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Nurturing the designerly thinking and design capabilities of five-year-olds: technology in the new entrant classroom


Technology is one of eight learning areas of the New Zealand national curriculum. It aims to develop a broad technological literacy through students participating in programmes in which the practice of technological development is experienced, as is knowledge informing practice, and students gain an understanding of technology as a domain in its own right. In New Zealand children begin school at 5 years of age and this paper describes a classroom research project during which these students design and then construct a photo frame. The inducement for this development arose from students needing to safely transport home and then display a class photograph. This provided the opportunity for developing technological knowledge and skills within a real and relevant context—two key drivers when working with young students (Ministry of Education 2007) [MoE]. The results of this project suggest that teaching technology to five-year-old students is achievable and a valuable addition to other learning opportunities provided in the new entrant classroom. Strategies are suggested that will enable students to successfully achieve their goals whilst gaining a simple understanding of the technological process. By making good use of these it is possible to create a worthwhile and imaginatively challenging activity that reflects the essence of the technology education curriculum.

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I would like to acknowledge the teacher and students involved in this project during the collection of the original data and thank them for their interest, enthusiasm and laughter.

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Correspondence to Louise Milne.

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Milne, L. Nurturing the designerly thinking and design capabilities of five-year-olds: technology in the new entrant classroom. Int J Technol Des Educ 23, 349–360 (2013).

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  • Technology
  • Primary
  • Five-year-old students
  • Design
  • Drawings