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Technological practice (TP)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

7-1 | 7-2 | 7-3

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3

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6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

7-1 | 7-2 | 7-3

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3

Nature of technology (NT)

6-1 | 6-2

7-1 | 7-2

8-1 | 8-2

Design in technology (DET)

6-1 | 6-2

7-1 | 7-2

8-1/2

Manufacturing (MFG)

6-1 | 6-2

7-1 | 7-2

8-1/2

Technical areas (TCA)

8-1 

Construction and mechanical technologies (CMT)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3 | 6-4

6-5 | 6-6 | 6-7

7-1 |  7-2 |  7-3 |  7-4

7-5 |  7-6 |  7-7

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3 | 8-4

8-5 | 8-6 | 8-7

Design and visual communication (DVC)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

7-1 | 7-2 | 7-3

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3

Digital technologies (DTG)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3 | 6-4

6-5 | 6-6 | 6-7 | 6-8

6-9 | 6-10 | 6-11 | 6-12

7-1 |  7-2 |  7-3 |  7-4

7-5 |  7-6 |  7-7 |  7-8

7-9 |  7-10 |  7-11 |  7-12

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3 | 8-4

8-5 |  8-6/7 | 8-8 | 8-9

8-10 |  8-11 | 8-12

Processing technologies (PRT)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

7-1 | 7-2 | 7-3

8-1/2 | 8-3


Technological systems TK 6-3

Achievement Standard 1.7 AS91050

Technological systems are a set of interconnected components that serve to transform, store, transport, or control materials, energy, and/or information. These systems exist as the result of human design and function without further human design input. Technological system knowledge includes an understanding of input, output, transformation process, and control.

Achievement Objective: TK 6-3

Students will:

  • Understand the implications of subsystems for the design, development, and maintenance of technological systems. 

Indicators

Students can:

  • explain the variety of roles played by subsystems in complex technological systems
  • explain the implications of using subsystems during the design, development and maintenance of complex technological systems
  • describe examples to explain how control and feedback requirements impact on subsystem use.
  • discuss examples to illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of subsystems employed in particular technological systems. 

Progression

Prior to level 6 students must have an understanding of the nature of systems, how they are defined and be able to communicate using specialist language and diagrams system related details.

At level 6, students should already understand the concept of a technological system. They should progress to understand the implications of subsystems for the design, development, and maintenance of technological systems. At this level students would also understand the concepts of control and feedback requirements and the role of subsystems within complex technological systems

The Teacher Guidance section provides information that supports teachers scaffolding of learning from levels 1-8 of the curriculum. This allows for differentiation of a programme of learning.

The deliberate use of provide, guide, and support in this section signals that as students' capacity for self-management increases, teachers progressively reduce the level of scaffolding provided.

  • Provide – the teacher should take full responsibility for introducing and explicitly teaching new knowledge, skills or practices.
  • Guide – the students have a level of understanding and competency on which they can draw but the teacher remains primarily responsible for continuing to develop these.
  • Support – the students take primary responsibility for their own learning, drawing on all their previous experiences to consolidate and extend their understanding. The teacher is supportive rather than directive.
  • The Teacher Guidance also uses the term ensure to indicate when the teacher plays a monitoring role to check that conditions critical for learning are present.

Teacher Guidance

To support students to develop understanding of technological systems at level 6, teachers could:

  • guide students to understand the role subsystems play in the design, development and maintenance of complex technological systems. Complex technological systems are those designed to change inputs to outputs through more than one transformation process.
  • support students to identify why subsystems may be "black boxed" for development and/ or maintenance purposes and guide them to understand how this can result in both advantages (reduced need to understand all aspects of the system, ability to replace faulty subsystem without disrupting the entire system) and disadvantages (trouble shooting can be difficult).
  • guide students to understand how control and feedback at a system level allow "back up" or "shutdown" subsystems to be employed to reduce malfunction and/or component damage
  • support students to analyse examples of how subsystems have been selected and used in particular complex technological systems.
  • support students to use examples to gain insight into how the use of subsystems can impact on system design, development and maintenance
  • examples should include system design, development and maintenance practices of technologists.

Contexts for teaching and learning

  • Teachers need to ensure students have a fundamental understanding of what a technological system is as opposed to any other type of system such as a biological system or the tax system! Technological systems are a set of interconnected components that serve to transform, store, transport, or control materials, energy, and/or information. These systems exist as the result of human design and function without further human design input. Technological system knowledge includes an understanding of input, output, transformation process, and control. Technological systems can be electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic, or mechanical.
  • The focus at curriculum level 6 is on understanding the role of subsystems within technological systems. Subsystems are smaller systems in their own right within the bigger technological system. Which ever technological systems are investigated it is important that at least two subsystems are obvious within that technological system and how the subsystems work together is apparent.
  • In some situations it may be possible for students to explore the concepts of subsystems within the systems they are designing and developing themselves. However, in many cases it will be necessary to look at existing technological systems in order to develop the depth of understanding expected about how different subsystems work together within a technological system. Even if students are studying systems they have designed and made themselves (e.g. an electronic project) it is still likely to be beneficial to explore existing systems to broaden the students understanding of how different subsystems work together within a technological system. Case studies, Internet research, guest speakers, and site visits are all useful ways to study systems. There are case studies on Technology Online that have a focus on technological systems. See links below.
  • Teachers should select technological systems to study that are relevant to the overall programme and will be engaging and interesting for students. As stated above it is not a requirement that students need to design or construct the subsystem they are investigating.
  • There is a specialised language associated with technological systems that need to be covered in the teaching and learning programme. Diagrammatic representations of the systems are important when discussing a system. Different contexts have their own specialised conventions such as circuit diagrams in an electronic system or a flow diagram for a hydraulic system.

