Journal of Technology Education


JTE Editor: Mark Sanders

Volume 2, Number 2
Spring 1991


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EDITORIAL
 
 
           The Integration of Science, Technology, and
                           Mathematics
                         Myth or Dream?
 
                        Gene W. Gloeckner
 
               The achievement level of U.S. science
          students does not compare favorably with
          other countries.  According to the National
          Science Foundation (NSF), the United States
          ranked 8th out of 15 countries on a 5th grade
          science achievement test.  However, by the
          9th grade, students in the United States
          ranked 15th out of 16 countries rated.
               As students enter high school, achieve-
          ment continues to be low in all areas of sci-
          ence.  Physics students ranked tenth among 14
          countries rated.  In biology, the U.S. ranked
          14th out of 14 countries (NSB, 1987).
 
          TABLE 1
          RANKING OF U.S. STUDENTS IN SCIENCE
          ---------------------------------------------
                                              Number of
          Grade             Subject    Rank   Countries
                                                Ranked
          ---------------------------------------------
          5th               Science    8th       15
          9th               Science   15th       16
          High School       Physics   10th       14
          High School       Chemistry 12th       14
          High School       Biology   14th       14
          ---------------------------------------------
 
               The low U.S. student performance may be
          related to the time spent on task.  According
          to the National Science Teachers Association
          (NSTA Report, April 1989), high school stu-
          dents spend far less time in science courses
          than their counterparts in the Soviet Union
          and the People's Republic of China.  Technol-
          ogy education can provide an integrated meth-
          odology for science and increase the time on
          task of our students in science and technol-
          ogy.
 
          TABLE 2
          TIME SPENT ON BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, AND PHYSICS
          ---------------------------------------------
                            U.S.         USSR  PR China
          ---------------------------------------------
          Biology        180 hrs.    321 hrs.  256 hrs.
                           1 year     6 years   4 years
 
          Chemistry      180 hrs.    323 hrs.  372 hrs.
                           1 year     4 years   4 years
 
          Physics        180 hrs.    492 hrs.  500 hrs.
                           1 year     5 years   5 years
          ---------------------------------------------
 
               EVERYBODY COUNTS:  A REPORT TO THE NA-
          TION ON THE FUTURE OF MATHEMATICS EDUCATION
          and PROJECT 2061:  SCIENCE FOR ALL AMERICANS,
          clearly details the value of the integration
          of science, technology, and mathematics:
 
             There are certain thinking skills asso-
             ciated with science, mathematics, and
             technology that young people need to
             develop during the school years.  These
             are mostly, but not exclusively, math-
             ematics and logical skills that are es-
             sential tools for both formal and
             informal learning and for a lifetime of
             participation in society as a whole.
             (AAAS, 1989, p. 133)
 
               From middle school to the university
          level, the data indicate a loss of interest
          in science and mathematics.  According to the
          National Research Council (NRC), approxi-
          mately one-half of the students leave the
          mathematics pipeline each year.  The National
          Science Foundation indicates that out of the
          4 million high school sophomores in 1977 only
          750,000 indicated an interest in natural sci-
          ences or engineering.  That same pipeline
          will lead to less than 10,000 Ph.D.s in 1992.
          NSF predicts a shortage of over 450,000 B.S.
          degrees in natural sciences and engineering
          in the year 2,000 (NSB, 1987).  About 7 out
          of 1,000 U.S. students receive an engineering
          degree, while in Japan, the figure is 40 out
          of 1,000.
               Technology education can help students
          learn the "doing part" of engineering and na-
          tural sciences.  It is necessary for instruc-
          tion to include relevant "real world"
          problems that cause students to practice and
          extend their mathematics and science skills.
          This approach will address the assertion by
          the National Council of Teachers of Mathemat-
          ics (NCTM) that knowledge should emerge from
          experience with real life problems (NCTM,
          1989).  To help accomplish these objectives,
          TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION HAS THE OPPORTUNITY AND
          OBLIGATION TO INTEGRATE SCIENCE AND MATHEMAT-
          ICS INTO TECHNOLOGY ACTIVITIES.
 
                  VOCATIONAL EDUCATION RESPONDS
               National vocational consortium projects
          such as PRINCIPLES OF TECHNOLOGY, APPLIED
          MATHEMATICS, and APPLIED BIOLOGY/CHEMISTRY
          not only discuss the need for such inte-
          gration but demonstrate ways in which the in-
          tegration can take place.  Similarly, the
          Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Tech-
          nology Education Act of 1990 requires that
          such academics be integrated into vocational
          education.
 
                      TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION
               Technology education programs such as
          the ones in Pittsburg, Kansas and Eagle Crest
          and Delta, Colorado have effectively demon-
          strated the value of integrating technology
          with science and mathematics.  Technology ed-
          ucation programs have shown that such inte-
          gration is successful.  Yet our profession is
          slow to change.
 
