The James Dyson Foundation is a prominent charitable organisation established by Sir James Dyson. The foundation aims to support and inspire the next generation of engineers and designers by promoting engineering and design education. Its mission is to encourage young people to develop their problem-solving skills, foster their creativity, and ignite their passion for innovation.
Through their Blueprint 1000 membership and in collaboration with Design and Technology Association they delivered a comprehensive full-day primary Design and Technology course at its headquarters in Malmesbury. This case study highlights the course’s key features, objectives, and the invaluable support it provided to primary school educators in bridging the gap between industry practices and the D&T curriculum.
The primary D&T course brought together educators and industry experts to explore innovative teaching approaches. Mark Johnson, Senior Principal Engineer at Dyson, shared his insights on supporting Neurodiverse pupils in the field of D&T and offering practical strategies and resources. Attendees engaged in hands-on activities using Dyson’s ‘Challenge Cards’ and had the opportunity to contextualize D&T lessons to create captivating learning experiences. Additionally, the course included an in-depth site tour and hands-on practical activities to deepen understanding.
The primary D&T course aimed to achieve several objectives, including enabling educators to contextualise D&T within their schools, discussing strategies to support neurodiverse pupils, providing practical Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities using James Dyson Foundation resources, and enhancing knowledge of the work and processes at the James Dyson Foundation. Educators also gained insights into implementing an iterative design cycle in their teaching methodologies.
There was positive feedback from participants with attendee Helen Mitchell from White Waltham CofE Academy stating that, “The course was brilliant – really thought provoking and lots of useful and practical advice to take back to school. Great to hear about the range of resources Dyson has to offer schools too.”
Keren Wynn of Colerne CofE Primary School explains, “The meeting was excellent and so worthwhile. All the speakers were brilliant. The venue was amazing and we were all looked after really well. I came away thinking about a new approach to how we teach D&T in our school.”
The primary D&T course hosted by the James Dyson Foundation at their Malmesbury headquarters proved to be a highly valuable opportunity for primary school educators. By connecting the foundation’s innovative work with the D&T curriculum, teachers gained fresh perspectives, acquired practical strategies, and accessed valuable resources to enrich their teaching methods. The event exemplified the James Dyson Foundation’s dedication to supporting education and nurturing creativity among the engineers and designers of the future. Through this collaborative effort, educators were empowered to inspire their students and foster a lifelong passion for design and technology.
Danya Walker, James Dyson Foundation Project Manager comments, “For us it was a great day, an opportunity to share our resources and demonstrate how the challenge cards could be used within Primary schools.”
Collaborating with educators enables active participation in the development of the future workforce. By sharing industry expertise can help shape the skills and competencies of students, preparing them for the demands of the job market.
By bridging the gap between academia and industry, the foundation strives to empower individuals to tackle real-world challenges and make a positive impact through their inventions and designs.
For us it was a great day, an opportunity to share our resources and demonstrate how the challenge cards could be used within Primary schools.
“The course helped me understand the importance of problem-solving and not being afraid to take risks.”
“The challenge cards and mini-tasks provided great opportunities for problem-solving and building resilience.”
“The resources and information provided by Dyson were really accessible and helpful for incorporating design technology in the classroom.”
“I learned that it’s not about the polished product, it’s about the process.”
“Really valued the emphasis on problem-solving and not being scared to have a go which I will bring into the classroom.”
“I like that idea of having a carousel one afternoon, to set up those challenge cards and do problem-solving.”