Journal of Technology Education


JTE Editor: Mark Sanders

Volume 4, Number 1
Fall 1992


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Technology Education: Prospectus for Curriculum Change
 
          Michael R. Kozak
 
               Starr (1988) documents the United States as being in an
          ever weakening global position.  For example, he reports on
          the demand for an increasingly educated and technical work
          force and contrasts this with the supply of high school
          graduates ill equipped for either college or the work force.
          Many Americans find today's rapidly changing world a
          bewildering and alien place to live and to work as they
          intentionally, or unintentionally, recoil from the technical
          means upon which they must rely and try to cope and adapt
          (Bensen, 1991).
                This editorial examines how the United States is
          failing in its attempt to educate and professionally prepare
          our youth.  The critique is followed with a proposed
          technology education teacher preparation curriculum that
          attempts to reflect today's global, technological society.
 
          UNITED STATES SOCIETY BASED ON GLOBALIZATION
               A recurring theme in contemporary society is
          globalization.  The expanding growth of world output
          crossing national boundaries, because of dramatic advances
          in transportation and information services, has advanced the
          concept of a one-world economy.  Somewhere in the world,
          markets are open.  Products are commonly produced in one
          country utilizing materials from a second country and
          exported for sale to still others.
               No American firm can afford to assume that it is
          impervious to foreign competition. In addition, an
          increasingly larger number of United States firms are
          looking overseas for opportunities.  A technology education
          teacher preparation curriculum should include the concept of
          globalization.
 
          UNITED STATES SOCIETY BASED ON TECHNOLOGY
               Technology may be defined as the systems and objects or
          artifacts that are created using knowledge from the physical
          and social worlds (Friedman, 1980).  Key descriptors of a
          definition for technology, according to Barnes' (1990) study
          include:  a) innovation; b) invention; c) creativity; d)
          extension of human capabilities; e) system of tools,
          knowledge, and behaviors associated with the exploitation of
          the environment; and f) social, economic, political, and
          environmental impacts.  A technology education teacher
          preparation curriculum should include the latest advances in
          technology.
 
          UNITED STATES EDUCATION:  A FAILING GRADE
               While globalization and technological changes are taken
          for granted in today's business and industrial arena,
          education seems to be much more inwardly-focused.  The
          United States public educational system is not only
          supplying unprepared entrants for college and for the
          technical work place, but even worse, it is misleading them
          into believing they are qualified to compete successfully in
          a modern and demanding technologically global society
          (Meriam, 1991).
               Most of the United States population is not being
          properly educated to function in the everyday world of the
          next century--a time in which technologically literate
          citizens must make critical decisions affecting the global
          community.  For example, when asked in a Gallup poll what
          kind of work engineers perform, 35 percent of "average
          Americans" surveyed stated they run trains, manage boiler
          rooms, or simply do not know (Lohman, 1991).  Over 3,000
          students drop out of high school each day in the United
          States and 75 percent of American high school youth never
          graduate from college (Thomas, 1987).
 
          PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION AND EDUCATION
               Japan's manufacturing is, for the most part, highly
          robotized, yet the educated human element is still a high
          priority.  The Japan Productivity Center, established in
          1950, contends that the basic view of productivity is a
          respect for people in order to promote human welfare (Orr,
          1990).
                Professional preparation programs in the United States
          tend to place less emphasis on general education (liberal
          arts) courses and a much greater emphasis on subject
          specialty courses.  However, the Stanford Institute for
          Research on Educational Significance on High Technology has
          stated:  "Everyone should have strong analytic, expressive,
          communicative, and computational skills as well as extensive
          knowledge of political, economic, social and cultural
          institutions" (National Advisory Council on Continuing
          Education, 1984, p. 8). A technology education teacher
          preparation program should include professional preparation
          and a liberal arts education.
 
          TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
               Any technology education program development effort
          should takeplace within the concept of a defined totality.
          The human adaptive systems (ideological, sociological,
          technological), are a totality as identified by White
          (1959).  Human adaptive systems are open systems which are
          dynamic, tend towards growth and differentiation, and stress
          a continued renewal process.  Ideological systems are those
          that comprise basic belief systems such as values and social
          norms.  Sociological systems refer to structured
          relationships among people.  Technological systems pertain
          to the manipulation of the physical world to meet basic
          needs of survival and to extend human potential (Lauda &
          McCrory, 1986).
 
          Major Concerns
                Determining the appropriate distribution of
          professional preparation and liberal arts courses should be
          a major concern in a technology education teacher
          preparation curriculum.  Zuga (1989) stresses that program
          development should be based on intellectual processes that
          also make critical thinking, problem solving, creativity,
          and selfconfidence major concerns.
                Public school instructors, by virtue of the fact that
          they are in daily contact with today's youth and tomorrow's
          possible leaders, must themselves be educated in the liberal
          arts, appreciate the globalization of society, and be
          professionally prepared to understand the concept of
          constant technological change.
                Recent writers seem to stress this general approach to
          the study of technology. Kozak and Robb (1988) wrote that
          technology education emphasizes technology as a part of the
          humanities, the arts and the sciences, and can acquaint all
          persons with their technological environment so they can
          make rational decisions about their own lives and control
          their own destiny.  Zuga (1989) stated:  "The evolution of
          technology education goals has reflected a drift towards
          more liberal education ideals" (p. 34).  According to Wright
          (1988), the technology educator should adopt the
          social/cultural approach for improving the awareness of how
          humankind interacts with technology.  Perhaps at no other
          time in history is there a greater need for university
          technology education teacher preparation programs to be
          pro-active rather than reactive.
 
