Wednesday 21st March 2018

A new year, a new approach to how we can deliver a realistic experience to our students that supports what the design process looks like in industry.

In Furniture Design Technology the goal for us is to give our learners an authentic experience when following the design process and what that process looks like in industry. It is important to remember that we are developing students who are problem solvers and can apply a range of skills to ensure they solve the issue that has presented itself to them. 

The design process is used for all the products we use as humans on a daily basis, and the boys are reminded of this often. This year we have included the design and modelling strand of the design process to the year and the boys are developing solutions which are well thought out and creative.

In Year 11, our students are following a brief which involves them completing a stool which has been influenced by a certain design era. I have been blown away by the talent that has come through from the Year 10 foundation year, and it is obvious to me that Mr Campbell's vast amount of manufacturing knowledge has really rubbed off on this cohort of young men. So far the boys have been researching the era they have selected and designed a range of solutions that fulfil the brief. Currently, we are modelling their final designs, and the boys can choose what media they would like to present a model in, this can either be card or CAD (computer-aided design). I'm thrilled to see more CAD work being produced as this really gives the boys a good understanding of how their design can be developed into a 3D outcome. 

In Year 12 the boys have been given a long list of briefs that they can choose from, this gives them more freedom to select an issue that they may feel passionate about. The briefs range from Bluetooth speakers to the development of an outdoor seating area. So far I have been impressed with the way the boys have approached the tasks, and we are starting to see their problem-solving skills come to life. Again CAD is being used to develop their solutions and examples of this can be seen below. It is important to remember that our subject is not all about producing pretty drawings, more is learnt when the boys get their hands dirty and trial their ideas to see if they will work. Bailey Dowling is producing an outdoor bench using up-cycled materials mixed with stock from the timber yard. Jack Hutton Aktins is producing a small decorative box focusing on complicated joinery methods.  

As mentioned before we are developing problem solvers and I have included an example of what a portfolio sheet looks like in Year 12 focusing on how the boys overcome problems through trialling and modelling. As you can see the boys have to highlight a problem and then research the ways it can be solved before testing some of the ways with a view of using the best process when completing their final outcome.

Our Year 13 boys are working hard developing their own brief which gives them even more freedom when developing solutions that solve real-world problems. This is the year where we see our students produce the products that they want and we all look forward to seeing these come to life later in the year.

Once again we have been lucky enough to update our workshop, and we have been able to have purchased a new bandsaw, mortise chisel machine and sanding machine. These brand new machines will mean our senior boys can display even more independence when creating their artefacts. We have also improved the lighting in the room and plan to develop the area even further throughout the next couple of years, exciting times ahead. 

Michael Beattie using the jig he created to level out a 100 year slab of Macrocarpa.
In Year 12 Jack Newland has shown how he has overcome one of his identified problems.
Computer Aided Design - Bringing ideas to life