of the South Western Group, contact Dan Davies. We look forward to posting details of the activities of the other groups in due course.
Collaborative Research Projects
"Designerly" Thinking in the Foundation Stage
Researchers: Benson, C. (UCE), Kendall, S. (Croydon LEA) & Cannon, C. (Lancashire LEA)
Commissioned by : QCA
Reported in: Proceedings of Fifth CRIPT Conference 2005
Brief Summary: The main aim of the project is to provide tutors and teachers with opportunities to develop their own understanding of D&T in the Foundation Stage and, in particular, to focus on how "designerly" thinking can be developed through a range of activities, using a range of products as starting points.
Contact: Clare Benson
Creative Teachers for Creative Learners
Researchers: Davies, D. & Howe, A. (Bath Spa University College) Melanie Fasciato (Manchester Metropolitan University) Maggie Rogers (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
Reported in: Proceedings of D&T Association International Research Conference 2004
Brief Summary: The project aims to support the development of primary trainee teachers' understanding of, and teaching for, children's creativity in D&T and other curriculum areas. The project highlights the needs of trainee teachers for preparation creative teaching and learning, an area that has been largely neglected under ever tightening prescription of the curriculum and pedagogy over the last ten years.
Contact: Dan Davies, Alan Howe or Maggie Rogers
Young Designers on Location
Researchers: Davies, D. & Howe, A. (Bath Spa University)
Funded by: NESTA
Reported in: Proceedings of Fourth CRIPT Conference 2003
Brief Summary: The design of the project was based on Harrington's (1990) concept of the "Creative Ecosystem". Two groups of 11 year olds worked with design-related professionals at Bath Spa University College and Ironbridge Gorge Museum. The findings provided insights into ways in which the physical environment and personal relationships can stimulate children's creativity, as well as the importance of uninterrupted time to focus and concentrate for children's creativity to develop.
Contact: Dan Davies or Alan Howe
Enriching Literacy through Design & Technology
Researchers: Stables, K., Mogers, M., Kelly, C., & Fokias, F.
Institution: Goldsmith's College, University of London & the Design Museum
Reported in: Enriching Literacy through Design & Technology Evaluation Project Final Report (2001); and the Proceedings of Third CRIPT Conference 2001
Brief Summary: Working in Middlesbrough Education Action Zone with children in Year 2 and Year 6, this project focused on the way in which Handing Collections of products could enhance children's learning in both literacy and D&T. The project built on insights and methodologies developed within Goldsmiths' through working with the APU in the early 1990s. The findings clearly indicated the advantages of allowing children to handle and evaluate real products as stimulus for work in both D&T and literacy.
Contact: Kay Stables or Maggie Rogers
An insight into the range of individual research projects undertaken within primary D&T.
Drawing for designing
Researcher: Bridget Egan (King Alfred's College, Winchester)
Context: Ph.D. completed 2001
Institution: University of Southampton
Brief Summary: This research focuses on children's understanding of the purpose of drawing within the design process. Whereas previous studies have focused on analysing the drawings that children make, this study examines the understandings that children themselves have of the use and purposes of drawing in the context of design activity. It appeared that, even in Year 6, children perceive the main function of drawing as a means of remembering ideas rather than progressing their design thinking.
Drawing as a Tool for Thought
Researcher: Gill Hope (Canterbury Christ Church University)
Context: Ph.D. completed 2003
Institution: Goldsmith's College, University of London
Brief Summary: The research focused on young children's ability to use drawing to develop design ideas. Initially, design drawings from children aged 5-9 were collected and analysed to gain an understanding of what children could do. This led to a hypothesis about how they could be taught to use drawing to support designing more effectively, through teaching understanding of design drawing as both container for current ideas and a journey to move those ideas forward. The findings demonstrated the effectiveness of the dual metaphor as a teaching strategy.
Contact: Gill Hope
The use of writing to support designing
Researcher: Julie Mantell (UCE)
Context: Ph.D. on-going
Brief Summary: The research focuses on the way children use writing to record and develop design ideas. She analysed the kind of writing tasks that are set as part of D&T projects to ascertain whether children are taking part in writing tasks in order to initiate them into the practices of designers and technologists, or whether D&T is being used as an interesting context for developing literacy skills.
Contact: Julie Mantell
Junior aged children as reflective practitioners
Researcher: Jim Newcomb (University of Wales, Newport)
Context: Ed.D. completed 2003
Institution: Open University
Brief Summary: The research focuses on the extent to which children are provided with sufficient opportunities to take responsibility for achieving optimized design solutions within the context of group activities in D&T lessons in Primary schools. Key findings included the observation that the role of the teacher was paramount and complex in promoting young children's capabilities as reflective practitioners, which were related to an effective interplay between metacognitive questioning, clear task structuring and well organized collaborative endeavour based on sound ground rules.