          SUGGESTED PROGRAM IN TECHNOLOGY TEACHER EDUCATION
               The technology education teacher preparation curriculum
          should include, in addition to the latest technological
          advances, the following:  a) state and university mandated
          requirements (these cannot be ignored), b) core curriculum
          courses, c) globalization concepts, and d) professional
          preparation courses.  (see Table 1)
 
          TABLE 1
          PROPOSED TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAM
          -----------------------------------------------------------
 
          State/University Mandated Courses
          History                 6 s.h.    Political Science   6 s.h.
          English                12 s.h.   Physical Education   4 s.h.
 
          Core Curriculum
          Art                     3 s.h.                Music   3 s.h.
          Chemistry               4 s.h.           Philosophy   3 s.h.
          Computer Sciences       3 s.h.              Physics   4 s.h.
          Dance/Drama             3 s.h.           Psychology   3 s.h.
          Economics               3 s.h.            Sociology   3 s.h.
          Mathematics             6 s.h.
 
          Globalization Concept
          Foreign Languages      12 s.h.   Cultural Diversity   6 s.h.
          International Internship    6 s.h.
 
          Professional Preparation
          Technology: Materials   9 s.h.   Technology: Energy   9 s.h.
          Technology: Information 9 s.h.  Technology: Control   9 s.h.
 
          Education Methods (Including Student Teaching)       18 s.h.
 
 
                                 Total      144 s.h.
          -----------------------------------------------------------
 
 
                If a liberal arts education is to be a major concern,
          then a core curriculum should be considered with courses, if
          possible, in every department in every college and/or school
          in a university.
                To address "globalization":  a) communication skills
          in a second language such as Spanish, German, Japanese, or
          Russian; b) cultural diversity; plus c) an international
          internship would be possibilities.  Today's typical
          technology education program includes approximately 130
          semester hours.  However, a full-time student at a
          university could take 18 semester hours per semester for
          four years, a total of 144 semester hours.  Therefore, Table
          1 is an example of a proposed 144 semester hour technology
          education teacher preparation program that includes:  a)
          state/ university mandated courses, b) a core curriculum, c)
          globalization concepts, d) professional preparation in
          technology and e) professional preparation for teaching.
 
          CONCLUSION
               An old story concerns giving a starving person a fish
          so that the individual will live for another day, or
          teaching the person to fish so as not to starve ever again.
          In today's world, with constantly changing technology,
          teaching a person to fish is no longer sufficient; the
          individual must be educated so that as fishing methods
          change, the individual will know how to learn to stay
          competitive and survive in the technological fishing
          industry of the future.  In addition, with the technological
          advances in the fishing industry, the individual will have
          more free time and should also be educated to appreciate
          what the world has to offer.
 
 
          REFERENCES
 
          Barnes, J. L.  (1990).  A future perspective for defining
              and organizing the study of technology.  The Journal of
              Epsilon Pi Tau, 16(1), 26-30.
          Bensen, M. J.  (1991).  Educational perspectives on
              technological literacy.  In M. J.  Dyrenfurth & M. R.
              Kozak (Ed.), Technology literacy (pp. 119-137). Peoria,
              IL:  Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.
          Friedman, E. A.  (1980).  Dimensions of technological
              literacy in liberal education.  The Forum for Liberal
              Education, 3(3), 1-3.
          Kozak, M. & Robb, J.  (1991).  Education about technology.
              In M. J. Dyrenfurth & M. R. Kozak (Ed.), Technological
              literacy (pp. 28-50).  Peoria, IL:
              Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.
          Lauda, D. P. & McCrory, D. L.  (1986).  A rationale for
              technology education.  In R.E. Jones & J. R. Wright
              (Ed.), Implementing technology education (pp. 15-46).
              Encino, CA: Glencoe.
          Lohmann, J. R. (1991).  Myths, facts, and the  future of U.
              S. engineering and science education.  Engineering
              Education, 81, 365-371.
          Meriam, J. L. (1991).  The decline of academic standards.
              Engineering Education, 81, 405-407.
          National Advisory Council on Continuing Education.  (1984).
              Continuing education and the American workforce.
              American Education, 20(3), 4-11.
          Orr, J. P.  (1990).  The factory of the future--another
              option. The Journal of Industrial Technology, 6(4), 1-3.
          Starr, M. K.  (1988).  Global competitiveness: Getting the
              U.S. back on track.  New York:  W. W. Norton.
          Thomas, J. C.  (1987).  Technology education:  The
              appropriate threads for a complex tapestry.  In
              Technology literacy:  The roles of practical arts and
              vocational education (pp. 175-178).  Columbus, Ohio:
              The Ohio State University.
          White, L. A.  (1959).  The Science of Culture.  New York:
              Grove Press.
          Wright, J. R.  (1988).  Social/cultural approach.  In W. K.
              Kemp & A. E. Schwaller  (Ed.), Instructional strategies
              for technology education (pp. 762-86).  Mission Hills,
              CA: Glencoe.
          Zuga, K. F. (1989).  Relating technology education goals to
              curriculum planning. Journal of Technology Education,
              1(1), 34-58.
 
 
          ___________________
          Michael R. Kozak is Associate Professor, Department of
          Engineering Technology, University of North Texas, Denton, T
  
 
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Journal of Technology Education   Volume 4, Number 1       Fall 1992

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