June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.259.1 - 13.259.11
Bridging the Historical Technological Gap Between the Past and the Present in Engineering Technology Curriculum
In order to be able to compete in the worlds global economy, future engineering graduates need to have an understanding of the full road that technology has traveled on a worldwide basis. This paper addresses the advantages and dynamics of infusing hands-on historical-based engineering technologies into traditionally lecture based classroom situations. The project’s overall goal was to increase the engineering student’s awareness of technology’s historical heritage and foundations.
The topics discussed include how historical skills, equipment, and knowledge were researched, remanufactured, and placed into a display format that brought students into personal contact with technologies from the past. By bringing the past into the present in a tangible format, students developed a more complete understanding of historical technologies along with the engineering challenges they presented, overcame, and all of the steps in between.
The results from this project indicate an increased student awareness, interest, and retention of just how technology has evolved. In addition, graduates of the Engineering Technology Program now have a better understanding of past technological issues that can be used to address future challenging and competitive situations.
Engineering students are taught to design, develop, and build things of all sizes, shapes, and descriptions. In most cases, their objectives are to solve a problem, create a new product, or simply improve an old one. This has been the case for centuries; engineers have always faced these types of challenges. However, students rarely have the opportunity to look back into history and study how engineers and technologists from the past solved the critical problems of their time. They concentrate instead on using today’s technologies in proven or new ways.
In order to fill this gap a new course was developed a number of years ago by the Engineering & Design Department at Eastern Washington University. It was titled: Technology in World Civilization (Loendorf7, 2004) and was designed to broaden the students perspective of past technologies and how they were discovered and used. The main objectives of the course were to: (a) promote awareness of technological development, and (b) provide a rudimentary understanding of the social, political, economic, and cultural impact.
The content of this course explores innovations and inventions associated with ancient technologies, agriculture, weapons, time measurement, industrialization, transportation, communication, and the environment (Loendorf7, 2004). These encompass every aspect of engineering and engineering technology including mechanical, electrical, industrial, civil, and
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