Outcome development and evaluation
The development of a technological outcome (product or system) starts with the generation of design ideas and ends when the realised outcome (completed prototype) is evaluated prior to use in situ (the predetermined context).
This complex process requires a wide range of constructive skills and knowledge; for example, to communicate design concepts and work with materials and components.
Data obtained from functional modelling and prototyping provide a basis for justifiable decision making, ensuring that the final outcome, when produced, should be fit for purpose as described in the brief.
Outcome development and evaluation can be thought of as the design, production, and evaluative practices of technological practice.
Heather McIntyre discusses the many different aspects of outcome development and evaluation.
Well I think outcome development and evaluation is the most exciting aspect of technology. Of course, we know that all of technology is exciting – but I think outcome development and evaluation is exciting because it does culminate generally in a take-home product or something that might be showcased or something that you could put in to your life-long treasure chest of memories or things.
Outcome development and evaluation is a two stage process really but those two stages still intertwine together. And one stage is, or the emphasis is on, generating design ideas, testing and refining those ideas, and communicating a conceptual design. And I like to call that aspect the design aspect.
Then the other aspect is the making aspect or production aspect, and that’s where students will be determining the materials or components they’re going to incorporate into the outcome, the tools they’re going to use, and the techniques they’re going to use.
And running through both of those aspects is an evaluation process occurring the whole time too, to determine fitness for purpose of the outcome.
So let’s contextualise this. Marae are always catering for events. It might be a twenty first, a wedding, it could be a tangi, a commemoration for the Māori Battalion, it might be the Queen coming. And so I think that is a really great opportunity to make a link with a marae from your local area.
And I was just thinking about, there was a programme on TV recently called Fusion Feast, where Peter Gordon travelled round New Zealand and visited local marae and he liaised with the iwi associated with those marae to get inspiration and to determine the ingredients that were representative of that area and to come up with a menu or recipes for the imminent feast.
A brief needs to be established so that we’ve got something to ascertain fitness for purpose of this outcome we’re developing against. A brief, I guess, really describes the solution to the issue, or the need, or opportunity that we’re trying to address. As we’re developing our outcome, in parallel, we’re refining that brief as we gather more understanding of the issue.
In the Peter Gordon case, when he was travelling around these various marae, he did, one of the shows was about, a marae that’s close to Gisborne. And part of that brief would have been to develop a feast for a particular number of people, for a particular occasion. And that one actually had a fundraising aspect in it too. And then the attributes or the requirements would’ve included things like the local, the ingredients that were going to be used in part of that feast. In this case, there were truffles, which were grown locally, and there was also fermented corn, which is a major crop in the Gisborne area. And there would've been other things too, like perhaps, some nutritional requirements or some presentation requirements.
When students are developing an outcome, there’ll be various things that they might do within that process. One of them might be the fact that they draw on their understandings from past food preparation events. Another thing could be that they are brainstorming around existing recipes or ingredients. They might be thinking about the properties of those ingredients, they might be drawing on their understanding of characteristics of technology that they are developing their outcome for. They could be trialing recipes, undertaking sensory testing along the way. And so they might do something like a simulation to just clarify that they’re on the right track and then they’ll get to that point where the actual event is occurring and that outcome is the food.
All throughout the process of developing an outcome there’s going to be lots of kōrero going on. One of the things will be the kōrero that goes on between the student and the teacher and, whatever level the kids are at, obviously that’s very significant in supporting the students, in scaffolding their learning. We would like to hope that the teacher was, probably, more a “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage”.
The other interactions that would occur would be with the people that were significant or integral to the development of that outcome. And in this case of our marae food outcome, it could be people, for instance, that are organising the event, it might be a representative group from the people that might be attending the event. Other significant input that you would want in an interaction would be with the cooks.
And there are numerous ways that kōrero interaction can be captured. There might be some students that would prefer to write about it in a portfolio. There might be other students that would like to video record it. There might be that other students that choose to blog their development and invite those significant people to contribute to their blog, and to give them feedback about the ideas that they’re developing, or to make suggestions.
Outcome development and evaluation is a part of technological practice and technological practice has got to be authentic. Well, it is authentic. By that we mean it’s real – the issues, or the need, and opportunities that we are addressing are real things. For example, the students aren’t Peter Gordon, a famous chef, but they can make links with a local marae, and, which will have issues and consequent needs and or opportunities. And this is, that is, what’s going to make this whole process really engaging and make it exciting for students.
Acknowledgment: This paper is derived from an earlier version by Dr Vicki Compton and Cliff Harwood.