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Toft, PN
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: other
This thesis documents and evaluates two associated topics of action\ud research in the form of case studies in school technology. Its emphasis\ud is on the role of strategic planning in the management of innovation\ud within this increasingly important area of the English school\ud curriculum.\ud The research was carried out during a period in which British industrial\ud innovation, and its effective management, was seen to be crucial to the\ud nation's economic well being in the face of international competition.\ud Growing acceptance of the importance of technology in general schooling,\ud evidenced by its inclusion in the national curriculum embodied in the\ud 1988 Education Reform Act, is set against the interlinked cultural,\ud epistemological and professional barriers to its acceptance as high\ud status activity within schools. It is argued that considerable energy\ud expenditure is required before the intentions of the Reform Act become\ud reality, and that innovation will need to be effectively managed. The\ud study is therefore set against a review of the literature of innovation\ud management in three spheres: curriculum development; the diffusion of\ud Innovations; and industrial management.\ud The first case study examines the implementation of an innovatory\ud interpretation of the school subject Craft, Design and Technology (CDT)\ud within the City of Manchester Education Authority. It tests the\ud feasibility of developing a 'concept base' approach to CDT by teachers\ud collaborating and being supported by the authority's inspector for CDT.\ud It concludes that the innovation in a simple form is feasible, given that certain conditions and levels of resourcing can be met, but that in\ud a more elaborate form, the innovation is severely problematic. The\ud turbulence and rapid change being experienced within schools in the late\ud nineteen eighties increases the severity of these problems.\ud The second case study describes a project carried out in the North West\ud of England in which various local education authorities and institutions\ud of higher education collaborated to reduce perceived severe qualitative\ud and quantitative shortages of CDT teachers. Five project aims were\ud tested within the research and it is concluded that under certain\ud conditions they are achievable, but that collaboration between\ud institutions with different goals and customs is difficult, and that the\ud quality of management information available to CDT staffing decision\ud makers in the region W4S insufficiently accurate or sophisticated for\ud effective innovation to proceed.\ud In conclusion, certain generalisations are made relating to the\ud effective management of innovation in school technology. These include:\ud the inevitability of transactional distortion of objectives in the\ud journey from intention-to outcome; the need to formulate and understand\ud objectives and defend them from this drift, albeit in flexible ways; the\ud need for incentives and central control in such collaborative\ud endeavours; and finally the need for simple and effective communications\ud within innovations.
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    • 1. Callaghan, James, Autumn 1976, Speech on education, given at Ruskin College, Oxford, reported in Holt, M, 1980, 'Schools and Curriculum Change', London: McGraw-Hill Book Company (UK) Ltd, page 7.
    • 2. House of Commons, 1988, Education Reform Bill, London: HMSO.
    • 3. Dodd, T, 1978, 'Design and Technology in the School Curriculum', London: Hodder and Stoughton.
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