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Ministry of Education.
Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore to tātou waka e ū ki uta

Glossary

A

Accepted conventions

Accepted conventions are the principles, techniques, and/or procedures established by people within a community of practice. For example, in the construction community, accepted conventions relate to such things as flush, parallel, perpendicular, offset, tolerance, and clearances.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics are a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty. Aesthetics are subjective and are often concerned with visual appeal.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Algorithm

Algorithms are precise, step-by-step instructions that begins with an input value and yield an output value in a finite number of steps. Algorithms need to give the same outcome every time they are followed. Instructions need to be able to be followed by anyone without any input from others – they should be precise and unambiguous.

Found in: all levels

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Analyse

To analyse in the technology learning area is to examine something methodically and in detail, in order to explain and interpret it.

Analysis is an essential aspect of technological literacy as it supports students to develop specialist perspectives.

Found in: levels 5–8

Technological areas: all

Anthropometric data

Statistical measurements of the human body are types of anthropometric data. These play an important role in industrial design, clothing design, ergonomics, and architecture. Changes in lifestyles, nutrition, and ethnic composition of populations lead to changes in the distribution of body dimensions and require regular updating of anthropometric data collections.

Found in: all levels

Technological areas: design and visual communication and designing and developing materials outcomes

Array

An array is a data structure that contains a group of elements (values or variables), typically all the same data type, for example, integers. Arrays are commonly used in computer programs to organise a related set of values so that it can be easily sorted or searched.

Found in: senior secondary

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Attribute

Attributes are descriptive aspects of the physical and functional nature of a technological outcome. There are two types of attributes:

  • Functional attribute: what an outcome, or part of an outcome, does. For example, provides grip, stores water, or joins surfaces.
  • Physical attribute: a spatial or sensory aspect of a technological outcome. Physical attributes describe how the outcome looks and feels. For example, hard, salty, spherical, loud, luminous, or big.

Attributes differ from specifications in that specifications define the physical and functional nature of the technological outcome in a measurable way. 

Found in: levels 1 – 4 (develop into specifications for levels 5 – 8)

Technological areas: all

Attributes and specifications

Attributes are broad, general (physical and functional) features of an outcome.

They usually describe what an outcome is made from, its colour, its shape, what its purpose is, and how people use it. For example, the toy tractor is red, rounded in shape, made from wood, and safe for children to use.

Specifications are defined and measurable (physical and functional) requirements of an outcome. They guide the development of an outcome by providing a unique set of design criteria.

For example, an attribute may refer to the outcome being small enough to be comfortably held, whereas the specification would give the precise measurement in terms of length, width, and depth.

As students develop their understanding of design literacy, they are able to develop their own specifications from attributes (from level 5).

When evaluating the outcomes of others, students begin to identify and use specifications as a way to determine fitness for purpose from level 2 onwards.

Attributes found in: all levels

Specifications found in: levels 5–8

Technological areas: all

Authentic context

Authentic contexts are the real-world places where students learn about and apply their technological practice.

The issues and problems students are designing solutions for should be meaningful to them. Local contexts for developing an outcome are more inclusive for students as they get to see the ways that the outcome has improved on what was.

Some local contexts could be issues they've seen in the environment, social issues like the way sports teams operate, or physical issues with people interacting with designed outcomes like seating not accommodating everyone's needs.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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B

Black box

A black box is a generic term used to describe hidden transformation systems.

For example, a door and its handle is a system designed so you can travel through a wall. The inputs are the materials (door, hinges, handle, and lock mechanism) and the forces used to turn the handle and push the door. The system can be described as: When force is applied to the handle and the door is pushed, the door pivots on its hinges and opens. The output is that the door opens and closes. In this example, the black box comprises of the parts that cannot be easily seen (referred to as sub-systems). An example is the lever mechanism inside the door that transforms the input (force) into the output (door opens).

The concept of a black box is important in describing technological systems. Students begin to understand black boxes as one way inputs are transformed into outputs. But, while describing technological systems as black boxes has many advantages. For example, the reduced need to understand all aspects of the system, or the ability to replace a faulty subsystem without disrupting the entire system. It also has disadvantages. For example, understanding of the entire system can be incomplete or troubleshooting can be difficult.

Found in: technological systems levels 2–3 and 6

Technological areas: all

Block-based programming

Block-based programming is an interface for program building that allows users to drag and drop blocks representing programming commands. This alternative to text-based programming is a way of teaching students how to program using blocks of instructions with a focus on the logic of programming rather than details of syntax.

Found in: all levels

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes

Brief

A description of a desired outcome that would meet a need or realise an opportunity.

A brief has two parts:

  • A conceptual statement that guides thinking at the early stages of designing. This initial brief includes the what, where, who, when, and why questions in response to the need or opportunity. Students develop a set of potential attributes and specifications, in collaboration with end-users and stakeholders.
  • A developed brief results from the dynamic process (technological practice) of developing, testing, and trialling ideas. This is done by undertaking ongoing research, functional modelling, resource exploration, and consultation with stakeholders and end-users. This final brief guides outcome development and is crucial to a student's design process. It serves as an evaluation tool against which the final outcome, and the practice undertaken to develop it, is evaluated.

Brief development is one of the eight components in the technology learning area. It is part of the technological practice strand. See: Brief development.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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C

Characteristics of technological outcomes

One of two components of essential learning in the nature of technology strand.

Students understand the characteristics of technological outcomes – why they are the way they are. They understand the relationship between people/societies, the environment, and technology. They can see how historical and cultural events influence the development of technology.

Students have opportunities to examine the fitness for purpose of technological outcomes – their proper and alternative purposes. They can make informed predictions about future technological directions at a societal, historical, cultural, and personal level.

Read and watch more information and key ideas on: Characteristics of technological outcomes.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Characteristics of technology

One of two components of essential learning in the nature of technology strand.

Students understand why technological outcomes are designed to enhance the capabilities of people and expand human possibilities. They learn how and why technology changes the made world in ways that have positive and/or negative impacts on the social and natural world.

Students have opportunities for informed debate about contentious issues. This increases their understanding of the complex moral and ethical aspects that surround technology and technological developments.

Read and watch more information and key ideas on: Characteristics of technology.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Commenting code

In programming commenting code involves adding comments to explain how the code in a program works or what it does.

Found in: senior secondary

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Commenting out

In programming commenting out involves disabling a block of source code by changing it into a comment. This technique is used for debugging or for testing the functionality of alternative versions of code.

