The PATT36 conference addressed the theme of “Research and Practice in Technology Education: Perspectives on Human Capacity and Development”. Within this theme, three sub-themes formed the focus of three separate sessions, each including a keynote presentation and plenary discussion. On Wednesday 20th July, the session centred on the sub-theme of “Learning through Design and Make”.
The Keynote address was given by Former Director of the Professional Development Service for Teachers Paddy Keays. Paddy gave an insightful presentation on the importance of craft in Technology education, highlighting the need for this type of activity to support student learning. Paddy emphasised the merit and position of Technology education in the Irish national curriculum by demonstrating how the nature of modelling that occurs in Technology education is uniquely important.
Following the keynote, Paddy sat on a panel with Prof. Richard Kimbell and PhD candidate Niekie Blom to further discuss learning through design and make in Technology education. The panel session was convened by Dr Rónán Dunbar. All speakers shared their own unique perspectives on this topic. The panel responded to questions posed by the delegates including:
“Can we assess someone’s capacity to design that is independent of semantic knowledge?”
“Other than the vocational skills which can be learned through making, what can be learned through design and make that can’t be learned through conceptual design with a view towards making?”
The session finished with an open floor discussion where audience members responded to the discussion and asked further questions to panel members.