Criteria for the Design and Evaluation of Technology Education Facilities: A Study Involving the Development and Trial of Appropriate Design Criteria

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Waltisbuhl, Alan
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Funnell, Robert
Barry, Owen
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As education systems, in particular Technology Education, adapt to new expectations for secondary students entering an uncertain workforce, the time is appropriate to investigate the need for school facilities to meet these present demands and those that continue to change curricula. This study has been conducted in order to determine the facility requirements for the delivery of the evolving technology/manual arts curriculum in Queensland. A set of validated design criteria for evaluating technology education and vocational education settings was developed and trialed to assist the designer of such facilities to meet the needs of this area on schools designed in different eras from the 1 960s to the present. A review of the published literature would indicate that little has been written on this aspect of facilities design. While related studies have been conducted in North America, they were not confined to the designing of the facilities and only had specific relevance in that country. An expert group consisting of prominent Queensland educators provided the impetus for developing the criteria which had been generated through a systematic search of the literature. The methodology utilised to involve the expert group was the Nominal Group Technique. After the criteria had been developed, they were validated by questionnaire through a 30% random sample of practicing heads of department across Queensland in both state and independent systems. A trial evaluation using current facilities was subsequently conducted to determine the effectiveness of the criteria in terms of teacher acceptability as well as establishing a pattern of needs for modification. Practitioners who use the facility for teaching technology education and/or vocational education could use the set of criteria to evaluate their facility in a similar manner to that of evaluating their students. Such evaluations could then become the basis for ffiture school planning and budgetary allocations as well as asset management of existing facilities. The study proved to be valuable as the validated criteria have the potential of being used as a tool by teachers to evaluate their facilities. At the systems level of operation, the criteria will provide assistance for designers, architects and teachers to prepare informal educational briefs. Such briefs would provide a consistent approach to the some times difficult task of clearly defining the function of a facility. The modem facility must meet the needs of current curriculum and be sufficiently flexible and adaptable to provide the educational requirements well into the twenty-first century. These developed criteria will greatly assist in this process.

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Thesis (Masters)
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Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Center for Learning Research
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Technology education
Nominal Group technique
Education facilities
Design criteria
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