consider how, in the long term, science, technology, engineering and mathematics research and development might be used to create modern design and technology projects, with mathematical and scientific content, to enable schools to keep pace with technological advancesI wonder how anyone can actually keep pace with the advances if they haven't begun with the basics. Kids tend to be much more easily proficient than adults in the use of new technology but have little or no curiosity to understand its inner works and processes. How can you feel competent in the areas of design and technology if you haven't had the actual experience of making things? How can you use materials effectively if you haven't explored their most subtle qualities?
Engagement in the process of making things arouses the curiosity of how things are made. Success in making things leads to confidence in design and manufacturing processes. Simple technologies give the best insight into the fundamental qualities of the materials and their potential use. And all the high tech devices used to advance manufacturing are simple tools writ fast, large and devoid of requirement for operator attention and skill. Is that the purpose of education? To learn to make things faster and without attention or skill?
While wearing our high-tech blinders, we have a temptation as adults to want to launch children into robotics and computer aided manufacturing when they might benefit first by using a saw and hammer and making simple useful things.
Ofsted is the official inspection agency in the UK which studies schools and sets standard for their effectiveness. They publish hundreds of inspection reports each week. This particular report also tells that expensive design technology in schools is often left idle due to lack of teachers trained in its use. But to put a kid at work in crafts is far more simple and direct. No high-tech trained teachers required... just a few old guys who love wood can do the job.