Literacy considerations

  • Ensure students understand the difference between a technological system and any other type of system such as a biological system, a social system, or a system (process) of production.
  • Teachers need to ensure students understand the specialist language related to technological systems such as "technological system", "subsystem", or "control and feedback".
  • Students will need to understand the specialised language of the context they are working in; i.e. the specialised language of electronics as it relates to subsystems.
  • Students also must understand the language necessary to communicate their understanding about technological systems at this level.
  • They will need to clearly understand describe, explain, and discuss.
    • to describe is a statement that gives details about the outcome or idea
    • to explain is to describe in detail with reasons – often including the how and why
    • to discuss requires an explanation that is comprehensive, detailed, broad and show evidence of some complexity in thinking. It may be a reasoned argument presenting a particular point of view, or a comparison and contrast between two ideas or concepts; or it may be a detailed reasoning and relationship between several complex ideas 

Resources to support teaching and learning

Case studies

Assessment for qualifications

The following achievement standard(s) could assess learning outcomes from this achievement objective:

  • AS 91050 Generic Technology 1.7: Demonstrate understanding of the role of subsystems in technological systems

Key messages from the standard

  • The starting point for this standard is identifying a technological system as opposed to any other type of system such as a biological system or a managerial system or the tax system! Teachers need to ensure students have this fundamental understanding right before they start. Technological systems are a set of interconnected components that serve to transform, store, transport, or control materials, energy, and/or information. These systems exist as the result of human design and function without further human design input. Technological system knowledge includes an understanding of input, output, transformation process, and control.
  • The focus at level 6 is on the concept of subsystems. Explanatory note 3 states that the technological system(s) must have clearly identified subsystems and known functions. Explanatory note 4 defines a subsystem as a smaller technological system with its own intended function within the overall technological system.
  • The standard requires subsystems (plural) so at least two subsystems need to be identified within the technological system and then understanding of at least two subsystems has to be carried through the report.
  • It is recommended that students do not use their own project work as the technological system to be studied as unless the project work is particularly complicated it is unlikely to allow the scope for students to talk about how subsytems work together.
  • Teachers should ensure students cover everything asked for in the standard so for example at achieved level students need to include three things:
    • Identification of the two (or more) subsystems
    • Describing the role of the two (or more) subsystems
    • Describing how the two (or more) subsystems worked together to allow the technological system to function.

They could not achieve if they left one of these out or if they only talked about one subsystem.

  • There are clear step-ups in the level of thinking required for each achievement grade. Achieved requires "identify and describe". Merit requires "explaining". Excellence requires "discussing". Teachers should spend time in class ensuring students understand what these words mean and how to ensure their reports are written at the appropriate level.
  • To get better than an achieved grade students had to be able to explain how control and feedback allow subsystems to function. To quote the 2013 assessment report “A significant number of candidates failed to gain merit or excellence grades as their explanations of feedback, and in some cases control, were incorrect. Feedback in technological systems does not include how the system gives information about its operation to users of the system; feedback is a self-regulating feature of technological systems and occurs without human interaction. In addition, a significant number of candidates incorrectly referred to loops within program code as feedback paths”.
  • To get better than an achieved grade students had to explain (at merit) or discuss (at excellence) advantages and disadvantages of subsystems in technological systems. The advantages and disadvantages are plural so students should have more than one advantage and more than one disadvantage.
  • At excellence it is expected that students will discuss the implications of subsytems on all three of design, development, and maintenace of technological systems.
    • Encourage students to think about the most appropriate way to present evidence. Annotated photos, screenshots, and diagrams are a particularly good way to illustrate the system and the subsystems within it and the accompanying description can give further detail.
    • It is important that students only submit material they understand. They should write in their own words about their own experiences, explaining their own understanding. Students should reference material that is not their own using appropriate referencing at the point of use. The use of information from other sources can assist the candidate to demonstrate understanding only where the candidate uses the information by one or more of the following:
    • interpreting or rewriting the information in their own words
    • relating the information to a specific context or example
    • commenting meaningfully on the information. 

For the most up to date information, teachers should be referring to the latest standard, assessment specifications, assessment reports and student exemplars on the NZQA website. Refer to links below. 

Resources to support student achievement

Last updated June 8, 2018



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