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Cultural and historical roots for design and technology education: why technology makes us human

McLain, M, Bell, D, Wooff, David and Morrison-Love, D (2018) Cultural and historical roots for design and technology education: why technology makes us human. PATT36 Conference Proceedings . Athlone Institute of Technology, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, pp. 223-230. ISBN 978-1-5272-2507-7

Item Type: Book


In the continuing context of curriculum change within English education, this paper explores the cultural and 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 and outside of the discipline. The authors revisit the original intention of design and technology as a national curriculum subject and within the contemporary challenges, highlight the historical and social 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 tend to focus on practical and potentially mundane concerns. This paper asserts that technological human activity is rooted in technological innovation and determinism. The aim is to add to the literature and 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 socio-technological perspective; recognising the value of the subject as cultural rather than a merely technical or as an economic imperative.

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More Information

Uncontrolled Keywords: culture, design and technology education, philosophy of technology, socio-technological human activity
Depositing User: David Wooff


Item ID: 9827
ISBN: 978-1-5272-2507-7
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for David Wooff: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2018 15:19
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 16:07


Author: David Wooff ORCID iD
Author: M McLain
Author: D 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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