Journal of Technology Education

Journal of Technology Education

Current Editor: Chris Merrill,
Previous Editors: Mark Sanders 1989-1997; James LaPorte: 1997-2010

As an open access journal, the JTE does not charge fees for authors to publish or readers to access.

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Volume 2, Number 1
Fall 1990

               If you haven't read PROJECT 2061:  SCI-
          ENCE FOR ALL AMERICANS (AAAS, 1989), it's
          time you did.  My guess is it will have more
          significance for technology education in the
          1990s than any other single document pub-
          lished in the '80s or '90s.  Subtitled A
          first and foremost, a call for action.
               PROJECT 2061 is a set of recommendations
          from the National Council on Science and
          Technology Education, a group of scientists
          and educators appointed by the American Asso-
          ciation for the Advancement of Science.  It
          serves to draw attention to the critical need
          for scientific literacy for all Americans, a
          literacy which the report says "embraces sci-
          ence, math, and technology."
               Unlike other national reports that seem
          to ignore or downplay the role of technology
          education, this one speaks to our needs and
          interests throughout.  The tone sets the
          stage for establishing alliances, rather than
          turf.  Through this and a set of accompanying
          documents, the AAAS seems to be suggesting
          that this is a time for us to pull together
          the common interests of science, math, and
          technology education so that the cumulative
          whole may exceed the sum of the parts.
               In addition to the main report, five
          companion volumes were produced by the Na-
          tional Council, each directed toward differ-
          ent areas of the curriculum.  The one of most
          interest to technology educators is titled
          I TECHNOLOGY PANEL (Johnson, 1989).  This re-
          port should make your decade.  The panel,
          which former 3M Company executive scientist
          James Johnson chaired, sought to answer the
          question:  "What is the technology component
          of scientific literacy?" (p. viii).  They de-
          liberated for two years before issuing their
          answer in the form of this report.  Among the
          ground rules provided the panel by Project
          2061 was a directive to "Propose a common
          core of learning in technology that can serve
          as part of the educational foundation of all
          students, regardless  of sex, race, academic
          talent, or life goals." (p. ix).
               The report acknowledges the contrib-
          utions industrial arts programs have made
          over the years:  "The Technology Panel con-
          tinually emphasized the importance of this
          experiential learning process, and nearly ev-
          ery consultant advocated the need for more.
          A key question is how to expand the technique
          to serve a much broader pedagogical role."
          (p. 5).  Johnson suggests the answer lies in
          providing more science and math in technology
          courses, and more technology in science
          courses:  "They [mathematics and the biolog-
          ical, physical, and social sciences] should
          be a part of technology education curricula,
          just as technology should serve to bring ad-
          ditional meaning to the curricula of the sci-
          ences." (p. 7).
               The discussion of technology that fills
          this document is one with which technology
          educators should be familiar.  Section III
          provides brief essays on "selected technology
          fields," including Materials, Energy, Manu-
          facturing, Agriculture and Food,
          Biotechnology and Medical Technology, Envi-
          ronment, Communications, Electronics, Com-
          puter, Transportation, and Space.  Not many
          surprises for our field in this list; we've
          been working on it for four decades.
               I think it is immensely significant that
          technology education and science and math ed-
          ucation are being mentioned in the same
          breath, particularly when the voice is that
          of the science establishment.  The symbiotic
          relationship suggested by these reports has
          obvious implications for all parties in-
               Talk is cheap, you say?  Where's the
          beef?  Well, it is true that change of this
          magnitude in public education may be un-
          precedented.  Yet, the wheels are beginning
          to turn even as you read this.  A few days
          before Labor Day, I learned the National Sci-
          ence Foundation is, for the first time, ac-
          tively seeking proposals relating to
          materials development and teacher enhancement
          in technology education... and THAT is un-
          precedented!  If interested, contact Dr.
          Gerhard Salinger, NSF Program Director for
          Instructional Materials Development at
               Perhaps indicators such as these signal
          a return of technology education to the gen-
          eral education arena it enjoyed as industrial
          arts education for the first three quarters
          of the 20th century?  I, for one, hope so.
          American Association for the Advancement of
             Science.  (1989).  PROJECT 2061:  SCIENCE
             FOR ALL AMERICANS (AAAS Publication
             89-01S).  Washington, DC:  Author.
          Johnson, J.  (1989).  TECHNOLOGY:  REPORT OF
             (AAAS Publication 89-06S).  Washington,
             DC:  American Association for the Advance-
             ment of Science.
          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 1       Fall 1990