Tasks for Mediating the Process of Knowing and Learning to Design and Make
Research in Design and Technology Education (D&TE) suggests that teachers need to appreciate the critical aspects of design and make. These aspects include developing an understanding of ill-structured problems, role of imagery and visualisation, need for collaboration and the influence of values in design thinking. The study reported in this paper explored the use of carefully designed tasks to develop critical reflection on the design and make processes among student-teachers (participants). The participants were 34 masters’ students who opted for D&TE course as part of their teacher preparation programme taught by the teacher-researcher (author). An analysis of participants’ engagement with two of the tasks designed by the author revealed challenges in attending to functional and structural details of artefacts, particularly when making shifts between micro and macro features. The tasks mediated the process of knowing and learning how to design and make, by affording simultaneous attention to cognitive, metacognitive and affective experiences in classroom discussions. As participants worked on tasks, the interplay of knowledge and skills created opportunities for discussing epistemic identity. The study suggests that learning mediated through design-and-make engagements provides an inward gaze into the process of designing and the purposes of technology. The paper concludes with the affordance of contextual and experientially informed understanding in handling the challenges of preparing teachers to teach design-and-make.
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