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AQA AS Product Design - how many projects do you do?

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by doodle_dt, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Att my previous school I taught AQA PD in a very CADCAM orientated way (CNC milling etc)

    AS students did 3 projects (retro styled product- design work final design CAD only; mini hands on practical project; international rescue conceptual project resulting in milled product)

    A2 students did just one project of their choice in much more detail, resulting in a CADCAM milled product. Plus theory tasks etc obviously

    I am introducing the course this year at my new school, but I am really concerned about how I am going to manage delivering it with virtually no CADCAM facilities!!

    Spencer- how much do you depend on CADCAM at A Level?

    Does anyone teach this course with virtually no CADCAM access? Help!?
  2. Wile7

    Wile7 New commenter

    Hi there misfit. We do three separate ones. It's horses for courses really - whatever you feel comfortable with and dependent upon your staff skills/facilities/finances. For what its worth we do a clay modelling exercise in clay (Lotus inspired MPV) with supporting portfolio work in hand sketching/CAD (Sketchup) and some historical timeline of MPV design and materialb development. We do one CAD/CAm project (flat pack seating) where the students are given one piece of MDF (1m sq) and are asked to design a seat that will hold their weight BUT they are only allowed to have four cut/passes to make their 'bit's'. It must slot together and no screws/glue. We also do a metal based project - an aluminium totem that must hold a pair of sunglasses plus another item (watch, jewellry etc). The y are given a round billet of ally (150mm with dia of 50 mm) and have to cut/waste/machine their idea. In the past we have also done video work (produce a TV commercial for a car based on a 1:43 scale model - set design/build, sound track etc.), lighting design based on a design period (Bahaus, Memphis, Arts and Crafts...) and so on. The supporting portfolio is a MAX of 30 A3 sheets. Not doing e portfolios yet. Powerpoint is not a design package and until the board embraces Publisher or another proper 'publishing' package we will not go to e portfolios. Hope that helps. Dave
  3. There is an alternative approach which is to accept the portfolio option which means you do not actually need to do projects at all. A true portfolio approach simply means submitting best evidence for each of the assessment criteria. Start first by assessing your GCSE work against the criteria. That is your safety net! Decide what the students actually need to broaden their skills sets. If that is done through mini design and make projects that is fine. However, a portfolio approach could mean lots of focused practical tasks. At our school we tend to create our portfolios from two min projects, plus the GCSE project plus some FPTs. Lots of schools do a single project but I just cannot get my head around why. Students need to grow during Y12, take some risks and the notion of "death by project" is beyond me. Short projects/tasks which only take a few weeks to complete means getting them used to meeting deadlines and the assessment criteria approach allows them to constantly collect marks and use AFL effectively. Present everything electronically using PowerPoint. Use sound files to supplement their written annotation (this can include interviews with staff/clients). We colour code each slide to map evidence to assessment criteria which helps the moderator and also helps the students to understand the assessment system. It works and have never been adjusted!
  4. Wile7

    Wile7 New commenter

    Many thanks for that insight DTwizard. Good stuff! Firstly, if students come into Design without having done the subject at GCSE (we have a few) there is no evidence base to draw upon as such. Secondly, am I right in saying that you do no full product manufacture at any stage (focusing on skills sets only?) or am I missing the point. I agree totally with short sharp projects mixed in to enforce theory work (rapid prototype of a casing for a USB stick for example) but I tend not to include these in the portfolio of evidence.They are in addition to give the students experience and to back up theory. I like the idea of video/sound bites and colour coding of submission but still see red mist about using PPt. In industry you will NEVER see PPt used as a means to present a portfolio - it's as mundane as using Word to desktop publish. I know you can to an extent....but we are not preparing kids correctly for the world of work by doing this I feel. Having been in industry the demand to see and feel (yes, feel) hand sketched ideas and markered renderings as well as associated CAD in a paper based portfolio PLUS manufactured modelling is paramount. Scanning gives an idea but at interview the 'real deal' is far more important and has real impact. This is down to cost cutting by the exam boards unfortunately...but that is another moan for another time :) Dave
  5. There is an issue of taking students without any D&T (we don't) and there is also an issue of accepting work from other schools as it is controlled assessment. In practice we do do some full product manufacture and,indeed, this might be where the area of biggest need is, for example with students from a GP background. We would often do one slightly larger project which is a complete design & make, but not necessarily. One project we have done this year, based on something I have seen done in another school was a De Stijl piece of furniture built in a day. Cm2 timber used to model then all measurements doubled on the full size piece. Use a jig to make construction easy and one of those stepped drills from Screwfix so the pilot hole, clearane hole and a recessed countersink is done in one operation. These are then plugged with timber plugs so the joint is invisible. Paint in coloued emulsion - black frame plus primary colurs then spray with clear varnish - they look fantastic! Jewelery is also another common product and precious metal clay allows a commercially viable product to be manufactured very quickly. Product styling using a 3D printer would allow students to understand the commercial aspects of injection moulding and the use of split lines etc.
    As for PPT, this is only a repository to place evidence for assessment. Drawings can be scanned or photographed. Indeed, the use of sketchbooks and presentation drawings replicates the university approach rather more. PPT is not a designing tool, it is simply a simple way of storing evidence that any moderator can access. AQA are working on a system of uploading onto their website but there is no confirmed date for its introduction, I have been told. The ease of adding sound or video makes this a really flexible system. In the olden days we used to have vivas at A Level and everyone in the sample (usually the lot in those days) would be interviewed for 20 minutes. You can do exactly the same using PPT. A student could talk to a teacher and/or client and refer to sketchbook or presentation drawings and models as appropriate and the whole event captured on video. Remember that the moderator is assessing your marking. They do not need to see everything the student has done so the emphasis needs to be on supporting your assessment decisions. PPT can get in the way, especially once students start playing with the animations etc. My advice would be to keep it simple, just enpugh to justify your marking.
    On the issue of costs, consider what a moderator is paid to view the work and how few of the written words the moderator is likely to read. Again PPT encourages bullet points or sound files which makes their job easier. Look at Easi-speak pro for a great USB based interview mic. Consider "Audacity" - free software and a set of headphones and mic for each student. Of course, they all have this capability on their phones but we are obsessive about not allowing them to use this technology. Contact Rob Farr at Redruth School and take a look at the software his dept has developed to capture the story of students progress - date and time stamped photos or screen dumps. Absoutley fantastic for some students.
    We have to think differently about this subject if we are to survive. Its not just about creating designers (we have more of them than jobs anyway). I am convinced that we are killing it with boring long projects which are predictable in the way we design and present design thinking. Worth a dabble!!
  6. Dear DTwizard - the way you have your AS course set up sounds like it would be perfect for our college. We have just swapped from OCR Product Design to AQA Product Design and are a little unsure of what kind of projects we should do. I would be eternally grateful if you could share any examples of student portfolios to give us an idea of where to start.

    Many thanks


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