Most students entering or graduating from high school have taken few if any courses in technology education, but they should!
Technology education is the study of the human ability to create and use tools to shape the natural environment to meet their needs (Wikipedia). Technology Education has evolved from Industrial Arts and Manual Training. Industrial Arts programs were also known as “shop classes”. Today, technology education students generally work in labs and perform laboratory-type activities, such as developing solar-powered race cars or designing bridges. It is problem-based learning that utilizes math, science and technology principles. Studies Involve:
* Designing, developing, and utilizing technological systems
* Open-ended, problem-based design activities
* Cognitive, manipulative, and effective learning strategies
* Applying technological knowledge and processes to real world experiences using up-to-date resources
* Working individually as well as in a team to solve problems
Although organizations such as the ITEA (International Technology Education Association), NASA, and the National Science Foundation are pushing for more hands-on, technology education courses to be integrated into the ‘normal’ high school curriculum, it is not occuring. If they do exist, they are electives that compete with the required curriculum.
Every year the list of required classes grows larger and funding for all courses seems to dwindle. Technology education classes often have material costs associated with them, so they tend to be one of the first electives cut. When the University first required a second langauage, for example, we watched technology education and “shop” classes get replaced by language classes at nearly every high school in the state. (Drafting, even though it is a language known world-wide, didn’t count as a language.)
It makes me wonder, what would happen if technology education classes were required in high school and our electives were reading, writing and arithmetic? Tell me what you think?
John Hartman, A.S., B.S., M.S.
Northwest Technical Institute