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 A Debate

2008 PATT conference


For more than two decades technology education has been striving to position itself in the main stream of the curriculum as a discipline in its own right. On the one hand, some claim that the community of technology educators should stress the role of technology education in fostering students’ general intellectual skills or higher order thinking skills, such as problem solving, creative thinking, critical thinking and teamwork. The problem is that educators in other fields, for example, science, mathematics, history and geography, claim exactly the same thing.

Can we refine and define this contribution to the wider agenda of general education?



On the other hand, there are members in our community who think that we must focus on the unique knowledge and skills students acquire in learning technology. For example: design, technological literacy , epistemological knowledge on the nature of technology and its contribution to humankind, the advantages and disadvantages of technology, or specific knowledge in subjects such as computing, electronics, control systems and robotics. The problem with this view is that some educational researchers or decision-makers would argue that this knowledge is essential for only a small portion of school graduates, or that it is too complicated and expensive to teach these subjects in school, since technology is changing all the time. Those members might not consider the contribution question as an issue or at least see the contribution of technology education to general education only as a by-product of technology education


2 Responses

  1. HI A,

    Essentially it should not be a debate about if, how, when and where technology (as in ICT) should be a discipline in its own right or how it can be integrated into the mainstream curriculum, but how, when and where it can make learning happen in a more effective way.

    There are so many great tools about and we are getting completely lost in them. So for me it is just a question of opening ourselves (and of course our learners) up to lifelong learning in any way and if ICT can make it happen more effectively, then we must use it!

  2. Hi Ariellah

    I started teaching technology this year after teaching electronics, mathematics, science, industrial technology, radio and TV theory for three and a half years and NVC workshop practice for half a year a the College Of Cape Town.

    I have attended one of your workshops recently and was quite impressed. “Alamaskas.”

    It might be possible that the perception with teachers is related to their lack of exposure to what is really happening in industry. Perhaps this could be rectified by creating opportunities for exposure. When I walk into any factory, I see a multitude of technological structures and processes and systems and controls staring back at me from every angle.

    I spent ten years in a trade and twelve years selling engineering equipment to industry, ranging from small businesses to large corporates and so have quite a good understanding of what learners need to be able to do to be employable.

    Train the teachers and expose them to industry and there may be a completely different concept of the value of the subject.

    A thought came to mind concerning the perception that was mentioned previously concerning the number of learners that would benifit from technolgy. They don’t all have to become engineers or factory workers but the type of thinking that has an insight into the processes that result in a piece of paper and a pen landing on their desk and being forwarded through to its final destination may make a difference in at least a few ways.

    The bottom line is teacher attitudes so I’m glad your company is here for us.

    Thank you


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