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Hardware in Classrooms

Having reflected on a range of hardware options for the classroom and certainly the more modern devices appearing in the classroom since I was a high school student, I feel there is still a place for the sewing machine. As a pre-service Design and Technology teacher, this piece of hardware would provide a mechanism to achieve current curriculum learning objectives.

Acknowledging that there is a change of the look and feel of Design and Technology, Montgomery (2006) as cited in (Lahti, 2012. p179) proposed a shift from a technical approach to a critical approach. Montgomery (2006) states “In the technical approach, the students receive knowledge transmitted from the teacher, whereas in the critical approach, solutions to problems are discovered collaboratively through the investigation process” (p.179).

An interesting news article from The Sydney Morning Herald argue that 3D printers are the sewing machine for the 21st century (Oka, 2015), whilst I don’t disagree with the points made in this article I believe there is a place for both 3D printers and sewing machines in the classroom. Both tools will allow students the ability to create, problems solve and consider ethical consumerism and sustainability in an educational environment.


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What are the benefits and challenges of this hardware device?

Benefits of a sewing machine:

  • Readily available and affordable to purchase and maintain
  • Provide a hands on experience for students; and
  • The sewing machine can be used to bring together a piece of work with many different elements such as 3D printing and digital printed or hand painted/printed textiles.

Challenges of a sewing machine:

  • Needs to be operated with care and Workplace Health and Safety consideration (whilst this may not necessarily be a challenge it’s more prerequisites for operating the machine).
  • Technical knowledge on basic machine operation such as threading and troubleshooting required.
  • If multiple machines in operation at once this could be demanding on the teachers time to support all students.

How does it enhance learning?

Students using the sewing machine will demonstrate:

  • Independence and creativity
  • Problem solving skills
  • Technical skills
  • Critical thinking in terms of garment/item construction
  • Safety requirements
  • Team work as they help and support each other, sharing challenges in construction and their results.


Lahti, H. 2012. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Learning sewing techniques through an inquiry. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.554

Oka, Y. 2015. The Sydney Morning Herald. Why 3D printers are ‘the sewing machine for the 21st century’. Retrieved from