How Design and Technology Curricula Can Help Students Develop Problem-Solving Skills

The unprecedented events of 2020 have highlighted more than ever, how important it is to empower our young people as innovators, creators and problem solvers, who know how to make their world better. New and emerging technologies and innovative problem-solving approaches are increasingly being turned to in the quest for finding solutions to the complex problems the world faces. 2020 has all too clearly shown us that young people must develop the skills and dispositions they need to be drivers of change and problem-solvers in the future.

Design and Technology curricula can play a key role in helping students develop problem-solving skills, design thinking processes, and the dispositions for becoming resilient, optimistic, and innovative members of the workforce and society. So it makes sense that education policy makers and curriculum writers around the world continue to recognise the benefits of introducing design and technology skills, concepts, and knowledge to students in the primary years of their education.

We are glad to see a focus being maintained on Design and Technology, or Engineering curricula for primary and elementary students that incorporates maker-based learning, design thinking, solution-based projects, and the use of technology as a key element of designed solutions. A quick trip around the world reveals:

  • The Australian Curriculum includes Design and Technologies as a compulsory subject from Foundation (K)- Year 10 and aims for students to develop confidence as critical users of technologies and designers and producers of designed solutions.
  • The National Curriculum for England includes Design and Technology as a program of study for all primary school students, asking them to use creativity and imagination, to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.
  • The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in the US explicitly include engineering design standards for students as young as kindergarten level based on the belief that all students need opportunities to acquire engineering design practices and concepts alongside the practices and concepts of science.
  • The International Baccalaureate specifically introduces a design cycle in the Middle Years Program aiming to develop internationally-minded people whose enhanced understanding of design and the technological world can facilitate our shared guardianship of the planet and create a better world.
  • Makers Empire have recently expanded our presence in South East Asia where countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia are expanding the scope of design and technology approaches in their public education curriculum. In Singapore, all primary schools will offer an Applied Learning Program by 2023 that will incorporate technology, creative thinking, and problem solving.

How Makers Empire helps schools teach D&T Curricula

Makers Empire gives teachers the tools, skills and resources to confidently teach Design & Technology curricula and engage students in authentic, real-world problem solving. We are constantly updating and improving our curriculum aligned resources to address the demands of design and technology curricula from around the world.

Here are some explicit examples of how Makers Empire provides a all-in-one solution for teachers wanting to cover design and technology curriculum in exciting, engaging ways using 3D technologies

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  1. Lesson Library: Makers Empire’s Teacher Dashboard includes a library of over 150 lesson plans. All lesson plans are aligned to Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies; NSW Curriculum: Science and Technology; National Curriculum for England: Design and Technology; Next Generation Science Standards: Engineering Design. The lesson plans also demonstrate how other curriculum learning areas including Common Core subjects can be integrated into design-based learning.
  1. Challenge Central: From the 3D World in Makers Empire’s 3D app, students can access a range of grade level specific design-based challenges. These challenges are aligned to and can be assessed against Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies; NSW Curriculum; Victorian Curriculum; National Curriculum for England: Design and Technology; and Next Generation Science Standards: Engineering Design. 
  1. New Challenge paths: The Makers Empire team are working hard behind the scene creating exciting new curriculum-aligned content. Look out over the coming weeks and months for our new interactive challenge paths – see photos above. These are being especially designed to deliver comprehensive coverage of Design and Technology curricula through rich video content, quizzes, guides. tutorials, specific design challenges, and assessment tools.
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