In the Technology and Enterprise learning area, it is necessary for students to communicate design ideas and develop instructions of implementation using language which is both sufficiently detailed to do so efficiently and sufficiently simple to ensure broad acceptance.
The outcomes prescribed for the Technology and Enterprise learning area are both directly and indirectly linked to the Overarching Outcomes in a variety of ways.
The technology process of design requires students to select and apply spatial and numerical concepts and techniques, whilst using the technologies for handling information, such as computers, to locate, obtain, evaluate, manipulate, publish and share information. A major focus of the Technology and Enterprise learning area is that of students making use of technologies, both individually and collaboratively, and developing technologies by adaptation. By gaining familiarity with and competence in the use of a range of technologies, students are able to make decisions about when to use a technology to meet a human need. In making decisions about technology, students consider logical and physical patterns, structures and relationships in the creation of their own designs. Technology and Enterprise provides opportunities for students to develop enterprising behaviours and understandings that will allow them to recognise opportunities, and through the application of elements of the technology process, realise the potential of those opportunities. Understanding and appreciating the technological, social and cultural world, and employing skills to make decisions about the development and use of technologies is fundamental to the Technology and Enterprise learning area.
The development of communication technologies has led to the concept of a global community, to which students actively contribute in the process of designing and developing solutions to problems. In the process, students engage in creative activity and build on the intellectual work of others.
Students live in a society characterised by new and changing technologies. Understanding them and developing expertise in selecting, using, creating and adapting them safely and carefully assists students to make informed decisions, have a positive self-image and remain safe and healthy. Students also understand that individuals and communities have different attitudes towards particular technologies, and respect the right of others to have attitudes different from their own. When using, developing or adapting technology, students take appropriate precautions to ensure that they, others and the environment remain safe and healthy.
Students at this stage appreciate the factors that determine technological development such as social attitudes, research and development, controls and regulations. They critically assess many aspects of their technological world, understand the effects of actions on others and develop reasoned arguments related to ethical and practical issues, such as cloning. They are objectively critical of their work and make comparisons with similar commercial products.
Students’ approaches to Technology and Enterprise are more diverse than in previous phases, as their interests and knowledge of their future lives, including potential career choices, are expanding. Students will increasingly specialise in particular contexts, including agriculture, business, computing, design and technology and home economics. As a result of this exposure, they begin to show interest in and aptitude for specific technologies and, within these contexts, students recognise the need to work collaboratively to achieve more complex technological goals.
While continuing to demonstrate enterprising behaviours, students recognise the relationship between technology and enterprise, and gain experience in the nature and operations of business. They can acquire enterprising behaviours through the simulated conduct of a business in an educational environment, or similar activities.
Students further develop their understanding of investigating, devising, producing and evaluating through opportunities to apply more complex versions of the technology process in sequences designed to achieve optimal results and develop products to specified standards. They understand the significance of the relationship between parts of the technology process, and apply the process to the development of solutions.
Students should be encouraged to maintain the capacity to think creatively and to devise multiple solutions for technology challenges when applying the technology process. They continue to develop their ideas in an environment in which they have increasing control over their selection and application of elements of the technology process, particularly design. All ideas are accepted and valued as they work towards devising and evaluating a range of solutions and means of realising opportunities. When making products, students should work to specified standards. They should continue to develop technology skills when engaged in the technology process, using, for example, electric hand tools and powered implements such as rotary hoes, lathes, welders, soldering irons, sewing machines, fax machines, scanners, digital cameras or graphics calculators.
Learning and teaching programs should provide opportunities for students to understand that technology is pervasive in society and that many types of technology are used and valued. By investigating how technologies are developed, adapted and used by different individuals and communities, students come to understand that needs are met in different ways.
Through these understandings they recognise the significance of individual and group values in determining how technologies are used, developed and modified to meet needs. Students examine the relationships between individual, family or community needs and the availability, types and costs of resources when analysing the development and application of particular technologies.
