Design & Technology/Product Design
“Design and Technology is about making things that work well. Creating things is hugely exciting: it is an inventive, fun activity.”
Sir James Dyson
Why study PRoduct Design?
Design and technology gives young people the skills and abilities to engage positively with the designed and made world and to harness the benefits of technology. They learn how products and systems are designed and manufactured, how to be innovative and to make creative use of a variety of resources including digital technologies, to improve the world around them.
What will I study?
Through a variety of creative and practical activities, students are taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in the process of designing and making. They work in a range of domestic and local contexts [for example, the home, health, leisure and culture] and industrial contexts [for example, engineering, manufacturing, construction, energy]. When designing and making, students will learn to:
- use research and exploration, such as the study of different cultures, to identify and understand user needs
- identify and solve their own design problems and understand how to reformulate problems given to them develop specifications to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that respond to needs in a variety of situations
- use a variety of approaches [for example, biomimicry and user-centred design] to generate creative ideas and avoid stereotypical responses
- develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches, detailed plans, 3-D and mathematical modelling, oral and digital presentations
- select from and use specialist tools, techniques, processes, equipment and machinery precisely, including computer-aided manufacture
- select from and use a range of materials and components, taking into account their properties
- analyse the work of past and present professionals and others to develop and broaden their understanding
- investigate new and emerging technologies
- test, evaluate and refine their ideas and products against a specification, taking into account the views of intended users and other interested groups
- understand developments in design and technology, its impact on individuals, society and the environment, and the responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists
- understand and use the properties of materials and the performance of structures
- understand how mechanical systems used in their products enable changes in movement and force
- understand how electrical and electronic systems can be powered and used in their products [for example, circuits with heat, light, sound and movement as inputs and outputs].
How will I study?
A combination of practical work, investigation and taught knowledge builds on the skills and knowledge pupils have already learnt at primary school. It uses increasingly sophisticated resources, including dedicated teaching environments, manufacturing equipment and specialist teaching. As students progress through the Academy they will be taught knowledge and skills in specific aspects of the subject such as product design, engineering, systems and control, electronics and graphics. However, at its core is creativity and imagination. Students learn to design and make products that solve genuine, relevant problems within different contexts whilst considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. To do this effectively, they will acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on additional disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art.
Career opportunities using Design & Technology skills and knowledge are many and varied. They include product design, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, production engineering, electronic engineering, surveying, architecture, aeronautical and space engineering, automotive design, interior design, communications, graphic design and many more.
The department has a Product Design Club which meets to tackle shared projects. We have successfully entered competitions such as ‘Birmingham Made Me’ and look for opportunities for appropriate visits.