                           ROADBLOCKS
               The many national and state reports have
          documented the need to integrate science,
          technology, and mathematics.  There are model
          programs and complete curriculum packages
          available to provide such integration.  THEN
          WHY DOESN'T MORE INTEGRATION TAKE PLACE?  I
          believe that several roadblocks occur due to
          the inability of universities and state de-
          partments to support and model such inte-
          gration.
               As an example, most people who have re-
          viewed the Principles of Technology curric-
          ulum realize the value that Principles of
          Technology brings to the student.  The stu-
          dent uses mathematics, physics, and technol-
          ogy to better understand society in much the
          same way that an engineer would use that
          knowledge.  Yet, very few universities will
          accept Principles of Technology as a science
          credit toward entrance into the university.
          This roadblock is communicated to counselors
          and administrators.  Many students fear that
          the university of their choice might frown
          upon such "integrated knowledge" and not ad-
          mit them.  Similarly, universities have to
          deal with a transcript that lists "technology
          education."  In most cases technology educa-
          tion credit does little to excite university
          admission officers.  We, the technology
          teacher educators, must educate the admission
          offices on our campuses.
 
                       LEADING BY EXAMPLE
               Universities provide few examples of the
          integration of science, technology, and math-
          ematics.  Most frequently, engineering, sci-
          ence, and mathematics departments are run as
          theoretical units with little knowledge of
          "doing."  Similarly, many practical arts
          fields such as industrial technology, tech-
          nology education, occupational therapy, and
          vocational education promote the doing with
          little emphasis on the scientific and math-
          ematical base behind the doing.
 
                     COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS
               College entrance exams also work as
          roadblocks toward the integration of math,
          science, and technology.  ACT and SAT exams
          are departmentalized and focus on theoretical
          knowledge with very little, if any, real
          world application.  Many universities across
          the country are clamoring for the integration
          of science, technology, and mathematics, but
          at the same time there is a reluctance to ap-
          preciate the value of high school programs
          that are already accomplishing such inte-
          gration through technology education, Princi-
          ples of Technology, Applied Mathematics, and
          other integrated programs.
 
           ROADBLOCKS TO TECHNOLOGY TEACHER EDUCATION
               As university technology education pro-
          grams try to keep up with the times, they of-
          ten face the following realities:
 
          o   a decreasing undergraduate student popu-
              lation
          o   decreasing university budgets
          o   an older tenured staff that is reluctant
              to change
          o   old, large, and outdated equipment that
              is bolted to the floor with emotional
              ties
          o   a federal budget of $62 billion of which
              two-tenths of one percent support educa-
              tional research (AERA, 1990, p. 5).
 
               Compounding the above problem is the
          fact that technology education has not found
          its home in the K-12 system.  As Rustum Roy
          pointed out in a recent article in this jour-
          nal, (Roy, 1990):
 
             In the American public's belief system
             'Science' is a uniform good.  The Amer-
             ican credo affirms 'more scientific re-
             search' is certain to be good for the
             nation.  In economic terms, it fails to
             distinguish between a 'consumption' and
             an 'investment good.' Without any
             thought or reflection, the U.S. public
             and its leaders base action on the pro-
             position that the supply of 'basic sci-
             ence' is infinite, that science leads
             to applied science which in turn leads
             to technology and jobs.
 
               Yet, Roy gives the following as a more
          accurate description of the science and tech-
          nology relationship:
 
             1.  Technology leads to science more
                 often than science leads to tech-
                 nology.
             2.  Technology and science are not in
                 the same hierarchical plane in hu-
                 man learning.  Technology inte-
                 grates science's results with half
                 a dozen other inputs to reach a
                 goal.
             3.  Teaching technology and about tech-
                 nology is important for all citi-
                 zens, while science is an equally
                 important addition for a small
                 (10-15%) subset.  (Roy, 1990, p.
                 11)
 
                  SOLUTIONS FOR OUR PROFESSION
               Professors in the field of technology
          education must stand up for the value of the
          content.  The integration of science, tech-
          nology, and mathematics will require that
          technology teacher educators work hand-in-
          hand with the other academic areas.  In fact,
          many times the technology teacher will need
          to lead the other academic areas to rational
          decisions.
               For example, at Colorado State Univer-
          sity we are fortunate that our Admissions Of-
          fice recognizes the value of Principles of
          Technology and accepts Principles of Technol-
          ogy as a science course for entrance into the
          University.  Colorado State accomplished this
          by assembling the faculty from the College of
          Engineering and the Department of Physics and
          demonstrating to the faculty the value of the
          Principles of Technology curriculum.  The de-
          partment chair for Physics and the associate
          dean for the College of Engineering then
          wrote a letter to Admissions supporting Prin-
          ciples of Technology as one way of obtaining
          scientific knowledge.
 
