Students’ Use of Science and Mathematics in Practical Projects in Design and Technology
Design and technology (D&T) is often seen as having a potential for students to work with science and mathematics in practical and meaningful contexts. This chapter presents results from a video study of three D&T projects run in different schools in North Norway. The study shows that knowledge in mathematics and science was represented to a very little degree in student projects in D&T, even if the projects were designed to do so. Through an inductive analysis informed by perspectives on technology and technological knowledge from research literature, we identify four issues that contribute to explaining why this is the case: (1) problem solving by other means, (2) focus on product quality, (3) task requires specialised knowledge and (4) concepts and procedures not necessary for the purpose. All these issues are related to the nature of technology as knowledge and activity rather than to pedagogy, and the results suggest that D&T as a domain of knowledge should be represented in the curriculum in its own right and not as an arena for learning science and mathematics. Still, D&T projects can be utilised as contexts for experiences forming a basis for learning in science and mathematics.
KeywordsDesign and technology Technological knowledge Video studies Contexts for science learning
The research group will thank the participating teachers for their collaboration during the student projects and for constructive feedback on the data. We also thank the Research Council of Norway and Finnmark University College for financial support.
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