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Curriculum strands

Specialist strands

AOs/LOs by level

Technological practice (TP)

6-1 | 6-2 | 6-3

7-1 | 7-2 | 7-3

8-1 | 8-2 | 8-3

Technological knowledge (TK)

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


Manufacturing (MFG)

6-1 | 6-2

7-1 | 7-2


Technical areas (TCA)


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

Characteristics of technology NT 8-1

Characteristics of technology: Students develop an understanding of technology as intervention by design.

Achievement objective: NT 8-1

Students will:

  • understand the implications of technology as intervention by design and how interventions have consequences, known and unknown, intended and unintended.


  • Discusses technology as intervention by design and explain the impacts and implications of this.
  • Discusses why technology can challenge people's views of what it is to be 'human'.
  • Critiques the role of technology in the development of sustainable environments.
  • Discusses future scenarios where technology plays out different roles, and justify projected impacts.


At level 8 students have progressed to demonstrate their ability to critically evaluate technological issues. This includes the responsibilities of technologists and the implications of technological developments.

Teacher guidance

To support students to develop understanding of characteristics of technology at level 8, teachers could support students to:

  • critically analyse examples of technological developments and their consequences, known and unknown and intended and unintended, to gain insight into the social responsibility technologists have due to the interventionist nature of technology. Examples should allow students to gain insight into how technology has real and long term impacts for the made, natural, and social world. Students should be supported to discuss the implications this has for technological collective responsibility
  • understand that technology can challenge people's views of what it is to be 'human'. Contexts for exploration could include contemporary developments in the area of communication technologies, artificial intelligence, human-robotic interfaces, second-life gaming, genetic engineering, nanotechnology 
  • explore and critique the role of technology in the creation of sustainable environments. This would include discussion of such things as the ethics of designing for limited technological outcome lifespan, designing to comply with minimal engineering ideals, utilising and developing sustainable materials, reducing energy consumption and waste, developing and managing socio-technological environments.

Contexts for teaching and learning

  • Student investigation of selected technological developments can occur in parallel with their own technological practice, or during a concentrated period of in-class time with a major focus on this activity.
  • Support students to understand how to explore and use past and contemporary evidence in order to predict probable future trends relating to their chosen technological development within a field of technology.
  • Support students to understand that technological developments can have multiple consequences, both intended and unintended, known and unknown. Technological development can impact on:
    • the made world, for example, the development of new materials and techniques enables design improvements and system innovation, leading to innovative new consumer products, or the link between consumer preferences and technological innovation has resulted in rapid product development and an increase in the infrastructure and environments required to support new developments
    • the natural world, for example, how the field of development contributes to scientific knowledge and extending the potential market for new technologies has increased consumer uptake but has also impacted on product lifespan, creating life cycle issues
    • the social world, for example development and use of electronic games can have negative social and physical consequences.
  • Support students to understand the responsibilities of technologists. These can be both individual and collective, and they arise within the broader environment where technologists work, for example, social, physical, cultural, political, economic, and spiritual environments. Technologists have a responsibility to address factors such as:
    • the protection of life and the safeguarding of people
    • societal and community wellbeing, for example, the wellbeing of the communities in which programme-related facilities are located
    • sustainable management and care of the environment, for example, efficient use of resources. A useful resource is the thinking an ethics tool section found on the Biotech Learning Hub
  • Engage students in broad discussions on what it means to be human, including concepts such as:
    • human needs and wants, for example issues relating to protection, creation, affection, leisure
    • human characteristics, for example, flexibility of movement, adaptability to different environments, natural evolution in body characteristics
    • human intellect and will, for example, the importance of making decisions and providing choices
    • natural variation, for example, body shape and size, motor skills, dexterity ( adapted from Assessment Resources 3.8 A&B)
  • Support students to decide on a technological development within the chosen field, for example, within the field of sport it could be the use of carbon fibre sports equipment or the use of smart materials in racing suits:
    • Research the technological development.
    • Use their findings to create a report that explains the consequences of the technological development and identifies probable future developments.
    • Explain the impacts technological developments have had on the made, natural, and social world.
    • Discuss how the consequences of a technological development (for example, the Carbon fibre equipment) have influenced the responsibilities of technologists working in the field sport over time.
    • Discuss why technological intervention has challenged people’s perceptions of what it means to be human - the extension of human capacity in the field of sport, related to speed and buoyancy, or strength with the use of particular racquets or other pieces of equipment or clothing.
    • Discuss probable future technological developments in this field of technology, justifying their predictions by referring to past and/or contemporary evidence.
    • Acknowledge all sources of information that were used. Materials must be referenced to their source.

NOTE: Discussion does not relate to the comparison or contrasting of aspects of the interventions but a reasoned explanation and argument that covers the aspects in the bullet points above. This could be a comparison of pre intervention of the development to the performance or position post intervention or a discussion relating to the relationship between certain factors.

  • Use a suitable case study that highlights the responsibilities that the technologist had to deal with, for example:
    • Invite a visiting technologist/ Future inTech Ambassador to talk about their own decision making process to make complex decisions. Answer student’s pre-prepared questions that focus on identifying the responsibilities they had to address when developing their product.
    • Pose the following Victor Papanek topic as the subject of debate: "Whether designers, architects, and engineers can be held personally responsible and legally liable for creating tools, objects, appliances, and buildings that bring about environmental deterioration".
    • Critically analyse a range of innovative technological outcomes/developments from the past and present and looking to the future such as Made of Glass (Display Technologies Corning).
    • Discuss technology as intervention by design and explain the impacts and implications of this by critically analysing case studies of technological developments, for example: data storage, genetic modification, medicine-antibiotics, aviation, functional foods, smart materials, Nutrigenomics.
    • Introduce the concept of ‘challenging what it is to be human’ by watching clips such as:

Literacy considerations

Teachers will need to support students to: 

  • develop understanding of specialist vocabulary and concepts such as:
    • what defines a field of technology
    • the consequences of the intervention of a technological development
    • the responsibilities of a technologist.
  • use research tools to investigate the chosen technological field and development
  • use evidence to predict probable future outcomes
  • understand that a field of technology is a broad area of intervention by design. Specific fields in which technological developments may take place include such fields as: medical, sporting, communication, entertainment, food, textiles, gaming, and military. Priorities that govern specific fields include sustainability, profit, human desire and/or need, attitudes to existing technology (ies).
    In all fields, priorities for development can be shown to be driven by a number of different variables. These include attitudes towards existing technologies, human needs and/or desires, financial gains, and sustainability.

Resources to support student achievement


Case studies relating to characteristics of technology


Assessment for qualifications

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

  • AS91615 Generic technology 3.8: Demonstrate understanding of consequences, responsibilities and challenges involved in technology

Key messages from the standard

Allow sufficient time for students to develop the breadth and depth of the evidence required to meet the requirements of the standard. Presentation of a report covering this aspect of work for assessment would be an individual task but investigation and exploration could be a group or class activity. Material and understandings may inform practice or be a separate set of key understandings related to a separate activity

Last updated June 8, 2018