Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies_Introduction

Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies

Introduction

The ability to design and make, acquire skills as needed, and apply technologies is important in the world today and a key aspect of educating citizens for the future.

The Applied Skills learning area has been re-envisioned as a K–12 program and renamed. The new Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies (ADST) curriculum is an experiential, hands-on program of learning through design and creation that includes skills and concepts from traditional and First Peoples practice; from the existing disciplines of Business Education, Home Economics, Information Technology, and Technology Education; and from new and emerging fields. It envisions a K–12 continuum fostering the development of the skills and knowledge that will allow students to create practical and innovative responses to everyday needs and problems.

K–5 Foundations

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 will have opportunities to develop foundations in Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies within the context of existing curricula.

The curriculum provides Big Ideas and Curricular Competencies for Kindergarten but does not include any Content learning standards. The intent and requirement is that teachers use the learning standards for Curricular Competencies from Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies
K–5 with grade-level content from other subject areas to provide students with cross-curricular opportunities to develop foundational mindsets and skills in design thinking and making.

In the early years, students will be given opportunities to develop foundational skills in Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies through exploratory and purposeful play. As they get older and develop an interest in knowing how things work and making things that work, they will have opportunities to develop foundational skills in activities that have a practical and real-life focus. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 will develop the skills for design thinking and a maker mindset in cross-curricular contexts that they will bring to future explorations in Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies.

Grades 6–9 Explorations

Students in Grades 6 to 9 will have opportunities to explore specific areas of Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies while continuing to build their design thinking and foundational skills.

The Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies 6–9 curriculum encompasses content from the four existing Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies disciplines (Business Education, Home Economics, Information and Communications Technology, and Technology Education) and new and emerging fields, and provide opportunities for choice, modularization, and a variety of delivery options. This approach provides provincial recognition of the variety and scope of existing locally developed middle years programs and a template for the development of additional
local programs.

As a result of their explorations in Grades 6 to 9, students may begin to show particular interest in and aptitude for specific Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies areas and set more specialized learning goals.

Grades 10–12 Specializations

Students in Grades 10 to 12 will have opportunities to specialize in a specific area or to continue to explore their interests in more than one area. The specialization might be within the disciplines Business Education, Culinary Arts, Home Economics, Information and Communications Technology, Media Arts, Technology Education, or Tourism, across these and other areas, or in emerging disciplines. The specialization might be driven by students’ desire for practical skills in a particular area, their interests and passions, or their plans for post-secondary education or careers. This will allow students in Grades 10 to 12, who are becoming increasingly independent, to personalize their learning by pursuing interests that are relevant to them.

Features of the ADST curriculum

  • There is a renewed focus on designing and making, the acquisition of skills, and the application of technologies
  • The ADST curriculum is now a provincial curriculum for K–12 that can be delivered in different ways at different grade levels
  • There is a common set of curricular competencies for all of the ADST (formerly Applied Skills) curricula that can also be used as a template for locally developed options now and in the future

Design of the ADST curriculum

Big Ideas

The Big Ideas of the ADST curriculum are derived from the Curricular Competencies. The Big Ideas are intended to capture a progression of learning in applying design processes, skills, and technologies, as shown in the chart below. 

  K–3 4–5 6–8 9–10 11–12
Applied Design Designs grow out of natural curiosity. Designs can be improved with prototyping and testing. Design can be responsive to identified needs. Social, ethical, and sustainability considerations impact design. Products can be designed for lifecycle.
Applied Skills Skills can be developed through play. Skills are developed through practice, effort, and action. Complex tasks require the acquisition of additional skills. Complex tasks require the sequencing of skills. Personal design interests require the evaluation and refinement of skills.
Applied Technologies

Technologies are tools that extend human capabilities.

The choice of technology and tools depends on the task. Complex tasks may require multiple tools and technologies. Complex tasks require different technologies and tools at different stages. Tools and technologies can be adapted for specific purposes.