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Communicative model (visually)

A communicative model is a physical or virtual (digital) representation of a technological outcome. The purpose is to communicate the physical and/or functional attributes of a design concept. Communicative models do not test the design concept as fit for purpose.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Competing priorities

Competing priorities are potentially conflicting outcomes within technological practice. They require identification and a judgment on relative value in order to decide on an appropriate course of action.
Competing priorities might include:

  • conflicting stakeholder viewpoints
  • practical practices versus ethically acceptable practices 
  • the use of renewable versus non-renewable resources 
  • budget constraints versus the use of ideal materials 
  • the use of resources of cultural significance in traditional versus contemporary contexts.

Found in: level 7

Technological areas: all

Complex

In senior technology programmes, the term "complex" is used to identify curriculum level 8 (NCEA Level 3) specialist knowledge and skills. Further explanation can be found in the explanatory notes of the subject specific standards. The progression is from "basic" (curriculum level 6) to "advanced" (curriculum level 7) through to "complex" (curriculum level 8).

Found in: level 8

Technological areas: all for curriculum level 8

Complex systems

Complex systems combine more than one system and/or include one or more subsystems.

Using a black box approach offers an opportunity for complex systems to be explored and understood in a holistic, rather than a detailed, sense. This allows system maintenance through replacement of isolated parts to be done, with little or no disruption to the rest of the system.

Technological systems is one of the eight components in the technology learning area. It is part of the technological strand.

Read and watch a full explanation of the key ideas in technological systems.

Found in: upper primary onwards

Technological areas: all

Component

The three strands in the technology learning area are made up of components. There are eight components.

The components group together the learning outcomes and the achievement objectives to support the design and development of local curriculum.

  • Technological practice – the know how strand has three components: brief development, planning for practice, and outcome development and evaluation.
  • Technological knowledge – the know what strand has three components: technological modelling, technological products, and technological systems.
  • Nature of technology – the know why strand has two components: characteristics of technology and characteristics of technological outcomes.

See the section: Technology in the NZC.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Compression coding

In programming, compression coding involves coding information using fewer bits than the original to reduce the amount of memory required to store files.

  • Lossy compression compresses a file by removing some of the original data.
  • Lossless compression compresses a file without removing any data by storing a map of repeating patterns of data.
  • ZIP is an archive file format that supports lossless data compression. A ZIP file may contain several files or directories, each of which may have been compressed using a particular algorithm.

Found in: levels 6–7

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes

Computer model

A computer-generated virtual realisation of an outcome, process, or system used for conceptual design and modelling to represent, communicate, and assess physical and functional attributes.

Technological areas: all

Computer numerical controlled

Computer numerical controlled (CNC) refers to the automation of machine tools that are operated by a computer. 

Computer aided design (CAD) drawings are output to programs that can generate a computer file that creates the commands needed to operate a particular machine. These commands are then loaded into the CNC machines for production. Any particular component might require the use of a number of different tools, such as drills or saws so machines often combine multiple tools into a single cell.

Alternatively different machines are used with an external controller and human or robotic operators that move the component from machine to machine. The complex series of steps needed to produce any part is highly automated and produces a part that closely matches the original CAD design.

Technological areas: all

Conceptual design

A conceptual design is a description of a proposed technological outcome. It can be done using media such as scaled plans or drawings, scale models, computer simulations, written descriptions, or lists of components and assembly instructions.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Conceptual statement

The conceptual statement in a developed brief communicates the purpose of the technological practice to be undertaken. For example, what is to be done, who it is for, where it is to be used, when it is to be done by, and why.

See also: Brief development.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Confidentiality agreement

Confidentiality agreements are used to prevent others stealing ideas while the inventor consider how to develop them. They allow someone to discuss their ideas with others, for example manufacturers. Discussions will not count against them should they eventually decide to apply for a patent. Confidentiality agreements can be enforced in court.

Technological areas: all

Connection technologies

Technologies used in network connections. They may be wired, optical, or wireless technologies.

Technological areas: all

Constraint

Constraints are the external limitations or restrictions on technological practice. They include available resources, budget, classroom equipment, time, and codes of practice.

Found in: level 5

Technological areas: all

Construction and mechanical technologies

Construction and mechanical technologies is a specialist domain in NCEA senior secondary qualifications. This domain is supported in years 1 to 10 by the technological area, designing and developing materials outcomes. See the PDF of the revised technology learning area.

This domain focuses on the knowledge and skills associated with working with resistant materials and textiles materials to create technological outcomes.

It involves understanding and applying that understanding in materials and their properties, structures and machines, and modifying and creating patterns. Students develop basic, advanced, and complex understandings and skills related to constructing a quality, fit for purpose outcome.

The components of construction and mechanical technologies are:

  • Construct a resistant materials product
  • Construct a textiles product
  • Knowledge of resistant materials
  • Construction knowledge of textiles construction
  • Knowledge of structures knowledge of machines
  • Pattern making

For learning objectives and teacher guidance, see: Construction and mechanical technologies.

Found in: levels 6-8

Context

Context in the technology learning area applies in two ways. It refers to the overall focus of a technological development (who will use it, what it could be, and where it will be used) or it describes where the learning experience takes place.

To ensure that the contexts chosen provide for a range of diverse learning opportunities, programmes should include contexts in both senses.

For example, the context is outdoor seating within a home and family environment, with a focus on sustainability and transformation of materials.

These contexts should cover a range of transformations associated with technology. That is, the transformation of energy, information, and/or materials.

See also the glossary definition for: Authentic context.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Control mechanism

Control mechanisms within a technological system are designed to enhance the efficiency of the system by maximising the desired outputs and minimising the undesirable outputs. The system is designed to be self regulatory.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Control structure

A control structure is a block of programming that analyses variables in order to select a direction in which to go, based on given parameter or conditions. In an iterative control structure, a set of instructions are repeated a specified number of times or until a condition is met.

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Copyright

Copyright is the exclusive legal right to reproduce and control an original literary, musical, or artistic work.

Copyright protects original written works, computer programs, music, art and designs, photographs, videos, movies, and broadcasts. It protects them whatever format they are available in – including online.

Copyright comes into effect immediately – no need for registration.

The copyright owner can legally prevent others copying their work, issuing copies to the public, for example, by selling, making an adaptation of the work, such as writing a film script from a book, performing, playing, showing, or broadcasting the work in public.

Protection lasts for a certain term of years, depending on the kind of work and the country. In New Zealand, a written work is copyright for the lifetime of the author and another 50 years.

Once the term of copyright has expired, the work falls into the public domain for anyone to use.

Technological areas: all

Critical evaluation

Critical evaluation is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue or an opportunity in order to form a judgement.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Critical review points

Critical review points are important periods of evaluation identified by students in planning for projects. These points provide an opportunity to make modifications to the brief and adjustments to the remaining critical review points themselves.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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D

Deconstruct

In the technology learning area deconstruct means to interpret a text (or artwork) by discovering, recognising, and understanding the underlying (unspoken and implicit) assumptions, ideas, and frameworks.

