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Ministry of Education.
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Element 4 - Aspect 1 - Strategies

Teacher Education – Pre-service

Element 4

Aspect 1: Planning

Strategy 1

Teaching/Assessment Activity

This activity is about evaluating a unit plan for teaching/learning technology. While it is common for student teachers to be asked to plan lessons or programmes for teaching technology, they are not often asked to evaluate an existing plan. Finding resources for teaching technology, or indeed whole lesson/unit plans, is relatively easy and the main aim of this activity is to help students develop the ability to recognise the key features of sound planning for teaching technology.

In this activity, student teachers are given a draft unit plan (see example) and asked to identify its strengths and weaknesses providing justifications for their conclusions and suggestions for improvement where necessary. The provided plan is designed to include "good", "bad" and missing elements that can be identified and discussed.

As with any plan, there will be a variety of views about what could/should be done. The key focus of the activity is not to simply identify a particular number of issues but to discuss the issues identified and provide justification for views put forward.

The activity can be used in a number of ways. For example, it could be used as a teaching/learning activity with students working in groups to critique the unit and then sharing their views and conclusions with the class. The activity could also be used for assessment purposes such as in an open book, in-class test.

Strategy Resources:

Submitted by Mike Forret.

Strategy 2

Different planning considerations

Author: Paul Neveldsen

Knowing about a range of planning examples not just one way for example an inquiry approach, an integrated approach, a stand alone topic, a learning pathway, and so on. To understand how planning in technology is linked at different levels starting with a school vision first.

When using this core material it is useful to always show school examples at the same time.

To consider a range of planning examples, start with a discussion regarding an overview or Big Picture approach (planning overview PDF and planning table PDF), then link to technology education (where technology fits PDF), and consider planning detail regarding learning intentions etc (PN3).

Always show the support material on Technology Online, especially the integrated units – see www.techlink.org.nz/curriculum-support/Integrated-Units/index.htm.

It is helpful to also use the activities within the teaching snapshot to identify possibilities for one-off type lessons while students are on shorter practicums, but make it quite clear that these are not units of work – see learning intentions PDF and https://technology.tki.org.nz/Resources/Teaching-snapshots/Middle-Years-7-10/Curriculum-focussed-activities

Strategy links: As listed above + files PN 1-4

Source/Acknowledgement: Paul Neveldsen University of Auckland.

Strategy 3

Unit Planning Format for Technology Education

Authors: Wendy Fox-Turnbull and Paul Snape

This is a unit planner with associated guidelines evolved through interaction with teachers, student teachers and ITE staff. It is a concise method to record intended context free learning with associated activities and evidence of learning.

Description: A unit planner template that facilitates the identification of planning components.

Supporting Materials:
Technology unit planner Word' template
Unit Planner Explanation PDF

Strategy 4

Writing context free learning intentions

Author: Wendy Fox-Turnbull

Purpose: The learning supported in this strategy is the writing of context free learning intentions. Based on the works of Shirley Clarke (2003): Enriching Feedback in the Primary Classroom, and (2005) Formative Assessment in Action [Abingdon. Hodder & Stoughton]

Although writing context-free learning intentions is the purpose of this activity, context is critical to authentic learning in technology. Students are encouraged to identify relevant technological learning that takes place within any given activity as a part of a unit. This activity practices differentiating context from technological learning.

It supports the Fox-Turnbull and Snape unit planning format (above).

Supporting Materials
Learning Intentions Task PDF with an activity for separating context free learning intentions.

Strategy 5

Unit Planning


Read the following pages on Technology Online on unit planning, and (E4 A1) Planning Strategy Three to see two ways of unit planning in technology.

What components are common to both unit planners?

What four sections do you see as the most essential to planning a unit of work in technology education?

Justify the inclusion of each.

Complete a mind map outlining how a chosen context might be expanded to engage all students. For example "Accommodation" one student may think of animal enclosures, another view might consider accommodating people in an airport lounge and a third might consider a farm stay advertising.