Curricular Competencies

The Curricular Competencies are organized under three headings:

  • Applied Design
  • Applied Skills
  • Applied Technologies

The Curricular Competencies under Applied Design are further organized under subheadings that reflect general stages of designing and making. For Grades 4 to 12, these are:

  • Understanding context
  • Defining
  • Ideating
  • Prototyping
  • Testing
  • Making
  • Sharing

Elaborations for the Curricular Competencies provide definitions for clarity.

The subheadings for Kindergarten to Grade 3 are simplified in order to be developmentally appropriate; for example, young children do not prototype, test, and make as discernibly separate stages when they are designing and making through exploratory and purposeful play. The three stages of Applied Design that are identified for Kindergarten to Grade 3 encompass all of the stages of designing and making that are identified at higher grade levels, but in a naturalistic and developmentally appropriate way. They are:

  • Ideating
  • Making
  • Sharing

An important feature of the ADST curriculum is that the Curricular Competencies do not change for every grade. They remain the same for Kindergarten to Grade 3, and then there are sets for Grades 4 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 10, and 11 to 12. Even then, the changes are quite incremental. This aspect of the curricular design is intended to provide a consistent focus for both students and teachers on the “doing” aspect of the curriculum and to encourage student metacognition.

Students use and develop the core competencies of creative and critical thinking, communication, and the personal and social competencies through the Curricular Competencies of ADST. The chart below gives some examples (but not an exhaustive list).

  K–3 4–5 6–8 9–10 11–12
Thinking

Generate ideas from their experiences and interests

Add to others’ ideas

Generate potential ideas and add to others’ ideas

Screen ideas against the objective and constraints

Generate potential ideas and add to others’ ideas

Screen ideas against criteria and constraints

Take creative risks in generating ideas and add to others’ ideas in ways that enhance them

Critically analyze and prioritize competing factors, including social, ethical, and sustainability considerations, to meet community needs for preferred futures

Take creative risks to identify gaps to explore as design space

Critically analyze how competing social, ethical, and sustainability considerations impact designed solutions to meet global needs for preferred futures
Communication Demonstrate their product, tell the story of designing and making their product Demonstrate their product and describe their process Demonstrate their product and describe their process, using appropriate terminology and providing reasons for their selected solution and modifications Demonstrate their product to potential users, providing a rationale for the selected solution, modifications, and procedures, using appropriate terminology  Share their progress while making to increase feedback, collaboration, and, if applicable, marketing
Personal and Social Explain how their product contributes to the individual, family, community, and/or environment Determine whether their product met the objective and contributes to the individual, family, community, and/or environment Identify the personal, social, and environmental impacts, including unintended negative consequences, of the choices they make about technology use Evaluate the personal, social, and environmental impacts, including unintended negative consequences, of the choices they make about technology use Analyze the role and impact of technologies in societal change, and the personal, social, and environmental impacts, including unintended negative consequences, of their choices of technology use

Content

The ADST curriculum does not specify any Content learning standards for Kindergarten through Grade 5. The intent is for teachers to use the Curricular Competencies from ADST K–5 with grade-level content from other areas of learning to provide students with cross-curricular opportunities to develop foundational mindsets and skills in design thinking and making. For example, students might design and build something based on the Content learning standards in the Science or Social Studies curriculum.

For Grades 6 to 12, the Content is concept-based and includes learning standards for the four existing Applied Skills disciplines (Business Education, Home Economics, Information Technology, and Technology Education) and for new and emerging fields such as Media Arts.

Content learning standards are stated as topics. This creates the space for students to personalize their learning by making choices about what they design and make and the depth and breadth of their learning on a particular topic based on their own interests and passions. The generality of the Content learning standards also facilitates inclusion by allowing the teacher or the student to adjust depth and breadth to match abilities.

Grades 6 to 9 are intended as exploration years. For Grades 6 and 7, this is a new provincial curriculum; for Grades 8 and 9, it is a redesigned curriculum.

