Inspired to shape the world

15th November 1996 at 00:00
Bob Welch looks at lively publications for teachers to dip into or follow slavishly.

NUFFIELD DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY 14-16 RESOURCES Product Design. textilesFood Technology. Graphics.Student Books Pounds 9.99 each Resource Task File Pounds 37.50 + VAT Teacher's Guides Pounds 19.99 each. Longman DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY (second edition) By James Garratt Cambridge University Press Pounds 12. 95.

ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART SCHOOLS TECHNOLOGY PROJECT DT CHALLENGES Student Book 2 Pounds 7.99 DT Challenges Teacher's Resource 2 Pounds 25 Hodder Stoughton

Two recent surveys have shown the parlous state of resources in many design and technology departments, so it is a brave publishing house that produces material for hard-up schools. While the need for quality resources has never been more apparent, the purchase of class sets of texts is a major funding challenge to many schools.

Teachers can dip into or follow slavishly these latest publications, which contrast in style. From the Nuffield Design and Technology project we have a set of material for courses in key stage 4. It is not tied to one board and can be used flexibly to support short and long courses. Each area has a student's book, a resource task file and a teacher's guide which includes capability tasks.

Pupils are expected to complete up to three capability tasks in Year 10 and one in Year 11. This will probably be the major item of coursework for their exam. Some may find this daunting and the teacher's guide provides strategies to improve manageability.

Teachers who already use the key stage 3 material will be familiar with the Nuffield approach. They will understand the care that is required to ensure that the course has coherence and covers important elements in depth. The same will be true for this new material where mapping against syllabus requirements will be necessary to ensure that all aspects are attended to.

The resources for Product Design support courses in which pupils will be designing with resistant materials. Capability tasks related to the design of seating, automata, lighting, and storage, will live comfortably in many DT departments. Food Technology has many ideas which will make it essential for any department.

A different approach is taken in Design and Technology by James Garratt. Written with a resistant materials and control technology focus, this is a book to dip into, richly illustrated with all key words highlighted for reference. The section on the use of limit switches, for example, is presented in much greater detail than the Nuffield material, even if Nuffield scores higher in its range of activities.

From the Royal College of Art Schools Technology Project, we have the Year 8 student Challenge Book and teacher's resource guide. These build upon the work already published for Year 7 and include challenges in resistant materials, food and textiles. The lively style grabs the reader's attention. Even a reluctant learner should be inspired to have a go at the activities.

The text cleverly presents information in readily assimilated units and the teacher's guide includes fact sheets and photocopiable worksheets. The overall key stage 3 course guide is essential for any teacher seriously interested in ensuring the subject fulfils its potential in the school curriculum.

At a time when thought must be given to the future shape of the curriculum, DT teachers are fortunate to have such a range of quality material available. Provided schools have the cash to buy books and equipment, then pupils should enjoy learning how the world can be shaped and have access to high quality resources. As fans of The X-Files will know, the answer is out there, it is just a matter of looking on the right bookshelf or Web site.

Bob Welch is senior adviser (curriculum and assessment) for Berkshire

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