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Emergent technologies and their potential in the shaping of design and technology curriculum

Publication Date
  • Emergent Technologies
  • Design And Technology
  • Curriculum
  • Identity
  • Pedagogy
  • Ethics
  • Existence
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Education
  • Law
  • Philosophy


The design and technology curriculum continues to evolve and this evolution has a firm basis both in historical developments and in present (perceived) needs for refinement and improvement. Increasingly, the remodelling of design and technology considers its place in the whole curriculum in which it is expected not only to be a specialist field but also a contributor in many cross-curricular policies (e.g. literacy, numeracy, equity, diversity etc.) For design and technology to maintain a strong position in a curriculum, it has to demonstrate its relevance and its versatility. Meanwhile technologies themselves continue to develop ahead of curriculum, indeed ahead of appropriate accompanying ethical and legal frameworks. For a variety of reasons, the design and technology curriculum cannot keep pace with emerging and societyshaping technologies. These reasons include: • research, development and marketing have quite different agendas from those of education • education systems are generally not geared in a forward planning or curriculum development sense, to rapid response to social and technological change • educational resources are nowhere near adequate for keeping abreast of technological change in anything more than tokenistic ways. Despite these circumstances, curriculum planners and writers would talk of ‘preparation for new technologies’; ‘futures education’; ‘sustainability’; ‘education for a rapidly changing world’; ‘simulating technological reality’ and so on. This paper cites a range of emergent technologies to illustrate connections with design, values and ethical aspects of design and technology curriculum development. It is suggested that the gap between innovative design and technology curriculum and emergent technologies may not be so wide as at first seems and that it is possible to use their emergence to inform curriculum development in meaningful ways for schools and students alike.

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