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Ellis, D 2012, 'Identifying quality with pre-service technology educators: a different perspective on assessment', Institute of Industrial Arts and Technology Education (Members only Journal), vol. 1.


The development of an ‘eye for good design’- the ability to determine what looks good and is functionally appropriate - has always been a challenge for technology educators when dealing with students designing their own projects.

In a design and technological context, each new cohort presents a yearly challenge for educators in terms of transferring the ‘know-how’ to enable students to problem-solve, anticipate, and assess functionality problems, as well as develop an aesthetically pleasing project. Not all students find problem-solving easy and the cognitive skills required to successfully problem-solve necessitate in-depth engagement in defining the problem in order to develop an appropriate solution. (Lee, 1996)

From a skilled technology educator’s perspective, what may seem a relatively quick glance at a student idea or project, is in fact a demonstration of higher – order thinking skills being exercised, an ability acquired through the development of a cognitive infrastructure laid down through years of observation and experience, knowledge of industry standards and processes, technological foresight -including a mechanical aptitude- and honing skills across multiple technologies to name a few. Whilst this infrastructure enables these teachers to easily evaluate designs and problem solve, it is much more difficult for their inexperienced students, because of their lack of cognitive infrastructure.

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