Abby Dingle discusses materials and tools that engage students in product design.
Engaging contexts in product design
Abby Dingle: We decided on the term "product design" as opposed to "workshop" because it encompasses a lot more of the design technology process, as opposed to calling it workshop. It’s very restricted and infers that it could just be a practical element, whereas with the product design it shows that you’re encompassing the whole of the technological experience and multiple materials to work with as well.
When I arrived here last year we were lucky enough to have glass kilns. We’ve got glass facilitators here, gas tanks for welding and brazing. We have wood workshops, so when I came here even though I didn’t know a lot about glass I’ve taken that opportunity to build up that knowledge and then kind of staying five steps ahead of the kids as we’re going and almost sometimes learning together as well.
We’re really lucky here to have so many materials, tools, techniques, processes available to us. We have a glass programme which we can implement. We’ve got a large kiln a small kiln and a manual kiln which we make use of. We do wood working. We do metal work, silver smithing and we’ve also been lucky enough to have a laser cutter this year, so we’re building into our programmes at the moment the use of computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacture, which is obviously a lot more relevant to girls when they would get out into the industry. Kind of a touch of how it really works.
I came to Dio being quite specialised with wood work and CAD/CAM work, especially on the laser cutter. So I’ve kind of brought that knowledge with me and built that into our programmes. Especially having the laser cutter this year is good, because it means I don’t have to out source which is great. Working with the glass, working with silver smithing and any other bits and pieces I’m picking up along the way as I go, so I’ve either learnt from colleagues or technicians in courses that are run throughout the city.
At the moment I am looking at questionnaires and survey monkeys online speaking to the girls and finding out what’s working and what’s not, what they want to do, what are they interested in. So the girls are all really aware of what happens across technology and then potentially from that I can pick bits out of each different programme and put it into one, especially for the seniors. I’ve been looking at where I can really home in on engaging all of my students and I’m doing this in a number of ways. I’m making sure that I’m covering more of the crafty element, so more of the creative artistic side with the hands-on skills.
I’m also covering CAD/CAM work with my year groups as well, just to make sure that I’m getting to the girls that are more, not necessarily engineery type, but are more industrial thinkers as opposed to the hands-on practical ability. They are going to realise technology’s worth, not just in a crafty concept, but also through a computer-aided design industrial field also.
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Combining knowledge and practice (01:58)
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Play, experiment, explore (02:55)
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Exploring unfamiliar materials (02:44)
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