Collaborations and communications among students engaged in D&T activities
Designing and making an artefact, whether it is a simple bag, a puppet for a puppet show or a windmill model, requires students to visualise and depict the spatial relations between components and assemblies.
Design involves mental transformations (translations and rotations), analogical and functional reasoning, and the use of conventions and notations (icons, symbols, referent labels) while depicting. In the course of designing students make judgements about material properties, and estimate material shapes, sizes and quantities. Making the artefact enhances manipulative and fine motor skills. Most importantly, in D&T tasks, the skills are practised and knowledge applied in authentic problem solving settings. The recordings of formal and informal communication within and across groups, which provided data in terms of students’ conversations and non-verbal interactions, were analysed for their content and evidences of collaboration using a framework developed for the purpose.
Mehrotra, S., Khinyakari, R., Natarajan, C., & Chunawala, S. (2007). Dialogue in formal communication: A study of students’ talk in a D & T unit in India. In C. Natarajan and B. Choksi (Eds.). Proceedings of epiSTEME2: International conference to review research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (pp.73-78). India: HBCSE.
Mehrotra, S., Khunyakari, R., Natarajan, C., & Chunawala, S. (2009). Collaborative learning in technology education: D&T unit on puppetry in different Indian socio-cultural contexts. International Journal of Design and Technology Education, DOI 10.1007/s10798-007-9037-1.
Mehrotra, S., Khunyakari, R., Chunawala, S. & Natarajan, C. (2009). Evidences of learning through collaboration in design and technology tasks in Indian classrooms. In K. Subramaniam and A. Mazumdar (Eds.), Proceedings epiSTEME-3: An International Conference to Review Research in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education. Mumbai: Macmillan Publishers India Ltd.
Mehrotra, S., Khunyakari, R. P., Natarajan, C. & Chunawala, S. (2006). Learning technology through collaboration: D&T unit for boys and girls in different Indian socio-cultural contexts. In Volk, Kenneth (Ed.) Articulating Technology Education in a Global Community. Proceedings of the International Conference on Technology Education in the Asia Pacific Region, January 05-07, 2006, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, pp280-290.
All of the above projects formed part of a doctoral thesis:
Mehrotra, S. (2008).Introducing Indian middle school students to collaboration and communication centred design and technology education: A focus on socio-cultural and gender aspects. Doctoral Thesis. Mumbai: HBCSE, TIFR Deemed University.