July 16, 2024


Life is art

Back to school: How the updated Design & Technology curriculum trains students for life


One particular of the course assignments I was specified centred around these kinds of engineering: Style a wooden coin financial institution utilizing the Sketchbook app. The task was anchored on the topic of wildlife conservation, so our coin financial institutions were drawn to resemble endangered animals. 

To sketch our coin financial institution, we would have to use “shape borrowing techniques”, as very well as “underlays” to create a 3D rendered presentation of our coin financial institution. I hoped I manufactured the right choice to draw an elephant, considering the fact that the animal’s define was not as well intricate.  

Although the activity appeared like a little something I could have completed in college, the important difference was that I could not do it with color pencils and a sketchbook. Owning beforehand attempted to sketch on an iPad, I was nervous. The absence of “friction”, normally current with pencil from paper, takes some receiving made use of to.   

As Mdm Elsie Cheng, Head of Department for Craft and Technology at Edgefield Secondary College, went by means of the ways of building an preliminary sketch, I noticed my classmates seamlessly swish from a single app to a further even though making use of equipment in the Sketchbook app to develop remarkably specialist sketches. 

Meanwhile, I was figuring out how to change the thickness of my brush. I finally also found out how to attract a beautifully straight or curved line with the ruler tool, and remodel my elephant sketch from 2D to 3D. But my perception of pride evaporated when Mdm Cheng instructed us to render our sketch. 

Someplace in among applying an airbrush to colour over the sketch and retracing my define with a thicker brush, my elephant ended up wanting far more diseased than designer. In comparison, the illustration illustrations or photos Mdm Cheng projected on monitor could have occur straight from a Pixar movie. There was no way any individual could obtain all those in the remaining 30 minutes of course, I believed. 

A number of minutes later, I found men and women who could. My classmates, which includes Deon, made “rough” sketches that would have quickly secured them an animation job. I afterwards learnt that it was also their initially time drawing on an iPad. 


After course, my classmate Marizztellah de Guzman explained to me she found the assignment “really challenging” because she’s “not quite excellent at art”. 

She stated her class had performed a related assignment in Secondary 1 – on pen and paper. Nevertheless, despite the problem to “try and translate what you have learnt from very last year”, she felt that she could superior express what she desired to attract now due to the fact the Sketchbook app delivered a lot more tools. 

Likewise, an additional classmate, Tessa Tay, claimed she learnt resilience from making an attempt to adapt to an unfamiliar medium. She and her classmates “persevered and pushed through, and we control to do what the instructor has assigned us to do”.

Mdm Cheng, who has taught D&T for 18 several years, reassured me that the aim of D&T is “not to get (pupils) to be a designer”. Relatively, it is to assume like a designer to discover to apply the “framework of style and design thinking”.

“It’s a way of framing … the way you consider. And you also get to empathise with customers. For the reason that in purchase to have an understanding of the problem, you in fact want to go down to the consumer to have an understanding of what (the problem) is all about,” she claimed. 

“Just like for this tale alone. You, the journalist, occur to the class to encounter, in purchase to have a far better (being familiar with) of what D&T is all about and what are the variations we’ve accomplished around the years.”

She had a level. If I didn’t embed myself in a secondary university class, I wouldn’t be equipped to compose authentically about the changes in the D&T curriculum. Much like style and design imagining, the answer to understanding today’s curriculum needed me to set myself in the user’s sneakers.

Or in this situation, their classroom.