Find the Toys and Games unit planning example.

Read through the suggested learning experiences.

Flowchart these logical teaching sequences.

Write three more learning experiences that could enhance the unit

Map the possible identified learning experiences to meet key competency and values requirements of the curriculum.

Select two of the learning experiences. For each identify clear links to a technology strand and achievement objective.

Write a context free learning intention for each (Planning Strategies E4A1 Strategy Four).

Write your own unit plan of four or more lessons. Select your own level and context. Undertake a possible context brainstorm as in Point 4 in the section above.

Either design your own unit planning template (ensuring it has all the essential sections) or use one of the two options provided and plan the unit.

Written by Gary O'Sullivan and Wendy Fox-Turnbull.

Strategy 6

Technology Programme Planning Design

Students are required to read the Technology Programme Design section on Technology Online 

Key Discussion Questions

  • What do the authors say is the current common practice for Technology Education programmes?
  • What are the issues that surround this current practice?
  • The authors identify the concept of seamless technology education. What do they mean by this?
  • What is the role of "context" in programme design?
  • What are the benefits of programme planning over a number of years?
  • What strategies are employed by the writers to ensure curriculum coverage and progression?

Design a school programme over a three year period, using a range of contexts and ensuring coverage and progression of the curriculum. Assume an ideal situation.

Things to consider:

  • school type and location
  • timetable
  • school staffing and facilities
  • full curriculum coverage
  • community involvement and relationships

Written by Gary O'Sullivan and Wendy Fox-Turnbull.

Strategy 7

Links Between Authentic Theory and Student Practice

Encourage teachers to make links between the theory of Authenticity and students' practice

Turnbull, W. "The Place of Authenticity in Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum". International Journal of Technology and Design Education 12, 23–40 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013056129283

Facilitate discussion using extracts from the article to enhance teachers' understanding of the place of authenticity in the technology classroom.

Consider the following quotes and discuss in relation to the notion of student's undertaking authentic practice.

Locate and identify an example from the Student Showcase that illustrates in action one quote you have selected. After that, justify and discuss the chosen quote. (An example is given in the section following the quotes).


  • "Hennessy and Murphy (1999) discuss the possibility that authentic practice actually happens at two levels. 'Real' to the students may be: real to their own lives or real to situations that they may encounter in the future workplace."


  • "That teachers need to involve students in problem solving activity so that they become involved and encouraged through design, construction and evaluation."


  • "For students to be involved in holistic Technological Practice they need to develop an understanding of the holistic nature of Technological Practice outside the classroom." (Hill & Smith 1998)


  • "Procedural knowledge includes knowledge of design processes, problem solving and strategic thinking. It also includes knowledge and use of technological principles within context (Ibid). Procedural knowledge is a major component in successful learning in technology. Conceptual knowledge includes knowledge of facts, not in isolation but part of an active process."


  • "Conceptual knowledge can cause problems in technical activities because of a lack of knowledge transfer (Jones, 1996). The transfer of knowledge is the ability to learn in one area and apply that knowledge in another curriculum area." (McCormick, op citation)


  • "Activity is said to be authentic if it is (i) coherent and personally meaningful and (ii) purposeful within a social framework- the ordinary practices of culture." (Hennessy & Murphy, 1999 p.8)



Quote Student Showcase Illustration Comment
"Hennessy and Murphy (1999) discuss the possibility that authentic practice actually happens at two levels. 'Real' to the students may be: real to their own lives or real to situations that they may encounter in the future workplace." Anti-didymo spray

This is a problem that this student identified as a current problem for New Zealand currently

"I found out which waterways were contaminated, and the human activities that could spread the weed."

Water recreational activities are a normal and accepted part of New Zealand culture. This is an authentic activity because this students' family may be involved in boating. If not, this is something that she is able to see is relevant to the New Zealand Context.

Developed by Wendy Fox-Turnbull.

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