Deconstruct is also to methodically and systematically remove component parts of an outcome to understand how the outcome is constructed.

Found in: level 7

Technological areas: all

Derive

NCEA standards use "derive" to mean to extract or draw from an acknowledged source.

Found in: levels 6–7

Technological areas: all

Describe

Describe is one of the technology learning area's specialist literacies. When students describe, they give details from their viewpoint. This is an essential aspect of students developing perspectives.

NCEA standards use "describe" to mean to detail and/or characterise; to give an account by giving details of the characteristics.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Design elements

Design elements come from the key design principles of aesthetics and function. For example, shape, form, finish, environment, point, line, plane, or pattern

  • Design elements related to physical nature include: movement, pattern, rhythm, proportion, balance, harmony, contrast, style, texture, and colour.
  • Design elements related to functional nature include: strength and durability, safety, stability, efficiency, reliability, user-friendliness, ergonomic fit, texture, viscosity, consistency, structure, nutritional value, and taste.

Found in: level 7

Technological areas: all

Design ideas

Design ideas are inspired by research, past practices, and life experiences that have the potential to contribute to a design (conceptual or otherwise) that meets the specification of the brief. 

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Design judgements

Design judgements are decisions made, or opinions expressed, that reflect a designer’s perspectives, values, tastes, or views. These may be supported by qualitative and/or quantitative data through research.

Found in: levels 6–7

Technological areas: all

Digital technologies

Digital technologies is a specialist domain in NCEA senior secondary qualifications. This domain is supported in years 1 to 10 by the technological areas, computational thinking for digital technologies (CTDT) and designing and developing digital outcomes (DDDO) and their progress outcomes. See the PDF of the revised technology learning area.

At curriculum levels 6 and above, the progress outcomes set out the learning expected of students engaged in more intensive and specialised digital technologies programmes for NCEA 1, 2, and 3. For this reason, they are directly aligned with levels 6–8 of The New Zealand Curriculum.

See Computational thinking: Progress outcomes and exemplars and Designing and developing digital outcomes: Progress outcomes and exemplars.

Found in: levels 1-8

Discipline

In technology a discipline is a specialised field of learning, for example, food technology, nanotechnology, computer science, or medicine.

Found in: levels 4–6

Technological areas: all

Discuss

Discuss means consider, compare, and contrast different evidence and opinions with others.

Found in: upper primary onwards

Technological areas: all

Drawing conventions

Drawing conventions are the range of accepted practices (line types, projection methods, dimensions, and scale) associated with formal working drawings. Drawing conventions need to be appropriate to the drawing type and correctly applied. Drawing skills also draw on relevant standards and codes of practice.

Found in: levels 6–8

Technological areas: all

Dynamic IP address

A dynamic internet protocol (IP) address is assigned by a network to a device when it connects to the network. It changes over time. A static IP address does not change like this. Dynamic IP addressing is more efficient for configuring multiple network devices, as each device does not have to be manually assigned its network address.

Found in: levels 7–8

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

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E

End-user

End-user refers to the intended user of a technological outcome. As students undertake their technological practice, they take into account immediate social and end-user considerations so that they can be sure they are designing ethically and creating socially acceptable outcomes.

Also see the glossary definition for: Stakeholder.

Found in: all levels

Technological areas: all and particularly referenced in computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes

Ensure

Ensure is used when the teacher plays a monitoring role, to check that conditions critical for learning are present.

For example, in planning for practice and outcome development and evaluation, the teacher must ensure that an appropriate brief is available to guide student work.

"Provide", "Guide", "Support", and "Ensure" are important concepts for teachers in their support of student learning as they progress from levels 1–8 of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Found in: levels 3–8

Technological areas: all

Environment

In technology, the environment is the surroundings of, and influences on, a particular item of interest.

  • Electronic environments can be defined as functional combinations of hardware and embedded software in the real world – that is, circuits, prototypes, or products.
  • The physical environment in technology is usually the location of the specific practice or the place where a final outcome will be located.
  • A socio-cultural environment in technology is the combination of the social and cultural (including historical) context a technological outcome is developed or used in. 
  • The social environment in technology is the context of a group or groups of people and their interaction with a technological outcome and/or its development. It is a subset of a socio-cultural environment. 
  • Socio-technological environment is the context(s) created by the interaction of technological outcomes and non-technological entities and systems. Socio-technological environments include such things as communication networks and hospital transport systems. Exploration of these environments shows how technological outcomes (products and systems) and non-technological entities and systems (people, natural environments, and political systems) interact together.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Explain

Explain is to justify, to state why. Being able to explain is an important aspect of technological literacy and is essential for students to develop specialist perspectives.

In NCEA standards, to "explain" requires students to describe in detail the what and the why, in order to clarify information.

Found in levels: 2–8

Technological areas: all

Explore

"Explore" requires students to undertake research and analyse the results.

Found in: levels 1–7

Technological areas: all

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F

Feasible

An idea is feasible if it is capable of being accomplished or brought about. 

Found in: levels 2–8

Technological areas: all

Feedback

Stakeholder feedback is information received from a person or group with a legitimate interest in a given project. It can be at any point within the development process.

Found in: upper primary onwards

Technological areas: all

Feedback loop

A feedback loop is a mechanism, process, or signal that works within prescribed parameters to control a system.

See also the glossary definition for: Control mechanism.

Found in: levels 6–8

Technological areas: all

Field of technology

Fields of technology are the specialist areas in which design happens such as medical, sporting, communication, textiles, furniture, transport, food, or military.

Technological areas: all

Fit for purpose

Fit for purpose is the ability of a technological outcome to do the job, where the job to be done is clearly defined by the brief.

The technological outcome serves its intended purpose within its intended context.

Fitness for purpose in its broadest sense extends the context to the practices involved in the development of the outcome, including such things as the sustainability of resources used, treatment of the people involved in manufacture, ethical nature of testing practices, cultural appropriateness of trialling procedures, determination of life cycle, and ultimate disposal.

Found in: upper primary onwards

Technological areas: all

Flow diagram

A flow diagram may refer to a:

  • Control flow diagram – a diagram to describe the control flow of a business process or program.
  • Data flow diagram – a graphical representation of the flow of data through an information system.
  • Process flow diagram (in operations) – a graphical representation of the operations involved in process.

Technological areas: all

Food technology

Food technology is part of processing technologies and manufacturing in NCEA senior secondary qualifications. This domain is supported in years 1 to 10 by the technological area, designing and developing processed outcomes (DDPO). See the PDF of the revised technology learning area.

