Vernon Thomas
1996, Vol. 1, No. 2,


The development of suitable design and make assignments which encompass computing applications for design and technology project work in secondary schools is fraught with problems. Although the amount of suitable hardware and software available has increased greatly in recent years, design and technology departments can usually only afford to buy a small number of machines at anyone time; these tend to be spread around the different workbases.

Schools often have an information technology facility, which is usually a room full of computers with a range of generalist software available. This type of facility is generally in great demand and has to be booked in advance. Unless the school has had a large capitation allocation or grant, design and technology departments tend to buy a machine for each workbase every few years. Due to the very nature of technological development these machines have very little in common with one another, often requiring different software and a whole new learning curve. They are often computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools, such as lathes and milling machines which, after initial staff enthusiasm, are found gathering dust in the corner of a storeroom, only to be swept down and rolled out for the annual 'widget manufacturing' school open evening!

Full Text: