CAD and creativity at Key Stage 3 : towards a new pedagogy

Winn, Deborah (2012). CAD and creativity at Key Stage 3 : towards a new pedagogy. PhD thesis The Open University.



In recent decades there has been a major shift in the Design and Technology curriculum in secondary schools away from manual techniques and towards digital processes and products. CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) is not only commonplace it is also embedded into the English National Curriculum. There is much evidence to suggest that this shift of emphasis has not been without problems. The equipment used to design and quickly modify products mirrors the technological advancement in everyday life. This rapid change can be a source of uncertainty especially when one considers that software taught to Year 7 (11-12 years old) students today will often be outdated by the time they finish compulsory secondary education in Year 11 (16 years old). Perhaps more significantly, because of these issues teachers struggle to encourage creativity when teaching CAD/CAM within design and technology education. 3D solid modelling software is particularly difficult to use and be creative with in the early stages of learning the software. Furthermore Design and Technology teachers often struggle to keep up to date with rapidly changing software and frequently lack the confidence to teach it, which, in turn, affects their students' progress.

This research investigates the effects of teaching and learning CAD/CAM software and the impact this has on encouraging creativity in the classroom with Key Stage 3 students and their teachers. It suggests we require some rethinking concerning what we want students to know and be able to do and considers an alternative pedagogy which may help students to achieve more creative outcomes when using CAD. The research is undertaken through an intervention study within an action research framework. It outlines new methods and strategies to improve the confidence and creativity of students when using 3D modelling software and addresses the reality of day-to-day teaching pressures.

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