In processing technologies students develop understanding and skill in the combining of ingredients to formulate a new product.

In manufacturing students develop knowledge and practice in manufacturing quality outcomes.

For learning objectives and teacher guidance, see: processing technologies and manufacturing.

Found in: levels 6-8

Function

An item's function is the way that it works or the purpose for which it exists.

  • Proper function: the intended behaviour and/or use of a technological outcome. When a product or system does not behave as intended, it is said to malfunction.
  • Alternative function: uses for a technological outcome, product, or system that were not intended by the developers.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Also

A named section of a computer program that performs a specific task. Functions help make code more efficient and reusable. They may take input parameters and produce output.

Found in: levels 6–8

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes

Functional attribute

An attribute that is functional.

For example, a cup handle has a physical attribute of looking rounded. The cup handle being curved is also a functional attribute as being curved makes it comfortable to hold, reducing the chance of liquid being spilled out.

See also the glossary definition for: Attribute.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Functional characteristics

Functional characteristics are the active properties of an outcome – what it does.

Technological areas: all

Functional modelling

Functional modelling is creating a representation of a technological solution that enables the ongoing evaluation of design concepts for a yet-to-be-realised technological outcome. It is a key activity within the technological modelling component. It can involve one or more mockups, models, or prototypes.

Functional models are usually made in substitute materials like card or paper. 

For more information and key ideas see: Technological modelling.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Functional qualities

Functional qualities are specific and measurable positive qualities of a technological outcome.

For example, the functional qualities of a china cup are that it remains cool to the touch when using it to contain and drink hot liquid, due to the material it is made from and the design to fit the hand (ergonomics).

Technological areas: all

Functional reasoning

Functional reasoning provides a basis for exploring the technical feasibility of a design concept and the realised outcome. It is the reasoning behind how to make it happen in the functional modelling phase. It is the reasoning behind how it is happening in prototyping.

For comparison see the glossary definition for: Practical reasoning.

Found in: levels 5–6

Technological areas: all

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G

Gantt chart

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that shows when tasks need to be undertaken within a project, and, perhaps, the resources required for them. It is named after the American engineer Henry Lawrence Gantt.

Found in: senior secondary, levels 6–8

Technological areas: all

Graphic organiser

A graphic organiser is a graphic template on which data is entered and is used to compare and contrast the identified data.

Found in: level 6

Technological areas: all

Graphical user interface

A graphical user interface (GUI) is an interface that supports users to work with electronic devices via icons and visual indicators rather than through text commands. The icons and visual indicators are generally manipulated by a mouse or via touch screen technology.

Found in: level 8

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes

Graphics practice

Graphics practice involves expressing a visual literacy through the development of a design idea by applying design and visual communication techniques and knowledge.

Found in: senior secondary

Technological areas: all

Guide

Guide is used when students have some level of understanding and competency and the teacher takes responsibility for developing understandings further.

"Provide", "Guide", "Support", and "Ensure" are important concepts for teachers in their support of student learning as they progress from levels 1–8 of The New Zealand Curriculum.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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H

HACCP

The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan identifies ways in which potential food safety hazards could be introduced. It specifies preventive measures to ensure that they are not. The comprehensive plan reviews potential risks associated with the ingredients, packaging, equipment, and staff, as well as all the stages of the production process. It covers everything that influences the work environment, equipment, processes, and people involved.

Found in: level 7

Technological areas: Designing and developing processed outcomes

Hedonic scale

The hedonic scale is used in sensory testing where the tester evaluates a food product and marks it on a range from "like extremely" to "dislike extremely".

Found in: level 7

Technological areas: Designing and developing processed outcomes

Heuristic

Heuristic is a technique for solving a problem more quickly when classic methods are too slow. It is also for finding an approximate solution when classic methods cannot provide an exact solution.

Found in: levels 5–6

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Human factors in design

Human factors include ergonomic and aesthetic factors that influence the design of products, systems, and environments. These factors may include the use of anthropometric, psychological, and sensory data gathering and analysis techniques.

An understanding of spatial relationships between people, objects, and their environments is important when considering human factors in design.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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I

Identify

Identify is to indicate, spot, or recognise. It is an important aspect of technological literacy and is the first step students take as they develop a specialist perspective.

To be technologically literate is to be able to:

  • identify – say what
  • describe – give details
  • explain – say why
  • justify – give reasons and evidence for a statement or judgement in an age appropriate way.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

In situ

In the original position or place.

In technology (and engineering), in situ can often mean in the field, on site, or where the outcome is going to be positioned and used.

Found in: levels 2–8

Technological areas: all

Indicators of progression

The indicators of progression break down the achievement objectives into teacher guidance – how teachers can support students to achieve at that level.

They also develop each achievement objective into specific learning outcomes that can be selected from when designing curriculum.

Indicators of progression were developed in the technology learning area to help teachers design their local curriculum.

The indicators are indicative of the level expected by the achievement objective. The indicators can be used to plan learning experiences, aid in diagnostic assessment, and support formative interactions within the classroom to help scaffold student learning. They can also support summative assessment for reporting purposes. They do not provide a checklist and should be viewed holistically.

See the indicators of progression section.

Technological areas: all

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) is an original, creative product of the intellect that can be developed into something more tangible. For example, an idea or an innovation developed into an invention or a work of creative endeavour. As property it can be owned, rented, sold, or stolen.

See: Intellectual property in technology teaching. This section examines many aspects of intellectual property as it relates to the development of technological outcomes. It is important reading for students and teachers.

Technological areas: all

Intelligent system

Intelligent systems are designed to adapt to environmental inputs so that the nature of the system components and/or transformation processes change in known and unknown ways.

Technological areas: all

Intermediate outcomes

Intermediate outcomes occur as a result of technological practice. They include feasibility studies, conceptual designs, models, or prototypes. Intermediate outcomes are very important in technology and technology education. They are valuable for developing ideas, exploring, testing, and communicating aspects of technological outcomes before they are fully realised in situ.

Technological areas: all

Intervention by design

Intervention by design is the intent of the technology learning area.

When intervening, students use and develop perspectives in specialist areas. They apply knowledge and skills, with their developing beliefs and values (moral, ethical, cultural, and social). They do this as they design and create technological outcomes in authentic contexts, that address needs or opportunities whilst taking account of end-users.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Issue

An issue in technology refers to a specific aspect within a particular context that will enable students to identify a need or opportunity.

Found in: upper primary onwards

Technological areas: all

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J

Justify

In technology, justify is to show by reasons, argument, and evidence, why something is correct.

