Cherie's Reflection

The What

The KLA Technology syllabus introduced me to ways of working that I had not considered in the past ( QSA 2003). The technology practice strand of the syllabus was a significant focus of the assignment. Identifying the needs based issue that the team ended up acting upon was quite easy. There is much need for many things in our daily lives, what wasn't so easy however, was coming up with a viable and cost effective solution to the identified need. The technology practice cycle is a very practical cycle and it flows logically with the way that I generally work when I encounter a problem, this was the first time that I actually compartmentalised and identified those phases for myself. Even within these phases however there is some liquidity as they flow over and intermingle with each other.
The investigation phase was quite a challenge as the investigations kept the team searching for non existent solutions to the issue of providing handy access to the essential needs of a mother for her new born baby. By researching on the internet we were able to take a world-wide view of solutions to the problem, and none existed. As each new challenge to the process was identified it involved more investigation, ideation and modification to the product.

Team work was of vital importance and the skills of listening, negotiating and decision making were well supported throughout the entire project.The flow of ideas and information had to be easily accessible, which is why this wiki site was created. I enjoyed revisiting a creative side of my personality that I have not been able to exercise for a couple of years now. I also enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that I gained with each achievement and each skill that I regained throughout the process. Sewing the apron was quite a fiddly and precise activity with little room for error. Materials can be quite unforgiving if you make errors in their use, one wrong cut could have destroyed the material which was relatively costly. Errors within the material stage had the potential for the entire project to turn out wrong. The project relied heavily on the specialised skill of sewing and access to specialised sewing equipment and has rekindled my interest in it.

The technical side of production and using specialised machinery was a challenge as the sewing machine that I dragged out from the depths of my hallway cupboard was in dire need of a service. I had to cope with the ongoing challenge of frequently breaking cotton and needles and called on the services of my husband to tinker with it. He, being a longstanding tinkerer, was able to get my machine working almost perfectly and I am even more glad that I am married to him! The fact that I was unable to source a pattern for the apron could have been quite a challenge however that was in fact a minor hurdle to overcome.

The So What

I have learned that working in a creative and supportive team environment reduces the work load for each team member. Active listening is the most important skill for an activity such as this. Managing the people, resources ,opportunities and constraints involved decision making that I felt well equipped for (QSA 2003). I believe that while there is breath in your body and at least two neurons that synapse occasionally in your brain the concept of being a life long learner is possible.

My own personal 'technological skills and dispositions' (QSA 2003 pp2) were developed throughout the project. Our produced solution was the most appropriate for the identified need (QSA 2003). Drawings, diagrams and other graphic representations of ideas are often more valuable and easy to understand than written and oral information. Our team was able to justify the choice of solution to the problem ( QSA 2003)

The phases of the technology practice cycle proved to be interrelated and recursive. Modifications that I made to the design of the pockets in response to a failure of the product to meet practicality needs saw me immediately evaluating those modifications (QSA 2003). The materials chosen for the project were done so on the basis of knowledge of their characteristics ( e.g. were they safe for mother and baby?), knowledge about their source and suitability to meet the specific need. The testing of the materials is time related and will need to be assessed after some use of the product (QSA 2003).

So what now?

Having 'worked technologically' and seeing the ease of use and logic of the technology process, I will be able to assist my learners in the future to also utilise and embrace the process. The wealth of needs in our own community and even in our own homes will be a never ending source of inspiration and challenge. If students in my class identify a need within our classroom then as a learning manager I should seize that opportunity to work technologically with my learners and inspire the owners of our future to imagine and create (Fleer & Jane, 2004)

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