Technology is about the future; it is about changing the world around us to what it might be, or should be. We tell our pupils: “The only limit here is your own imagination; we will help you discover the rest.”
Since technology is ever-changing, there is great scope for introducing ideas through independent research and development based on one’s own inspiration and individuality. The department strives to empower the boys by helping them develop the skills and confidence needed to be at the forefront of this change.
Our projects assist that development in a number of ways, from using cutting edge-technology to create ground-breaking prototypes, to reinforcing the principles of other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects in a creative environment. Projects across all year groups are taught with a combination of both theory and practical work.
From their first day in Year 7, we encourage boys to experiment with some very advanced software. By the time a pupil reaches his A-level studies, he may be creating unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), electronic microscopes, moisture-detecting irrigations systems or music players, to name just a few achievements in recent years.
We hope to nurture the leaders of technological advancement in the future, developing the skillsets and frameworks of analysis that our boys will need. Pupils begin by gaining a basic, conceptual grasp of technological systems and theories; they progress to a very detailed and practically useful understanding of the applications of those theories. We always look at the task at hand from the perspective of a professional engineer, designer, scientist or researcher. Boys are placed into realistic situations encountered by a professional, whether that be meeting deadlines, presenting one’s ideas, discussing solutions with one’s peers or evaluating progress.
All of this takes place in a fun and safe environment which allows the boys to thrive. We approach every project differently, with staff offering bespoke feedback to boys on their work. Pupils are encouraged to delve deeper into their designs, and competition helps in the push for excellence, whether that is against current classmates or through taking the achievements of past pupils as a mark to be surpassed. We want boys to feel a sense of achievement, and encourage every student of Technology, regardless of ability, to create project work driven by the intrinsic motivation which comes from pursuing one’s own interests, passions and ideas.
Many who have graduated from our workshops comment on the usefulness of their experience at university in subjects as diverse as, but not limited to, Aeronautical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Design Engineering, Computer Programming, Physics and Industrial Engineering.
The opportunities QE provides to work with technologies such as CNC-machining, laser-cutting, 3D-printing, electronic systems, programming, turning & lathe work, Computer Animated Design & Manufacture (CAD/CAM), simulation and realistic concept-sketching mean that, as undergraduates, Elizabethans are often ahead of the pack.
In the department, we are also constantly evolving our use of technology in our teaching and see ourselves as being a bringer of innovation and change to this area of education. We use animation, design, simulation and testing software, and we have also brought in video-editing, marketing and recording software, while virtual and augmented reality is also in our sights.
Extra-curricular opportunities abound. There are 3D-printing, drawing and rendering, micro-bit and automotive technology clubs. We also have a range of clubs and activities through which we enter national competitions, such as the Engineering Education Scheme in Year 12 (which has seen QE accrue professional standard awards for health & safety and innovation in the construction industry), the BP STEM Research challenge, Shell Challenge and VEX World Robotics Championships.