JITE v37n4 - From the Editor - Cognition and Industrial Education

Volume 37, Number 4
Summer 2000

Cognition and Industrial Education

In this issue cognition is a concern for several of the authors. DeMiranda and Folkestad make an appeal to link technology education practice to cognitive science believing that technology education practices are well suited to the perspectives generated by cognitive scientists. Schultz speaks against the relationship between technical instruction and cognitive science in a critique of an article written by Herschbach in a prior issue. These authors not only discuss a contemporary issue, but also revive, perhaps, some distinctions between technology education and technical education. Järvinen and Hiltunen report on thesis research from Finland, renewing historical ties to the area of the world responsible for educational sloyd. However, their research is a far cry from educational sloyd in that they explore how children use contemporary technology education activities from a constructivist perspective using qualitative methods.

Cognition and the educational theory of constructivism, which is currently popular in many circles in education, is finally becoming a topic of research and discussion for industrial educators. However, the roots of constructivism are deeply embedded in the literature of industrial arts education. One only has to read Bonser and Mossman's (1923) text, Industrial Arts for Elementary Schools, to see the early linking of industrial arts education to the ideas prevalent in contemporary constructivism and cognitive science. The current interest in cognition is a rebirth of ideas representing both the diminishing of the dominance of behaviorism in learning theory and contemporary advances in the study of cognition (von Glasersfeld, 1995).

The articles in this journal, however, point to an interesting idea, that cognitive science serves as a better foundation for technology education and that behaviorism serves as a better foundation for technical education. These learning theories can support the distinct differences between technology and technical education. Using these very different learning theories as a framework for research and development in each field may help industrial educators to see the distinctions in the fields, thereby, avoiding the error committed by Fryklund (1942) when he said that the main difference between industrial arts and trade education in the high school was the "time devoted to shopwork" (p. 35). Using cognitive science to support the development of technology education should clearly separate technology education from technical education in intent, purpose, and method, a goal we have been unable to achieve, fully, to this date.

Also in this issue, Snyder addresses technology education and interdisciplinary education, reminding technology educators that mathematics and science are not the only disciplines that relate well to technology education. He focuses on communication through language and the literary arts in a discussion of how the humanities integrate with technology education. Rogers provides technology educators with much needed research regarding students' achievement gains via traditional, contemporary, or modular laboratory instruction. More of this kind of research needs to be done in order to aid technology educators as they decide what kind of curriculum that they wish to implement.

Finally, Reed has an interesting book review on the social history of the telephone, reminding us to be inclusive of the social influences of the technological devices that we study.

As a last comment, this is my final issue as editor and I would like to thank the editorial staff and the reviewers who have enabled the continued publication of the journal: Marie Hoepfl, Associate Editor; Assistant Editors Dan C. Brown, Stephen Petrina, George E. Rogers, Richard Satchwell, and John W. Schell; and referees: Thomas P. Bell, David Bjorkquist, Paul A. Bott, Paul E. Brauchle, Jeffrey A. Cantor, Phillip L. Cardon, Robert A. Chin, Rodney L. Custer, Michael Daugherty, John C. Dugger, Thomas Erekson, Rupert Evans, Jeffrey W. Flesher, W. Tad Foster, Gary D. Geroy, James P. Greenan, James A. Gregson, David R. Hillis, Daniel Householder, Quetler Jensrud, Scott D. Johnson, Richard D. Lakes, Howard D. Lee, Theodore Lewis, Charles C. Linnell, James H. Lorenz, Reynaldo Martinez, Brian McAlister, Susan J. Olson, John R. Pannabecker, David J. Pucel, Betty L. Rider, Gene L. Roth, Sam Stern, Warren Suzuki, Dale E. Thompson, Kenneth Volk, Richard A. Walter, Kent Welty, and Brenda L. Wey.



Bonser, F. G., & Mossman, L. C. (1928). Industrial arts for elementary schools. New York: Macmillan.

Fryklund, V. C. (1942). Trade and job analysis. Milwaukee, WI: Bruce.

von Glasersfeld, E. (1995). A constructivist approach to teaching. In L. P. Steffe & J. Gale (Eds.), Constructivism in education. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Tracy Gilmore