June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering
23.199.1 - 23.199.11
Application of Peer Reviewed Journal Articles for Enhancing Technological LiteracyTechnological literacy is, “an understanding of the nature and history of technology, a basic-hands-on capability related to technology, and an ability to think critically about technologicaldevelopment. It is essential that ordinary citizens are able to make thoughtful decisions on issuesthat affect, or are affected by, technology.”“The Environment” course was taught in spring 2012 using the peer reviewed journal articles forenhancing technological literacy of the students. At the beginning of the course the students weregiven a pre-intervention assignment. The students were asked to explore the beneficial andharmful results of using the technology on the environment from the view point of an industry.The course introduced the students to the application of basic scientific principles (in Physics,Chemistry, Biology) to the environment. More specifically, the concepts of sustainability,ecology and evolution, population, climate, biodiversity and various industries such asagriculture, forests, and energy were covered in the course.The course was organized into several modules. For example, in the climate and air resourcesmodule, the students were introduced to atmospheric circulation, ocean circulation, climate andweather, air pollution and greenhouse effect and climate change. Students were not usuallyaware that systems of positive and negative feedbacks and their combinations affect the globalwarming. There were also many misconcepts among the students about what it means for theearth to get warmed.An outcome of the course was that students would be able to apply this frame work to atechnology not covered in the class. The objective of this paper is to assess the outcome basedupon student performance on a project, where they were asked to do the same. Improving theability of the students to apply the framework to other technological advances not covered inclass is within the scope of broad definition of technological literacy.The students were taught what technology is and the scientific foundation of the technology. Thestudents explored in 3 assignments the beneficial and harmful results of using the technologyfrom the view point of various industries. They achieved this using at least 4 peer reviewedjournal papers per assignment. In the 4th assignment, the students were asked to express theirown opinion again, using at least 4 peer reviewed journal articles on whether this technologyshould be utilized, and defend their position with factual information. All the assignments weregraded containing 20% of the course grade.The average grade of the pre-intervention group was 67% and that of the post-intervention groupwas 79%, an 18% improvement over the pre-intervention. The groups were significantlydifferent with a calculated t value of 3.3. The t-test confirmed statistical improvement atsignificant confidence level with an alpha value of 0.05.The authors plan to extend this strategy to three other courses over the next three years. Themethod presented in this study may be used at other institutions with appropriate modificationsin order to prepare the students for improving their technological literacy.
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