The curriculum provides one set of Content options for Grades 6 and 7 that are intended to be short modules that may be offered in rotation. Over the two years, students may be exposed to several of these and perhaps other locally developed options that also use the Curricular Competencies of ADST with locally developed content. This approach provides provincial recognition of the variety and scope of existing locally developed middle years programs and a template for the development of additional local programs.

There are separate sets of Content options for Grade 8 and Grade 9. These may be offered as modular rotations of varying length, as is common for Grade 8 now, or as full-year courses, as is often the case in Grade 9 now. The Content elaborations are non-mandatory curricular supports that suggest possible depth and breadth for teaching concepts.

The Content options for Grade 10, 11, and 12 have been significantly redesigned and reorganized to build on the new program in Kindergarten to Grade 7 and the redesigned program in Grades 8 and 9, to maintain a focus on designing and making, and to reflect developments in the domain. Some courses have been combined, some have been eliminated, some have been renamed, and some have been moved to and from other learning areas. Economics 12 has been moved to the Social Studies learning area; new Computer Science 11 and 12 courses have been developed in the Mathematics learning area; and Media Arts 10–12, with a focus on the application of digital technologies, has been moved to the Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies learning area. These elective courses are intended to offer students opportunities
to continue exploring their interests or to specialize in an area of interest.

Considerations for delivering ADST

At all grade levels

  • The focus on hands-on designing and making, acquisition and honing of skills, and choosing and applying technologies requires a high degree of student choice, although there may still be a place for common activities for specific purposes — for example, to introduce new skills or equipment, to communicate safety procedures, or to explicitly focus on one aspect of the design process
  • The curriculum is inclusive of modern and traditional First Peoples design, skills, and technologies. Students should have opportunities to learn from local First Peoples. This will require an understanding by both students and teachers of appropriation issues and that some knowledge is considered sacred

Kindergarten to Grade 5

  • Students can be given opportunities to develop foundational skills in ADST through exploratory and purposeful play, and through designing and making activities related to the content in other areas of learning. This is already a normal practice in K–5 classrooms and will not require additional time or resources
  • A single set of Curricular Competencies for Kindergarten to Grade 3 provides common language and continuity for the first four years
  • Another set of Curricular Competencies for Grades 4 and 5, with more stages delineated for Applied Design, encourages students to take a more purposeful approach to designing and making

Grades 6 and 7

  • The curriculum is designed to be modular to allow for choice and a variety of delivery models depending on school configuration and student interest
  • The requirement will be that students experience a minimum of three modules of ADST in each of Grades 6 and 7. Schools may choose from among the modules provided in the provincial curriculum or develop new modules that use the Curricular Competencies of ADST 6–7 with locally developed content. Locally developed modules can be offered in addition to, or instead of, the modules in the provincial curriculum
  • Schools that currently have an exploratory rotation may choose to continue with that delivery model for ADST. Schools that do not currently have an exploratory rotation may wish to develop one, or to teach ADST modules in an integrated cross-curricular way with other areas of learning

Grades 8 and 9

  • Schools will be able to accommodate the redesigned ADST curriculum within their current delivery models
  • The curriculum may be offered as modular rotations of varying length, as is common for Grade 8 now, or as full courses, as is often the case in Grade 9 now
  • There are more Content learning standards for Grade 9, as schools often offer these as full courses
  • Schools are expected to offer students the equivalent of a “full-year” program in ADST. This can be made up of one or more modules
  • Schools may choose from among the modules provided in the provincial curriculum or develop new modules that use the Curricular Competencies of ADST 8 or 9 with locally developed content. Locally developed modules can be offered in addition to, or instead of, the modules in the provincial curriculum
  • As the new ADST curriculum has explorations starting in Grade 6, schools may wish to offer students more choice in Grades 8 and 9 than was offered previously

Grades 10 to 12

  • Schools will be able to provide a variety of elective courses in Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies to meet student interests
  • Current Board/Authority Authorized (BAA) courses remain approved. School and districts interested in revising BAA courses or developing new ones are encouraged to use the Curricular Competencies that are common for all Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies courses.  
Last updated: September 5, 2017