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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

How technology makes us human: cultural historical roots for design and technology education

McLain, M, Irving-Bell, D, Wooff, David and Morrison-Love, D (2019) How technology makes us human: cultural historical roots for design and technology education. Curriculum Journal. ISSN 0958-5176

Item Type: Article


In the context of curriculum change within English education, and beyond, this article explores the cultural historical roots of design and technology as an educational construct, distinct from design or engineering, which exist as career paths outside of the school curriculum. It is a position piece, drawing on literature from a wide range of sources from writing, largely, outside of the discipline.

The authors revisit the original intentions of design and technology as a National Curriculum subject and, within the contemporary challenges, discuss the importance of technology, including designing and making, as an essentially human and humanising activity. The aim being to contribute to the theorisation and philosophy of the subject, where typically practitioners focus on practical and potentially mundane concerns.

This article asserts that technological human activity is rooted in technological innovation and determinism, inextricably linked to social human activity. The aim is to add to the literature and provoke debate around the place and value of design and technology. The argument for retention of the subject, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, is presented from a social and technological perspective; recognising the value of the subject as cultural rather than a merely technical or economic imperative.

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Depositing User: David Wooff


Item ID: 11030
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0958-5176
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for David Wooff: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2019 11:52
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2021 03:38


Author: David Wooff ORCID iD
Author: M McLain
Author: D Irving-Bell
Author: D Morrison-Love

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education


Education > Secondary Education

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