Innovation and risk-taking in primary design and technology: issues arising from the evaluation of the pilot phase of the curriculum development project ‘Butterflies in My Tummy.’ IN: Norman, E. and Spendlove, D. (eds). The Design and Technology Association International Research Conference 2009. [Loughborough University, 30 June - 2nd July]. Wellesbourne : The Design and Technology Association, pp. 37-46.
Developing the ability to innovate is at the heart of design and
technology education. Innovation and risk-taking go hand in
hand as novice designers have to deal with the uncertainty
involved in creating something new. However, there has been
little research undertaken into this important area with primaryaged
children. This paper reports on the evaluation of a pilot
project which sought to combine the teaching of designing
skills with Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL), an
area which currently forms part of the national primary strategy
in England. ‘Butterflies in My Tummy’ was developed by The
Design and Technology Association in collaboration with
Shropshire primary schools, supported by funding from The
National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts
(NESTA). The pilot stage (2007-8) involved trialling activities
and teaching strategies with 506 children aged 8-11 and 18
teachers based in 18 different schools. Data was gathered
from teachers and children through questionnaires at the
outset of the project and towards the end of the trial period.
Follow up interviews with children and teachers were carried
out in a sample of 4 schools.
This paper discusses the findings from the evaluation of this
project and identifies issues that need to be considered when
incorporating specific activities and strategies into curriculum
planning to support the development of innovation and risktaking.