An Examination of the Starting Point Approach to Design and Technology

Good, Keith; Järvinen, Esa-Matti
March 2007
Journal of Technology Studies;Spring2007, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p99
Academic Journal
This study examines the Starting Point Approach (SPA) to design and technology, which is intended to maximize creativity while being manageable for the teacher. The purpose of the study was to examine whether the children could do what the approach requires and in particular whether it promoted their innovative thinking. Data were collected during teaching sessions with 27 Year 6 children in London and rural Finland (ages 11-12). The theoretical framework of the study is qualitative in nature. The participant researchers videoed sessions in their respective countries that were taught according to an agreed "script". This included guided brainstorming chaired by the researchers. Children were introduced to some technology and explored its use in the wider world. They were then shown how to make their own working example that was the starting point for their designing. After brainstorming, children went on to develop a wide variety of different projects of their choice. In the UK and Finland, children in a specific class usually are required to design products with the same purpose. In this study, the SPA approach allowed children in the same class to design products with many different purposes. They developed the starting point to fit with their own experience and interests or the needs of others around them. One major advantage of the SPA is that it seems to reconcile the often-conflicting demands of teaching specific skills and knowledge while encouraging individuals to be as creative as possible. The common starting point was crucial to making this feasible.


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