To be technologically literate is to be able to:

  • identify – say what
  • describe – give details
  • explain – say why
  • justify – give reasons and evidence for a statement or judgement. Students should be using justify terms in their technology learning from NZC level 4.

In NCEA, "justify" means to provide an explanation with acceptable reasons or evidence.

Found in: upper primary onwards

Technological areas: all

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K

Key stages

Key stages are the important steps required to develop a technological outcome. These key stages can occur sequentially or in parallel and are often documented in a flow chart. They may be reviewed and changed as the project proceeds.

Key stages are an integral part of technological practice. Critical review points can be added as another check, particularly in senior secondary.

See glossary definition for: Critical review points.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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L

Legal responsibilities

Legal responsibilities are requirements established by law. The necessity for legal compliance can influence the nature of the practice and the development of a brief. Legal responsibilities are set out in:

  • Acts, for example, Fair Trading Act 1986, Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, Privacy Act 2020, Employment Relations Act 2000, Resource Management Act 1991, and Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
  • Standards, for example, ISO standards – 9000, 14000 series,  and Standards New Zealand Paerewa Aotearoa standards

Found in: levels 5–7

Technological areas: all

Local curriculum

Your local curriculum is the way that you bring The New Zealand Curriculum to life at your school.

It should:

  • be responsive to the needs, identity, language, culture, interests, strengths, and aspirations of your learners and their families
  • have a clear focus on what supports the progress of all learners
  • integrate Te Tiriti o Waitangi into classroom learning
  • help learners engage with the knowledge, values, and competencies so they can go on and be confident and connected lifelong learners.

For more information see the guide: Leading local curriculum design in the revised technology learning area: Equipping your students for tomorrow's world.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Loop

A loop is a sequence of instructions in a program repeated until a certain condition is reached.

  • For loop, the instructions are repeated a certain number of times.
  • While loop, the instructions are repeated until a given condition becomes false.
  • Forever loop (also known as an infinite or endless loop), the instructions are repeated endlessly.

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

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M

Malfunction

A technological outcome that does not carry out its proper function successfully is described as a malfunction or is said to malfunction. The concept of malfunction and failure appears in characteristics of technology and technological outcomes from level 5.

Found in: levels 5–7

Technological areas: all

Manipulating materials

Manipulating materials involves working with existing materials in ways that do not change their properties as their composition and structure is not altered.

Found in: level 4

Technological areas: designing and developing materials outcomes, designing and developing processed outcomes, design and visual communication, and designing and developing digital outcomes.

Manufacturing processes

Manufacturing processes are the processes used to manufacture something. Examples include: milk powder manufacture, beer brewing, meat packing and freezing, carpet manufacture, urea from natural gas, newsprint, oil refining, injection-moulded plastics, electronics, fish filleting and freezing, rotationally moulded plastics, superphosphate, agricultural machinery, possum and merino yarn, marine/leisure products, niche furniture, and garment manufacture.

Found in: levels 3–8

Technological areas: designing and developing materials outcomes, designing and developing processed outcomes, design and visual communication, and designing and developing digital outcomes.

Material evaluation

Material evaluation is about assessing materials. It can include a material’s composition and structure, how a material’s properties can be changed, the material’s expected performance specifications, and the social, cultural, and environmental factors associated with where the product is to be situated.

For an example in the classroom, watch the video: Pushing the boundaries with materials.

This term is used in all technological areas.

Mental model

A mental model is an explanation in someone's thought process for how something works in the real world. Mental models have been studied by cognitive scientists as part of efforts to understand how humans know, perceive, make decisions, and construct behaviour in a variety of environments.

This term is used in all technological areas.

Mind map

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items. These are linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea.

This term can be used in all technological areas.

Mitigate risk

To mitigate risks involves taking steps to reduce the incidence and/or the effects of failure.

Found in: senior secondary

Technological areas: all

Mockup

A mockup is a physical representation of an idea (part of an intended solution) that is used to test or predict its feasibility.

Found in: level 1

Technological areas: all

Model

A model is a physical representation of a technological solution (sometimes scaled) that enables a solution's feasibility to be tested or predicted.

For key ideas and more information see: Technological modelling.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Modes of production

Mode of production refers to production processes that include batch, continuous, and semi-continuous.

This term is found in all technological areas.

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N

Nature of technology

Nature of technology is one of the three essential technology learning area strands. 

It has two components; characteristics of technology and characteristics of technological outcomes.

In the nature of technology strand, the emphasis is on knowing why. Students come to understand why technology is an intervening force in the world and learn that technologies are inevitably influenced by (and influence) history, society, and culture.

Find key ideas and further information in the section: Nature of technology.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Need

In technology a need is an identified requirement of a person, group, or environment. A need is identified from an issue and sits within a context. Technological practice can be undertaken in an attempt to meet an identified need.

Needs differ from opportunities. An opportunity in technology is an identified possibility for a person, group, or environment. For example, an opportunity where an existing technology can be used to solve a problem. An opportunity is also identified from an issue and sits within a context. Technological practice can be undertaken in an attempt to realise an identified opportunity.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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O

Operational parameters

Operational parameters are the boundaries and/or conditions a system is designed to function within.

Found in: levels 5–8

Technological areas: all

Opportunity

An opportunity in technology is an identified possibility for a person, group, or environment. For example, an opportunity where an existing technology can be used to solve a problem. An opportunity is identified from an issue, and sits within a context. Technological practice can be undertaken in an attempt to realise an identified opportunity.

Opportunities differ from needs. A need in technology is an identified requirement of a person, group, or environment. A need is identified from an issue and sits within a context. Technological practice can be undertaken in an attempt to meet an identified need.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Optimise

To optimise something means to make it as effective and functional as possible.

Found in: level 7

Technological areas: all

Outcome

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas. See the glossary definition for: Technological outcome.

Outcome development and evaluation

Outcome development and evaluation is one of the three components of essential learning in the technological practice strand.

This component focuses on practices that take development through to production and final testing. These practices involve generating and testing ideas, refining concepts, and selecting, producing, and evaluating outcomes.

Read and watch more information and key ideas on: Outcome development and evaluation.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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P

Parity bit

A bit added to a string of binary code to detect errors. A parity bit (also known as a check bit) gives data either an odd or even parity, which is used to validate the integrity of the data.

Found in: senior secondary

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Patent

A patent is rights granted to protect an invention. Owning a patent means having the legal right to prevent others in New Zealand commercialising an invention – although this could necessitate taking them to court, which could be costly. It does not have to be proved the invented product was copied, only that the same process of making it has been used commercially without your permission.

