The Shop is Open but the Customers are Staying Away: Student Perceptions towards Design and Technology in a Western Australian Context
20/20 Vision: Learning from the last 20 years and looking forward to the next 20
Technology Education New Zealand
Place of Publication
Hamiltion, New Zealand
School of Education / Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies
The number of students studying Design and Technology (D&T) education at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Western Australia (WA) has fallen over the past few years. This is despite an increasing shortfall in the workplace leading to many graduate job opportunities. In addition to this the demographics of the student population in D&T varied greatly from that of education students more generally with a very high male proportion. In the context of this the researchers set out to examine the perceptions of existing school of education students towards D&T to determine if preconceived views relating to the area of D&T were discouraging study in the area. An online survey was developed and delivered in 2014 via a Qualtrics (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) commercial survey engine, with questions influenced by a paper survey used at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. The voluntary participation survey was administered to School of Education students via the universities learning management system. A total of 173 student responded 72% of whom were female giving a sample that roughly parallels the schools male/female population. Amongst the findings is a clear indication that before entering university many students’ views towards design and technology are biased and stereotyped based upon school experiences. In particular the perception is that, while seen as creative, design and technology is about men making things. This paper discusses these findings and their implications for the School of Education.