Technology and technological developments have given rise to profound changes in society, transforming how we access and process information, how we communicate with others and how we work and solve problems.
The MYP holistic approach to teaching and learning acknowledges that inquiry and problem solving contribute to students’ development of thinking skills and strategies that will equip them to face the rapidly changing demands of the 21st century.
MYP technology aims to provide the means and the context to help students become skillful problem solvers, who can appreciate the role of technology in everyday life and society and who can respond critically and resourcefully to real‑life challenges.
The MYP Design course intends to:
• challenge all students to apply practical and creative‑thinking skills to solve problems in technology
• encourage students to explore the role of technology in both historical and contemporary contexts
• raise students’ awareness of their responsibilities as world citizens when making decisions and taking action on technology issues.
Characteristics of the subject
Technology is one of the eight subject groups in the MYP with defined aims, objectives and assessment criteria. Therefore MYP technology is a subject group in its own right, on a par with any of the other subject groups of the MYP programme.
Inquiry and problem solving are at the heart of MYP technology. During the five year course, students are expected to solve problems using technology. MYP technology uses the design cycle as the model of thinking and the strategy to help students investigate problems and design, plan, create and evaluate the products/solutions that they generate. A product/solution can be defined as a model, prototype, product or system that students have generated independently. This means that MYP technology expects students to become actively involved in and to focus on the whole design process rather than on the final products/ solutions.
MYP technology requires the use of the design cycle for solving problems in technology and promotes a practical and inquiry‑based approach. This helps students to develop not only practical skills but also creative- and critical‑thinking strategies.
MYP technology branches
Technology and technology developments are based upon the foundation of the use of information, materials and systems. MYP technology expects students to become aware of this fact through their involvement in the technology courses developed by the school. Therefore, over the five years of the programme, the MYP technology courses developed by the school should give students the opportunity to explore how the branches of information, materials and systems are used in technology and to contribute to the development of products/solutions. It is acknowledged that schools offering both computer and design technology courses will allow students to create a wider range of outcomes and therefore will provide them with a broader appreciation of the role of information, materials and systems in the products/solutions generated. However, schools offering only computer technology, for example, due to the inherent nature of this subject (where the focus and the role of materials is not as prominent as in design technology), would have to ensure that through teaching and learning strategies, students are provided with opportunities to explore and reflect on how materials are used in other forms of technology.
MYP technology enables students to identify, access, evaluate and acknowledge a wide range of information sources. Information‑based products/solutions use and/or communicate information to perform a task, achieve a purpose, meet a need or solve a problem.
In many cases creating a product/solution involves using materials. These may be natural or synthetic, and will differ according to geographical location, culture and available resources. Students should be able to identify, combine, experiment with, shape and handle different types of materials, and safely dispose of, or recycle, waste products. Students must select processing techniques that are appropriate to both the chosen material(s) and the product/solution to be created.
Note that in computer technology, due to the nature of the subject, the range of materials available for use may be less extensive than in design technology.
Students need to recognize the parts of a system (input, processing and control, and output) as well as the crucial role each component plays as part of the whole. Students should create systems‑based products/ solutions involving a group of interdependent items that interact to perform a task or achieve a purpose.
These items may be materials, components or information that have been incorporated into a system in order to provide a solution to a problem.