JITE v38n1 - From the Editor - A Mind is Like a Parachute

Volume 38, Number 1
Fall 2000

A Mind is Like a Parachute

I first came across this saying while traveling to visit a high school technology laboratory in southern Missouri some years ago. The sign in front of a small church bore the message: "A mind is like a parachute--it works better when open." Homespun sayings like this may be trite, but it caught my eye because the sentiment rings true for so many situations. Whether one is teaching, learning, designing, or communicating with others, being open to new perspectives will lead to greater success.

Openness to change is particularly important when the times demand new approaches. In spite of over two decades of reform, technology education has yet to establish its place within the mainstream of public education. The publication of national standards represents both an enormous opportunity and a significant challenge. For the first time, technology education has a prominent rallying point around which to build a stronger national image. The ability of technology educators to fully capitalize on this opportunity remains to be seen.

The standards are too broad for any one discipline to adequately address. They can, and hopefully will, be adopted by a wide cross-section of educators. This will mean that technology educators must seek strategic alliances with others to whom they might not naturally gravitate. This should include elementary teachers and colleagues from the various "academic" disciplines found at the secondary level. It must also include colleagues representing the full spectrum of vocational education.

At the same time, technology educators need to be bold and creative enough to take the lead in creating new curriculum models that embrace the standards. To do this with an open mind will mean that we do not simply reconfigure what we are already doing and claim it "close enough." Failing to make full use of what the standards have to offer will make for an opportunity lost.

In This Issue

Sharon Brusic and Jim LaPorte examine the status of modular technology education in the state of Virginia. Considering the degree to which the modular approach has come to define technology education, remarkably little research has been done in this area. Brusic and LaPorte explore some important questions for teacher educators whose students are increasingly likely to teach in a modular environment.

Virginia Kupritz continues her research examining privacy in the workplace, and its implications for training. As companies strive for greater teamwork among employees, they must also address the privacy needs of individuals, recognizing that age and cultural background can influence these needs. Productivity and job satisfaction can both be enhanced if privacy needs are met.

Theodore Lewis reflects on the newly published Standards for Technological Literacy (International Technology Education Association, 2000), offering insights gleaned from other disciplines that will inform the process of adoption of these standards. He suggests that it will be important for technology educators to look beyond science and math education and, in particular, to seek the lessons to be learned from the arts community.

Robert Howell offers a model for examining the training needs and preferences of inservice teachers who work with special needs students. His study, which focused on technology teachers in the Lincoln, Nebraska public school system, provides some suggestions for addressing teachers' capacity to adapt instruction to meet special needs.

In the At Issue section, Charles Linnell provides data from an informal study he carried out that examined the extent to which universities across the nation offer courses devoted to elementary school technology education (ESTE). He calls for increased access to university level ESTE coursework so that elementary teachers can better contribute to the goal of technological literacy for all.


Issue 1 of Volume 38 of the Journal marks my first as its editor. I would like to recognize former editor Karen Zuga for her years of service to the Journal. When my term officially began in July of this year, it quickly became apparent that the task requires a rather extreme level of commitment, and Karen certainly extended the distinguished contributions of her predecessors. I would also like to acknowledge the work done by outgoing assistant editors John Schell (The University of Georgia), Dan Brown (Murray State University), and Richard Satchwell (Illinois State University). Each of these individuals has played an important role in carrying out the work of the Journal. It is my pleasure to announce that George Rogers (Purdue University), another outgoing assistant editor, has agreed to serve as our new associate editor. This issue also marks the addition of James Flowers (Ball State University), Janet Burns (Georgia State University), and Andrew Schultz (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) as new assistant editors. Stephen Petrina (University of British Columbia) will continue serving in this capacity. Cheryl Evanciew (Clemson University) will continue to serve the Journal as Circulation Manager.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the efforts made by the members of our review team, who perform a critical, if quiet, service to the Journal. Each of the following individuals has reviewed manuscripts during the past year: Tom Bell, David Bjorkquist, Paul Bott, Paul Brauchle, Dan Brown, Janet Burns, William Caldwell, Jeffrey Cantor, Philip Cardon, Robert Chin, Rodney Custer, John C. Dugger, Thomas Erekson, Jeffrey Flesher, James Flowers, Tad Foster, Gary Geroy, James P. Greenan, James Gregson, Roger Hill, Qetler Jensrud, Scott Johnson, Howard Lee, Theodore Lewis, Charles Linnell, James Lorenz, Brian McAlister, Susan Olson, Virginia Osgood, John Pannabecker, Stephen Petrina, David Pucel, George Rogers, Gene Roth, Andrew Schultz, Sam Stern, Dale E. Thompson, Kenneth Volk, Richard Walter, Brenda Wey.

Many thanks to all who make the continued publication of the Journal possible.



International Technology Education Association. (2000). Standards for technological literacy. Reston, VA: Author.

Tracy Gilmore