Students need to examine how the properties of materials used in products meet the functional, aesthetic and environmental requirements of particular communities. When exploring alternatives, students apply knowledge of the properties of materials to achieve planned results and effects. They exercise choice by applying their understandings of the physical, chemical and aesthetic properties of materials when engaged in the technology process. Students further develop their understandings of the physical and chemical properties of materials through detailed investigations. They also critically examine the social and environmental impacts and consequences of the use of a wide range of materials. These investigations contributes to students’ abilities to use materials to work to specified standards.
Students should have opportunities to explain how different ways of presenting and transferring information affect how it is used and the impact it has on the recipient. Issues they consider include time available to locate and view information and the amount, value and complexity of information. Students also explain how the effectiveness of information transfer is determined by a range of factors, including rate, creativity, impact and interest.
Students identify a variety of forms of information and understand how the structure of particular forms is developed. They examine needs and opportunities and use information technology and techniques appropriate to them. Opportunities to develop and apply information skills are accessed across all learning areas and students develop a level of computer literacy that enables them to function efficiently and effectively in their home, school and community environments. They develop skills and understandings in the operation of computers that provide a basis for application in future workplace environments.
Learning and teaching programs should provide students with opportunities to investigate the elements, structures, sequences, operation and control of systems and determine how these influence the way people interact with systems and their environments. When considering the operation and maintenance of systems, students examine their impacts on individuals, communities and the environment, focusing on their principles, structure, logic, organisation and control and considering how and why different systems have been developed.
Students investigate the components of systems and how they have been developed in an attempt to improve quality of life by saving time, energy, materials and resources. Students evaluate the positive impact of systems on individuals, communities and environments as well as identifying unexpected and harmful impacts. They investigate changing patterns of resource use in relation to innovative systems; the requirements for developing, distributing and marketing systems; and the resulting changes in lifestyles, work patterns and wealth distribution.
When exploring the potential of technology and enterprise, students identify and take into account the cultural beliefs, value systems, abilities and ethical positions that affect the development and use of technologies. They examine and develop their own beliefs, values and attitudes, while also using their understanding of those held by individuals, families, groups and society. They account for these and their interconnectedness when making decisions that ensure solutions are ecologically sustainable and meet the needs of all stakeholders.
Students are aware that technological developments inevitably have consequences. They evaluate the appropriateness of technologies on ethical and moral grounds, as well as considering economic advantage and the suitability of products, processes, systems, services and environments for individuals and groups at local, national and international levels. They understand that suitability may be affected by the beliefs and abilities of individuals, or the cultures and values of groups within society.
Students may, for example, discuss reasons why particular groups in the community may wear certain types of clothing and assess the implications for designers; examine issues concerning ‘plastic money’ in society; analyse how fast-food advertising may influence family values and household expenditure; or simulate a recycling program to predict effects on the environment and waste disposal processes.
Students are encouraged to develop and practise enterprising behaviours such as initiative, resourcefulness, responsibility, adaptability and entrepreneurship. Through these behaviours they enhance their critical and creative thinking and organising, collaborative and team-building skills. They identify needs, wants and opportunities and use, adapt, manage or develop a range of equipment, resources, processes, systems, services and environments to meet them. These behaviours and skills are transferable across the curriculum and are valuable acquisitions for career and life experiences. Students also have the opportunity to develop an enterprising ethos in which the ethical and responsible realisation of opportunities is valued. By practicing enterprising skills and behaviours in a range of different contexts students become flexible and creative, both in their application of technologies and in the development of solutions to meet changing societal needs.
Considering the Social and Environmental Impact of Solutions
In seeking solutions students select, adapt and develop technologies that make efficient use of resources and are effective in managing social and environmental impacts. They understand the social, economic, political, cultural and environmental issues surrounding the use, development and disposal of technology. They are aware that the development of solutions will have consequences other than those intended. Students understand that the creation, adaptation and application of technology is dependent on achieving a balance between the responsibilities of the designer and the developer, and the needs of the user. Students consider their own attitudes, cultural beliefs and values and those of others, as well as long-term and short-term consequences of innovations for individuals, families, communities and environments. They come to understand that making decisions about technology often involves a complex mixture of consensus, conflict and compromise, as humans seek to meet needs and realise opportunities in a sustainable way.