The first question the teachers asked was: What do we want for our students?
The group decided to create an informal list of technology competencies for their local curriculum. There was some very healthy debate by the group and the rest of the department. It was agreed that there were 12 key areas of knowledge and skills that students should have by the end of year 13, after five years of technology education at the school.
Twelve key technology competencies students should have:
- The opportunity to enjoy their experiences in technology
- Undertaken technological practice
- Developed effective communication skills
- Worked within a range of community contexts
- Acquired knowledge and skills
- Developed quality outcomes
- Managed time effectively
- Respected codes of practice
- Analysed and evaluated their own and others practice
- Developed critical/creative thinking skills
- Been able to work independently and as a member of a group
- Worked within a safe environment
The group drafted a mission statement for the department based on the school motto "Aim to excel" and their own personal philosophies of what was important for technology students. The mission statement was further developed with the agreement of all technology teachers, to become:
Havelock North High School technology mission statement:
To provide individual students with the opportunity to achieve to their highest abilities, effectively communicate knowledge and skills, and be adaptable to different contexts and environments through engagement in technology education.
The next step was to create a Years 9 to 13 draft strategic plan. Teachers used the Technology learning area document and technology achievement standards and the components of practice. A list of generic technology competencies to be advanced in each successive year was established:
- Nature of technology
- Technological knowledge
- Brief development
- Working with consideration of stakeholders
- Use modelling to test and communicate ideas
- Graphic communication skills
- Technological terms
- Domain knowledge
- Practical skills
- Problem solving
- Research and analysis techniques
Years 9 – 13 strategic plan
The technology competencies were scaffolded through years 9-13. They were used in planning over the entire years 9-13 programmes. This was done by first identifying the specific technology competencies that students had when entering year 9. Then the desired technology competencies that students should have by the time they left school at the end of Year 13 were identified. The desired outcomes for the end of each intermediate year were then identified as a stepwise progression towards the ultimate year 13 outcome.
The end result was a key major document to be referred to in all planning and teaching decision-making within the technology department: The Year 9 -13 generic and domain technology competencies document.