The main kinds of inventions that can be patented are:

  • useful products that are new or improved
  • new or improved processes that can be used in industry
  • new computer technologies.

A fee is paid to the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) when applying for a patent, and it will only be granted if an invention is:

  • Novel, i.e. not previously known in New Zealand (see also the glossary term: Confidentiality agreement). IPONZ has special arrangements for permitting the public display of inventions at events such as science fairs, prior to applying for a patent. Certain procedures must be followed (check the IPONZ website well before your event) and the patent must be applied for within a specified time after the display.
  • Not obvious – it must show an inventive step.

The patent will be granted for four years. It can be renewed regularly up to a maximum term of 20 years, after which the patent expires.

This term is used in all technological areas.

Performance properties

All materials have inherent qualities that combine to provide the material with performance properties.

The properties of a material determines how it is used and behaves in certain environments and under certain processes. For example, butter melts in moderate temperatures but timber doesn’t. You can easily cut through butter with a blunt knife and you need a saw and more effort to cut timber. You can therefore make a chair out of timber but you couldn’t make a chair out of butter.

Performance properties include: warmth, strength, taste, flexibility, crease resistance, malleability, drape, form, durability, absorbency, colour, texture, appearance, sheen, and style.

Performance properties can be altered through working the materials so that it can improve the function of a technological product. For example, materials can be shaped, joined, combined, heated, or finished.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Ping

A ping is a network software utility used to test if a computer is operating and its network connections are intact.

Found in: level 8

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Plan of action

A plan of action is a planning tool that outlines intended actions to accomplish a specific goal. It sets out how resources such as time, expertise, materials, and finance will be used in a coherent and systematic manner during the development of a technological solution. It establishes key milestone outcomes and states how each of the resources is to be used to achieve the outcome at each milestone stage.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Planning for practice

Planning for practice is one of the three components of essential learning in the technological practice strand. This component supports students to do both the up-front and on-going thinking as they design and develop outcomes.

Effective planning enables technologists to systematically account for all the factors that influence the successful fulfillment of a brief. It also supports reflection and decision making.

Watch and read more information and key ideas on: Planning for practice.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Planning tools

Planning tools help guide action steps to an outcome. For example, brainstorms, mind-maps, idea banks, reflective journals and scrapbooks, plans of action, Gantt charts, flow diagrams, graphical organisers, spreadsheets, and databases.

Found in: upper primary onwards

Technological areas: all

Practical reasoning

Practical reasoning focuses on knowing what is justifiable when deciding if something can be done and if it should be done. This is done by applying social and cultural morals and ethics in a practical context.

For comparison see the glossary definition for: Functional reasoning.

Found in: levels 5–8

Technological areas: all

Problem decomposition

Problem decomposition is breaking down an issue or problem into smaller ones, often so it can be solved more easily.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Prototype

Prototyping is the modelling of a realised but yet-to-be-implemented technological outcome. The purpose of prototyping is to evaluate the fitness for purpose of a technological outcome against the brief. It is to establish (or not) a defendable case for implementation, refinement, or further development of a technological outcome.

For more information see the section on: Technological modelling.

Found in: levels 1–6

Technological areas: all

Provide

Provide is used when the teacher takes full responsibility for introducing and explicitly teaching new knowledge, skills or practices.

"Provide", "Guide", "Support", and "Ensure" are important concepts for teachers in their support of student learning as they progress from levels 1–8 of TheNew Zealand Curriculum.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Pseudocode

In programming, pseudocode is a detailed but readable description of what a computer program or algorithm must do. It uses the structural conventions of a normal programming language, but is intended to be read by humans rather than machines.

Found in: senior secondary

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

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Q

Query

A query is a search in a database to retrieve data that matches certain parameters.

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

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R

Rapid prototyping

Rapid prototyping can be both a physical process and a method within a design process.

Physical rapid prototyping is using range of techniques to quickly fabricate a physical model from a computer-aided design (CAD) digital file.

Rapid prototyping can also be part of an individual or groups design processes, that is iterative and sometimes lightening fast. The process includes research and investigation, conceptualisation, prototyping, and testing. It helps designers and technologists quickly discover, test, and validate their best ideas.

Found in: level 8

Technological areas: all

Redundancy

In technological systems, redundancy means providing more time, information, and/or resources than is strictly necessary for a system's successful functioning.  It is allowing a bit extra and/or the duplication of component parts of a system and/or a subsystem as a backup or fail safe provision to increase reliability.

See also the section: Technological systems: Key ideas.

Found in: level 7

Technological areas: all

Reflective journal

A reflective journal is a record of progress, which may be used as a planning tool or for self or external assessment.

Journals, blogs, and folios are good examples of assessment for learning because they are progressive in nature, inquiry based, ongoing, from a personal perspective, and iterative.

This term is used in all technological areas.

Registered designs

The external appearance of some products can be protected by applying to register a design right at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ).

A design right protects a new or original shape, pattern, or decorative finish that has been applied to the product by an industrial process. The registered design will be granted for five years. It can be renewed regularly up to a maximum term of 15 years, after which the registration expires. This kind of protection is similar to a patent. It does not have to be proved the design was copied, only that the same design has been used commercially without permission. Although most registered designs will also be copyright, which is free and arises automatically, registered design protection is stronger.

Many New Zealand manufacturers rely upon the protection for industrial designs which is available under the Copyright Act and do not apply for registered design protection. However overseas copyright laws do not generally protect industrial designs – if you plan to export your articles you should apply for registered design protection in each country.

This term is used in all technological areas.

Reliability

In technological systems, reliability is a system’s ability to perform consistently and maintain its expected functions when operated within a specified manner.

See also: Technological systems: Key ideas.

This term is used in all technological areas.

Remote data packet exchange

Remote data packet exchange is the process of a device sending or receiving data packets to or from a location outside the home network. This can involve using a protocol such as TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and resolving the DNS (Domain Name System).

Found in: levels 7–8

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Resistant materials

Resistant materials are broadly categorised as materials that are resistant to change. Examples include wood, metal, ceramics, plastics, glass, and their composites.

This term is used in all technological areas.

Technological areas (contexts students learn in) were introduced with the revision in 2017. Previously resistant materials and textiles were grouped for senior secondary under the title, construction and mechanical technologies (CMT). They are now located together in the revision within the technological area designing and developing materials outcomes (DDMO).

Resources

Resources are things like raw materials, time, personnel, and information used to help achieve a goal or an objective.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Risk

In technology risk is the chance of an event, action, or lack of action that will have a negative impact upon objectives. Identified risk is measured in terms of consequences and likelihood.

