We all know the thrill of achievement, whether it be in the sporting arena, learning to ride a bike, play the guitar, academic success, finally seeing your house renovation completed or other. But have you ever reflected on how you got there? Take a look at the infographic above which displays the design process we use in Design and Technology education. We are presented with a "situation" (winning the game, riding a bike, planning a renovation due to space constraints) and then invariably look towards a solution. In many cases, a solution is not found automatically. Research is undertaken and options considered. After weighing up said options, a plan is made and carried out. After one sees the results of such products, they evaluate. In an informal sense, this can be a state of reflection. That worked out well! Whoa, next time I will not go down that path! We follow this design process every day without giving it a second thought. For instance, in a physical sense; I'm hungry. What can I eat? What's available? Healthy? Satisfying? Make a choice. Execute solution. Eat. Full? Move on. Not full? More food. A process. Designing our energy intake, often unconsciously.
Here is the magic. We all designers. The beauty is, the design process is second nature to us. Especially in childhood. My youngest son sees big brother and sister ride a bike without training wheels (design situation). Hey! That is something I want to do! How? Trial and error. Ask others to show me, help me, guide me. Make mistakes. Fall off. Get back on as he is determined. He has a purpose. A goal. He finally succeeds and the sense of achievement is priceless. Does this sound familiar?
This is our wish for our students today. We want them to:
1. See the purpose. The need. The desire to learn. The why.
2. Know how. Be guided. Supported. Research.
3. Make mistakes. Try. Try again. Think of more options/solutions.
4. Have a go. Use initiative. Self direct learning. Find out what works best for them AND why.
5. Reflect. Evaluate. What can I do to improve? How can I help others?
Using the design process, we are life long learners. We learn to think. We reflect. We weigh up options. We make. We do. We try. The process is often more important than the result. Yes, students have to work. They must manage their time. The design process is not an assessment that can be completed the night before it is due. The steps must be managed. Time is needed to think and be creative. They have ownership. The design ideas and solutions are their very own.
What an achievement!