                        FINANCIAL SUPPORT
               Over the past year, the National Science
          Foundation and the U.S. Department of Educa-
          tion have supported a wide variety of initi-
          atives that encourage and require the
          integration of science, technology, and math-
          ematics.  Leadership from our national organ-
          ization has helped establish the Technology
          Education Demonstration Program.  Even with
          the political pressure to balance the budget,
          there will be increased support for innova-
          tive programs that demonstrate to the country
          how to produce a person who can understand
          and use the technological tools of our time.
          Teacher education institutions that are suc-
          cessful at acquiring federal and state funds
          will find it easier to overcome the road-
          blocks that face technology education.
 
                 CARL D. PERKINS VOCATIONAL AND
            APPLIED TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION ACT OF 1990
               For most states it is clear that the
          single largest impact on technology education
          will come in the form of the authorization of
          the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied
          Technology Education Act of 1990.  The new
          act emphasizes the importance of technology
          education and the integration of academics
          into occupational education.  We must work
          together to meet the needs of all youth and
          give them the education they deserve.
 
                  THE ACCREDITATION OPPORTUNITY
               Recently, our national organization
          (ITEA), through the Council for Technology
          Teacher Education (CTTE), established spe-
          cific criteria which are used when the Na-
          tional Council for Accreditation of Teacher
          Education (NCATE) evaluates teacher education
          programs.  The new NCATE guidelines clearly
          emphasize the importance of the integration
          of science, technology, and mathematics.
          This peer pressure forces technology teacher
          education institutions to evaluate how they
          can better integrate science and mathematics
          into their technology programs.  In addition,
          the NCATE review causes universities to as-
          semble documentation that may be used to as-
          sist in acquiring additional funds and
          provide support for change.
 
                             SUMMARY
               Although there are many obstacles to the
          integration of science, technology, and math-
          ematics, there has never been a more exciting
          time for our profession to embrace such inte-
          gration.  Nearly every national and state re-
          port on education highlights the importance
          of that integration.  This emphasis on educa-
          tion is causing an increase in federal and
          state funds for technology education and its
          academic counterparts.  We have the challenge
          to follow the CTTE's NCATE guidelines and em-
          brace change and, most importantly, to pro-
          vide the leadership for the integration of
          science, technology, and mathematics.
               Myth or dream?  The integration of sci-
          ence, technology, and mathematics will become
          reality if we, the technology teacher educa-
          tors, respond to federal and state requests
          for proposals, seek the support of science
          and mathematics educators on our campuses,
          and focus on the needs of the middle school,
          high school, and university students.  We
          must be leaders in ensuring that students of
          all ages, gender, and ethnic backgrounds can
          participate in society as "doers and think-
          ers." Technology education provides a
          hands-on, minds-on approach to science and
          mathematics.  The words of Calvin Woodward,
          from more than a century ago, are relevant
          today:
 
                 Hail to the skillful cunning hand!
                 Hail to the cultured mind!
                 Contending for the world's command,
                 Here let them be combined.
                 (Barlow, 1967, p. 36)
 
 
          ----------------
          Gene Gloeckner is Associate Professor, De-
          partment of Industrial Sciences, Colorado
          State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
 
                           REFERENCES
          American Association for Advancement of Sci-
             ence.  (1989).  PROJECT 2061: SCIENCE FOR
             ALL AMERICANS.  Washington, DC.
          American Educational Research Association.
             (1990).  Education R&D's lament (and what
             to do about it).  EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER,
             Research News and Comment.  Washington,
             DC.
          Barlow, M. L.  (1967).  HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL
             EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES.    Peoria,
             IL:  Chas. A. Bennett Co.
          Gollnick, D., & Kunkel, R.  (1990, winter).
             The Holmes agenda and national accredi-
             tation.  THEORY AND PRACTICE - REFORMING
             EDUCATION: THE HOLMES AGENDA.  The Ohio
             State University, Columbus, OH.
          National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
             (1989).  CURRICULUM AND EVALUATION STAND-
             ARDS FOR SCHOOL MATHEMATICS  Reston, VA.
          National Research Council.  (1989).  EVERY-
             BODY COUNTS: A REPORT TO THE NATION ON THE
             FUTURE OF MATHEMATICS EDUCATION.  National
             Academy Press, Washington, DC.
          National Science Teachers Association.
             (March/April, 1989).  NSTA REPORT.
             Washington, DC.
          National Science Board.  (1987).  SCIENCE AND
             ENGINEERING INDICATORS.  Government Print-
             ing Office, Washington, DC.
          Roy, R.  (1990).  The relationship of tech-
             nology to science and the teaching of
             technology.  JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY EDUCA-
             TION, 1(2), 5-18.


          Permission is given to copy any
          article or graphic provided credit is given and
          the copies are not intended for sale.
 
Journal of Technology Education   Volume 2, Number 2       Spring 1991

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