Student Life & Learning

Design & Production Education

Pārekareka – Enjoying ourselves

Design Production Education (DPE) is an exciting learning area at Rāroa Normal Intermediate, that has undergone a radical transformation. The driver for change was the development of a new school-wide curriculum. The now completed curriculum is framed by 8 guiding principles – ‘The Rāroa Principles and Fundamentals of Learning.’

These principles underpin all learning which occurs at Rāroa. The three most significant principles which have shifted how spaces are used and how students operate in DPE are:

  • Personalised Learning – Flexible system(s) that is built around the learners’ needs and interests with the aim to develop self-regulated learners.

  • Knowledge – Ako, Wānanga – Creating relevant knowledge to use in authentic contexts including future focussed, as they arise on a “just-in-time” basis.

  • Socially Constructed Learning – Ako – The organisation of learning should be highly social so that learners have opportunities to teach each other and collaborate.

The organisation of  learning should be highly social so that learners have opportunities  to teach each other and collaborate.

The Design Production Education (DPE) area is now a specialty area that challenges students in ways, unlike any other learning area. Our students work analytically and creatively to solve authentic problems. They trial and create potential solutions to these problems by putting their innovative ideas into practice.

In Technology, students learn the practical and academic skills essential for high achievement in life.

The systems and structures that have been put in place to enable the students to develop lifelong skills are grouped into three areas.

Toolsets, Skillsets, and Mindsets.

The Toolsets in DPE are the Context-specific ‘tools’ and/or ‘knowledge’ in a given area. These are learning about, and how to use, the ‘tools’ that they will be able to draw upon during the design process.

The Skillsets –  These are future-focused skills that will prepare the students for success across multiple disciplines and prepare students for their futures. They include collaborative working skills, communication skills, critical thinking, questioning, and problem-solving, as well as developing agency and self-organization. In DPE this skill development is framed by the design process.

The Mindsets are the values we hold as most important.  Mindsets are why we do what we do and how we overcome challenges and strive to achieve. At Raroa these relate to our school vision –  ASPIRE to Achieve. The Mindsets in DPE are outlined in the table below.

Another significant achievement is the integration with the classroom. Traditionally, technology departments have run completely separately from the rest of the school, and each subject has a silo of its own. By working alongside learning programmes, complementing the knowledge and skills within students’ current inquiries we are increasing the relevance, creating partnerships, and bridging the gap between the classroom teachers and technology teachers. The results have been impressive with celebrations which have been attended by hundreds of parents.

The Learning Street was built in 2016 to complement the move to a more design-based approach. ‘The Street’ is a design hub that links the specialist areas. One of the catchphrases for Learning Street is, ‘The ideas should shape the rooms, not the rooms shaping the ideas’.

In technology, our students are involved in:

  • generating ideas
  • identifying real needs
  • planning
  • designing
  • reflecting and evaluating
  • thinking critically
  • meeting stakeholders needs
  • making modifications
  • problem-solving
  • teamwork
  • managing their time and resources