Found in: levels 3, 6–7

Technological areas: all

Rongoā Māori

Rongoā (medicine, drug, remedy) Māori refers to traditional Māori medicines produced from New Zealand native plants.

This term can be used in all technological areas.

Rubric

A rubric is an assessment tool that conveys a list of criteria important to the assessment task. It includes levels of quality for each criterion.

For a rubric to be most effective it should:

  • use specific language – avoiding terms like sometimes or rarely
  • contain requirements that are both measurable and observable
  • be written in positive language that all students can understand
  • be realistic, providing a valid entry point for all students.

This term can be used in all technological areas.

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S

Safety plan

A safety plan identifies hazards and strategies to deal with them, developed within technological practice. This plan may refer to physical, cultural, and ethical issues and their fitness for purpose.

This term is used in all technological areas.

Scheduling

Scheduling is the planning of actions and events to a timescale. This could be done as a list, flow diagram, or other graphic organiser. Scheduling includes such things as planning construction orders or a production sequence.

This term is used in all technological areas.

School curriculum

See the glossary definition for: Local curriculum.

Source code

Source code is the code of a computer program written so it’s readable by a person and using the particular syntax of a programming language. For example, C, Python, or Java. Source code is compiled or interpreted into machine code able to be run by a computer.

Found in: level 8

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

Spatial design

Spatial design is a design discipline that combines traditional design specialisms such as architecture, landscape architecture, landscape design, interior design, and service design. It focuses on the space between interior and exterior environments, both private and public.

The emphasis of this discipline is on understanding the relationship between people and space, particularly looking at the notion of place.

Found in: senior secondary

Technological areas: all

Special features

Special features of textiles rely on the application of advanced skills for AS91345. These include:

  • style features – set in sleeve, fly front, tailored collars and cuffs, and welt pockets
  • decorative features – pin tucking, embroidery, and shirring
  • structural features – 3D felting and combining different fibres and materials in felting, such as in nuno felting.

Special features of resistant materials rely on the application of advanced craft skills to achieve the specified product for the achievement standard AS91344, and one or more special features from each of the following categories:

  • structural – such as mortise and tenon joint, lapped dovetailed drawer, annealed component, mig-welded panels, sandcasted component, and milling an advanced component
  • aesthetic – such as parquetry, inlaid design, turned table legs, taper turned component, and dressed edges.

Found in: level 7

Technological areas: Designing and developing materials outcomes

Specification

Specifications define the requirements of the physical and functional nature of an outcome in a way that is measurable.

Specifications are used in a brief to define the nature of the appearance and performance requirements against which an outcome can be evaluated as fit for purpose by key and wider stakeholders. The specifications may also include constraints on both the outcome and the practice that can be undertaken to develop it.

Attributes differ from specifications in that specifications define the physical and functional nature of the technological outcome in a measurable way. For example, an attribute may refer to the outcome being small enough to be comfortably held, whereas the specification would give the precise measurement in terms of length, width and depth.

Found in: levels 5–8 (attributes from level 1–4)

Technological areas: all

Sprite

A sprite is a character or visual representation of an object in a computer game, simulation, or application.

Found in: level 6

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes

Stakeholder

Stakeholders are individuals or groups of people (whānau, families, communities, iwi, organisations, and businesses) with a vested interest in a technological outcome, and/or its development.

Key stakeholders are those people that are directly influential or will be directly impacted on by the technological practice itself and/or its resulting outcomes. This impact can include the technological outcome and any other by-products. A key stakeholder is the intended end-user of the outcome.

Wider (community) stakeholders are those people less directly influential on or impacted by the practice or outcome. They have some level of influence, often through others. They may be affected by the project or its outcome in the future.

See also the glossary definition: End-user.

Found in: upper primary onwards

Technological areas: all

Strand

The three strands are the starting point for all teaching and learning in the technology learning area. They are: technological practice, technological knowledge, and nature of technology. Although the three strands are described separately, in reality they are almost always integrated in effective learning programmes. None of the strands are optional, but sometimes particular strands may be emphasised at different times or in different years.

Your school should have a clear rationale for doing this and ensure that all three strands receive due emphasis over the longer term and that students’ progress and achievement is assessed in relation to the strands.

Found in: all

Technological areas: all

Subjective techniques

Subjective techniques are evaluation methods based on personal opinion and judgements. Examples are sensory tests and opinion or preference surveys.

This term is found in all technological areas.

Support

Support is used when the teacher plays a supportive role through questioning and challenging students to support their learning. The balance shifts towards the student taking more responsibility for their learning. The students draw from their past learning to consolidate and extend their understandings.

"Provide", "Guide", "Support", and "Ensure" are important concepts for teachers in their support of student learning as they progress from levels 1–8 of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Found in: all

Technological areas: all

Sustainability

Sustainability is using resources, creating products, and/or providing services to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs by the same or similar means.

Found in: levels 7–8

Technological areas: all

Switch statement

In programming, a switch statement is a control mechanism where the value of a variable or expression changes the execution of a program. It usually involves multiple branches.

Found in: level 6

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes 

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T

Technological knowledge

Technological knowledge is one of the three essential technology learning area strands. Technological knowledge is the specialist knowledge that students need in their kete in order to design and develop outcomes that are fit for purpose in the broadest sense.

See the section on: Technological knowledge.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Technological literacy

This term was in the aim of the technology learning area. The aim was updated in the revised technology learning area 2017 to "The aim is for students to develop broad technological knowledge, practices, and dispositions".

To develop these, one important skill students require in their kete, is to be able to effectively communicate in a technological way.

This disciplinary literacy steps ups through the curriculum levels. Students should be using identify and describe terms from level 1, explain terms from level 3, and justify terms from level 4.

To be technologically literate is to be able to:

Refer to each term definition individually for more detail.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Technological modelling

Technological modelling is one of the three components in the technology knowledge strand.

Technological modelling is the testing of design ideas to see if they can contribute to a technological outcome being fit for purpose.

There are two types of technological modelling:

  • functional modelling is the ongoing testing of design concepts
  • prototyping is the realisation of a fully functioning model.

Taken together, the two types of modelling provide evidence of factors that may impact on the development of a technological outcome and consequences that may result from it.

Technological modelling involves two kinds of reasoning:

  • functional reasoning – how to make it happen, and how it is happening
  • practical reasoning – should we make it happen and should it be happening?

Watch and read more information on: Technological modelling.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Technological outcome

A technological outcome is a fully realised product and/or system created by people for a particular purpose.

Once it has been placed in situ, no further design input is required for it to function.

Fully realised means the outcome has moved beyond concept, plan, or model and now exists and functions as designed in the made world. It is fit for purpose in every respect including aesthetic (looks).

