Smart Product Design and Manufacture – QAN 603/3070/3

Statement Purpose

Who is this qualification for?

This qualification is for students aged 14-16 as part of their Key Stage 4 programme of study. It is designed for students who are interested in the design and making of modern products and systems, electronics and programing, and those interested in understanding how modern products ‘work’ and gain a deeper understanding of how technologies contribute to products. It will give learners a general introduction and practical experience of modern product development as well as provide a good foundation for those who want to progress to further study in creative or technical subjects.

Who might be interested in taking this course?

Students who are interested in design, engineering and technology or considering further study or careers in these subjects should consider taking the qualification.

This qualification is also suitable for those who are simply curious. Curious about how modern technology works, curious how they can use maths and science in practical ways to help understand and solve real world type problems, curious about 3D printing/digital design. The qualification provides something different to what candidates may normally expect to be offered at school and a great way to broaden student’s understanding of modern technologies and skills.

What will the student study as part of this qualification?

You will study:

  • Modern digital design and manufacturing tools like Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture
  • “Smart” electronics – sensors, LEDs, other components programmed by mini-computers, or microcontrollers, which are at the heart of Smart products
  • How to come up with new ideas, how to test and show off your ideas through making digital and physical prototypes using the above technologies – in essence you will begin to experience modern Smart product development processes similar to those found in industry.

You will gain a broad set of understanding, knowledge and skills in the above areas. You will learn the basics of CAD/CAM which is an essential tool for further studies in design and engineering. You will learn to use basic electronic components and how to program which will be useful for further studies in IT, computing or other technology subjects.

You will also develop an understanding of project development, the complexities of working with multiple technologies and platforms, and start to develop your own intuition based on practice experience of how to make project development successful (and things not to do!). These project skills will prepare you well for further study, and indeed in future careers, in a number of subjects like engineering, industrial product design, computing, and even STEM subjects such as medicine.

Very few industries are left untouched by modern digital technologies, and this qualification is a good general purpose technical qualification to help you practically understand how digital product work and lay the foundations for future studies.

Which subjects will complement this course?

A number of subjects complement the study of Smart Product Design and Manufacture at KS4.

Learners with early interests in future careers in Engineering, Industrial Design should study this qualification alongside GCSEs in Maths and Physics or another science. This will support the understanding of a number of areas in the qualification including geometry, logic, and electronics. Equally the study of SPDM can motivate learners in those subjects by seeing mathematical and scientific concepts such as axes, voltages applied in realistic contexts.

For learners who are thinking about further study or an eventual career in design or creative subjects we advise studying the qualification alongside GCSEs or equivalents in Art, English. We would still recommend candidates study maths as it will support the understanding of more technically challenging aspects of the course.

If subject options permit, other subjects to complement Level 2 SPDM would be GCSE or Technical Awards in Engineering, Computing or Media. Although there is some simple overlap with these other subjects via the use of similar tools or terminology, L2 SPDM does not go into depth on areas such as mechanical principles, traditionally associated with Engineering), in depth study of graphics design and use of presentation tools like Adobe suite (usually covered in media subjects) or detailed study of more complex algorithms (covered in computer science). Studying these other subjects would add further dimensions to candidate’s understanding of product requirements.

However we appreciate the reality of choosing subject options at KS4 is rarely straightforward and candidates may have the opportunity to choose the above recommend subject to study alongside Level 2 SPDM. At KS4 as long as the candidates have good level of numeracy and competency comparable to GCSE Maths and English, they should do well on the course as all essential skills required for the qualification are covered within the course content itself.


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