Models for Implementing Technology Education in Queensland Primary Schools
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This study examines models for the introduction of technological literacy in technology education in primary schools in Queensland. The study focused on the use of a model derived from one by Morgan (1994a) called The Practitioner's Model of Technological Literacy. The study also examined the development and implementation of a teacher inservice package and student resource material which primary school teachers could utilise to implement a technology based teaching curriculum in their classrooms. Morgan's Practitioner's Model of Technological Literacy was conceptualised through a number of principals listed as: Technical, conceptual, personal, and social. These are defined in the following manner for each dimension. Technical; is comprised of technical capability and proficiency, the utilisation of technology (or design) process, and being at ease with established and emerging technologies. The conceptual dimension is defined as an understanding of the nature of technology, its diversity of meanings and applications in our society; understanding how things work and how solutions can be generated as well as the capacity to judge the adequacy of propositions and solutions given an understanding of the developmental nature of technology. The social aspect of the model encompasses a sensitivity to the dependency of society upon technological solutions and an awareness of the influence of technology upon a democratic society. Finally the personal dimension is bounded by a critical capacity to assess the appropriateness of technology in a variety of settings along with a sense of empowerment to innovate, confront and appreciate the value dependent nature of technology in a world view that it integrated against a background of sustainability. (Morgan, June 1994: 8). This study combines the notion of technological literacy with current Education Queensland policies. These include policies on Active and Informed Citizenship and the principles of Effective Learning and Teaching. The case study approach of this thesis examined seven units of technology curriculum (each labeled at site) and how the units of work were implemented. It detailed the progress made during each unit and allowed for student and parent feedback to triangulate data that was collected. The methodology enabled multiple data gathering techniques to be employed during the study. Many interactions between students and teachers, teacher and class and researcher as participant observer were captured in each site at some time during the course of the study. The confirmation of practice occurred through the data triangulation between researcher and teacher, researcher and students and researcher and parents. Each facet of the phased study provided a broader and more comprehensive picture than if singular researcher observations had been recorded. The study involved three phases. Each phase of the study provided professional development in technology education for the teachers in the study which was then applied in the writing of technology curriculum teaching units and enacted within the classrooms of each site. The results were analysed according to the methodology outlined. At the outset of this study few teachers had any prior experience in technology education and none had encountered the term technological literacy. The results of the project were positive in that teachers with little or no prior knowledge of technological literacy, the concepts it embodied and the principles which underpinned the model all progressed to varying degrees along a continuum of heightened awareness, The new knowledge gained by the teachers was then actioned into teaching and learning programs that were evaluated. During the technology curriculum teaching units students did produce artefacts as an outcome of the technology education process they had undertaken. A constructivist approach was actively encouraged and this method assisted teachers and students in looking for new and multiple ways of solving design briefs. For the most part teachers were surprised at the high quality of solutions and depth of problem solving and interaction students produced during and after the technology curriculum unit. The study suggests that despite the difficulties of introducing technology education programs in primary schooling, it is possible to do so. The key features for successful implementation would seem to be an understanding of the process for implementing such a curriculum program in a classroom. The teachers confidence to engage in problem solving that may lead to a student engaging in learning activities that are beyond their current knowledge base grew during the study. Being willing to allow students to 'take risks' in order to arrive at alternate solutions. To provide for multiple solutions and be confident in providing guidance. The teachers in each of the sites each noted their changing roles, to be a facilitator of learning rather than the knowledge holder. Constructivist teaching using this model has shown that students alter their approach to learning and become active investigators who seek solutions to real work problems as active participants. Given the recent publication of a Syllabus for Technology 1 to 10 in Queensland, (Queensland School Curriculum Council, August 2001) and the upcoming implementation of the syllabus and support documents in 2003 it is timely that this study should look at methods of promoting an awareness of the principles that informed this document.
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
School of Vocational, Technology and Arts Education
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