This definition enables technological outcomes to be distinguished from natural objects such as trees and rocks and from other outcomes of human activity such as art works, language, knowledge, social structures, and organisational systems.

All technological outcomes have a dual nature: physical and functional. An outcome’s physical nature is what it is made of and looks like; its functional nature is what it can do. Understanding the relationship between the two is a good starting point for understanding a technological outcome as a whole, and it is crucial when developing a product or system for a specific purpose.

Technological outcomes can be categorised as products and systems but distinguishing between the two is not always straightforward. It depends on how you look at the outcome concerned.
For example, you could describe a cell phone as a technological system, comprising interconnected components that work together to achieve a purpose. But you could also describe the same phone as a technological product, focusing on the materials used in its manufacture and not on the many interconnected components inside it.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Technological practice

Technological practice is one of the three essential technology learning area strands.

Technological practice encompasses the step-by-step actions involved in creating a technological outcome from first thoughts, right through to a final outcome/solution.

Technological practice includes identifying needs or opportunities, exploring, defining, and developing potential outcomes, modelling, evaluating, and testing to ensure resulting outcomes are fit for purpose.

Watch and read more information on: Technological practice.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Technological products

Technological products is one of the three components in the technological knowledge strand.

This component focuses on understanding material properties, uses, and development to understand how and why products work the way they do.

See the section on: Technological products.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Technological solution

A technological solution is proposed to meet the requirements of a brief. It will be presented in a sufficiently detailed and clear manner that it is both fully realisable (can be made and used), and can be fully tested against the specifications in the brief.

This term is found in all technological areas.

Technological systems

A technological system is a set of interconnected parts designed to transform, store, transport, or control materials, energy, and/or information. Technological systems do this without further human design or action. For example, a toaster is a technological system.

Technological systems is also one of the three components in the technological knowledge strand.

Technological systems supports students to develop an understanding of the parts of systems and how these work together. Understanding how and why systems operate in the way they do.

See the section: Technological systems.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

Technology education

Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore tō tātou waka e ū ki uta. Don't paddle out of unison or our canoe will never reach the shore.

Technology is intervention by design. It uses intellectual and practical resources to create technological outcomes, which expand human possibilities by addressing needs and realising opportunities.

Design is characterised by innovation and adaptation and is at the heart of technological practice. It is informed by critical and creative thinking and specific design processes. Effective and ethical design respects the unique relationship that New Zealanders have with their physical environment and embraces the significance of Māori culture and world views in its practice and innovation.

Technology makes enterprising use of knowledge, skills, and practices for exploration and communication, some specific to areas within technology and some from other disciplines. These include digitally-aided design, programming, software development, various forms of technological modelling, and visual literacy – the ability to make sense of images and the ability to make images that make sense.

Text-based programming

Text-based programming is a traditional programming method in which letters, numbers, and symbols are typed to determine inputs and outputs. Text-based programming languages such as Python, C, and Java require programmers to follow a formal, text-based syntax.

Found in: levels 6–7

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes

Trade mark

A Trade mark is a brand or logo distinguishing the goods or services of one trader from another can be registered as a trade mark at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). A registered trade mark is entitled to display the ® symbol. A fee is paid to IPONZ when applying to register a trade mark. It can be filed in Māori or English.

The main requirements for registration are that the trade mark is:

  • described graphically, that is, in words or pictures
  • distinctive (unusual) and not something that is descriptive of the goods or services, because that would prevent other traders using that word
  • not misleading or deceptive
  • not offensive to any section of the New Zealand community.

All trade mark applications are assessed to determine if they contain a Māori sign, a derived Māori sign, or Māori imagery. A Māori Trade Marks Advisory Committee may provide expert advice on trade marks containing Māori text or imagery. For more information see: Māori Advisory Committees.

A trade mark is registered for one or more particular classes of goods or services in New Zealand. Other traders might register the same trade mark for different kinds of goods and/or services. However, trade marks that are considered world famous are not permitted to be registered in New Zealand by another trader for any class of goods. Nobody else can use the registered trade mark for trading purposes for goods or services of the same class. If they do, a legal action can be brought against them. A registered trade mark never expires so long as it is continuously used by its owner for commercial purposes and a renewal fee is paid to IPONZ every ten years.

This term can be used in all technological areas.

Trade secret

Once an idea is developed into a commercial product the inventor could choose to continue to keep the way it is made a trade secret.

Any employees who need to know the trade secret would have to sign a confidentiality agreement in their employment contracts. The trade secret lasts forever, provided nobody reveals the information. If they do, the only remedy is to sue them for damages – but the secret is out in the open! A person cannot prevent somebody independently working out how they have made the same product (i.e. reverse engineering the process).

This term can be used in all technological areas.

Transformation processes

Technology involves the transformation of information, energy, and materials.

Transformation processes occur within a system to ensure the inputs are changed into the outputs in a controlled and intended way, without need for additional human design input.

Transforming is changing the structure or particle alignment within an existing material in order to change some of its properties. In terms of its composition, it remains the same material. For example, felting, beating an egg white, heat treating metals to harden or anneal them, steaming timber to soften its fibres so that it can be bent.

This term is used at all levels across all technological areas.

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U

Usability

Usability is the ease with which people can employ a particular tool or other human-made object in order to achieve a particular goal. In human-computer interaction and computer science, usability usually refers to the elegance and clarity of the design for the user interface of a computer program or a web site. The concept of usability also includes learnability, retainability, and user satisfaction.

Technological areas: all

Usability testing

Usability testing is an effective way to verify an existing design or system. It is a structured observation of users in a laboratory setting. Users are observed performing important tasks with a working system or prototype. They are asked to think aloud while completing the tasks. This includes describing what they are trying to do, the hypotheses they are forming, and their expected results of an action. The evaluator observes the user's performance noting problems, comments, and complicated paths. Usability tests are useful for collecting quantitative data regarding time per task and number of errors. (Rubin, 1994)

The evaluator always explains to users that only the software is being tested, not the user themselves. Debriefing is usually included to gather additional information about the user's experience. A usability test is typically recorded so the evaluator may perform more detailed observations and analysis after the test.

Found in: levels 5–8

Technological areas: all

User-centered design

In user-centered design, products are designed with their intended users or end-users in mind at all times. In user-driven or participatory design, some of the users become actual or informal members of the design team.

Found in: levels 1–7

Technological areas: all

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V

Variables

In programming, variables are containers used to label and store data in memory. The data can then be used throughout a program.

  • Integer variables use only numbers and so can be used for calculations.
  • String variables are sequences of code that may contain numbers, letters, and other characters, and so cannot be used for calculations.

Technological areas: computational thinking for digital technologies

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