The internet can be a great source of ideas for your Design and Technology school projects, but it can also help you with the other skills that you need to learn for your GCSE level qualification. As well as finding sites dedicated to the area of design and technology that you are studying, you can also find plenty of resources online that have been created specifically for students studying a GCSE level course. These resources will help you with information and knowledge that you need to study along with the d&t course, but also offer handy guides to read or download relating to preparing for the summer project.
Are we speaking your language? Then let's get on and see how to ace that d&t course!
Design & Technology GCSE At A Glance
The current content of the GCSE is technical and complicated as well as practical, so it's a great subject for those who want to challenge themselves.
It looks at how things work and what they are made of, but mainly it sets out to teach the basics of product design – so it provides a fundamental grounding for feeding students into working in industry, and to powering our economy.
The skills learned in the GCSE also expand on ideas from other subjects, particularly science and maths.
Teachers comment on how, by applying those concepts in practical, everyday projects, Design and Technology often helps students to develop a true understanding of mathematical and scientific ideas.
Students need logic, analysis, creativity and common sense. The new curriculum will include robotics and computer-aided manufacturing – it’s a long way from subjects like woodwork.
As James Dyson, whose Foundation supports DT in schools, put it: ‘DT inspires young people to go into industry as designers, but also, it inspires creativity and – perhaps most importantly – encourages them to work out their own answers to problems. It gives them vital life skills, whether they go on to become engineers or not – and we downgrade it at our peril.’
The subject is traditionally taken by boys. Yet, in fact, girls accounted for over 41% of people taking the exam in 2013. And the girls are good at it: the gender bias in high results that applies across the board at GCSE is very strong here: of those female students who sat DT GCSE, 26.6% achieved A* and A grades, while only 12.3% of male candidates got these high marks.
If you are ready to be one of the statistics for GCSE Design Technology, and in a good way, then take a look at some of these excellent resources that could help you on your way to success!
Top 10 Resources for GCSE Design Technology
1. BBC Bitesize
The BBC’s Bitesize website is a good place to start if you are looking for help with your course. It has sections for each of the subjects covered by Design and Technology courses, including graphics, electronics and textiles, plus it is in easy to read language. Bitesize is a good place to review the material that you have covered in school and then to test yourself to check that you have understood all of the core ideas. You can find a selection of different resources like tools to download via a link or tips based on a past paper within the section for your subject. This additionally includes revision materials, activities and tests, so there are plenty of ways you can incorporate this site into your preferred revision style.
2. Technology Student
Technology Student has plenty of resources that might help you with the ideas that you encounter during your course. The site has information about the design process and the use of different kinds of materials. There are sections for electronics, graphics and resistant materials, which will be particularly useful for GCSE Design and Technology students, but there are other resources too that could be useful if you want to learn more about technology.
3. Mr DT Site
The Mr DT site features some examples of work by students on GCSE Design and Technology courses, which might help to inspire you with some ideas for your own projects, but it also has some useful tips and resources to help you with the skills you need to develop during your course. You can find tips on how to lay out your product designs, how to plan your project and how to develop your ideas, as well as practical tips for different kinds of projects. This is a very useful site if you want to review a particular topic, but it will be most helpful if you take a look at the resources on offer when you start your coursework as it can guide you through the process of coming up with and implementing your ideas.
4. Design Technology Department
The Design Technology Department website has a selection of quizzes and resources designed around the school subject paper that can help you with the ideas you need to learn for your exams. You can test yourself on your core knowledge of different kinds of materials, or read up on topics that you are revising ahead of the summer final.
5. Practical Action
Practical Action has a section on sustainable d&t that might help you to understand some of the ideas that you have covered in class. The site is intended for teachers, but it is full of resources that you can download via the link to use for your own study purposes.
Many of these sites focus on other areas of Design and Technology, but if you are studying Food Technology for your GCSE, S-Cool has some useful resources to help you to understand the most important topics. The site has notes to review for each idea and questions for you to use to test yourself on what you’ve learned.
Plenty of sites can help you to come up with ideas and techniques that you can use in your course and in the summer exam. Instructables is a good place to start looking, as there are suggestions for a wide range of different products and materials that you could use in your work, but there are also some more specialized sites that are worth checking out if you are interested in a particular type of design. For example, Popular Mechanics has some interesting articles on different kinds of technologies, as well as some useful how to articles that describe the kinds of projects you might like to develop if you are taking a course in electronics or resistant materials.
8. Design Addict
Design Addict is an interesting site if you are looking for inspiration for your GCSE level projects, particularly if you are interested in furniture or jewellery making. The index has information on many famous designers and you can also search for individual products by period, function or material. If you are interested in pursuing design or technology at a higher level, this site will be particularly useful as it gives a good idea of what can be accomplished in this sort of career, including how to get there. If you are intending to study Design and Technology at A Level after your GCSE, you might also want to check the Arkwright Scholarship website to find out if you can apply for support ahead of that summer of exams, when your mind will be fully preoccupied with gcse study.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and has a clear link to the Design and Technology study paper. The website offers a range of resources, along with the learning centre which can be visited. See below for more information about this fascinating centre.
"At the National STEM Learning Centre, we house the UK's largest collection of physical and online resources to support the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
Our resource centre, located at the heart of the National STEM Learning Centre in York, contains thousands of physical resources to browse through, including books, gadgets, DVDs, and a unique archive collection.
Thousands of physical resources are featured on our online collection, allowing you to browse through these resources on our website before you visit the resource centre in York. [...] the resource centre contains thousands of STEM-related resources, perfect for both primary and secondary phases of education."
Twinkl is the last of our fantastic GCSE d&t resources - it helps the student with gathering ideas and inspiration for DT projects. The 'home of teacher-created planning and assessment materials and teaching resources' is great for students and teachers alike, offering so many tips and templates in a range of creative areas such as joining materials, packaging, sewing, cross-stitch, running stitch, DT planning sheets, Design and Technology booklets, reports, experiments and much more!
We hope you found the above resources useful for your subject level. If you know of any more great websites for GCSE students then please feel free to add them to the comments section below.