June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering
This work argues that there is a need for a substantial debate about the aims of engineering literacy and that the ASEE Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering Division (TELPhE) would benefit from efforts to more fully answer the question “Why should the general public have some understanding of engineering?” Experiences from an early attempt to measure the engineering ability of pre-university students demonstrate the problems that can emerge for an educational program if the motivating questions of why are not adequately transparent and addressed. In advocating for broader understanding of engineering in Technically Speaking, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) argued that responsible citizenship and the need to make responsible decisions motivated engineering literacy. Beyond the responsible citizen argument, the NAE offered very little about “why understand technology” as opposed to questions of “what should be known.” Since the establishment of the original ASEE Technological Literacy Division in 2005, schools of thought that answer the question of “why” include: responsible technological citizenship, empowerment as consumers of technological hardware, career awareness and development, filling gaps in the educational program of engineers, and the recognition of engineering as an important and unique contribution to general education. This paper draws lessons from the experience of the Joint Matriculation Board (JMB) of several universities in the United Kingdom from the late 1960s to 1970s. The Joint Matriculation Board sought to develop university entrance examinations in engineering during a time in which the foundations of modern engineering educational practices were solidifying. The board sought to create an examination guided by an overall philosophy of engineering. Many issues articulated by the board foreshadowed the condition of engineering literacy efforts today. The significance of well-defined educational outcomes and the alignment between objectives, curriculum, and assessment were vividly illustrated in the JMB experience. The paper argues that answers to the “why” questions could be more carefully developed today and that a series of valid and compelling answers to “why” would further the TELPhE Division’s continued efforts to help everyone know more about engineering and technology.
Krupczak, J., & Heywood, J., & Hilgarth, C. O. (2019, June), Defining the Aims of Engineering Literacy with Lessons from a Pioneering Attempt to Measure Engineering Ability of Pre-University Students. Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32580
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