June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.545.1 - 26.545.9
Difficulties and opportunities when teaching abouttechnological systems in K-12.Large technological systems (socio-technical systems) are studied in K-12 technologyeducation in order to emphasize the interaction between technological artefacts, humans,institutions, and society at large.Teaching about technological systems is very demanding for teachers, as they need topossess knowledge in engineering as well as in social sciences. When successful, itprovides an opportunity to give students a comprehensive understanding of the importanceof technology in society. In this study we have investigated how Swedish teachers teachabout technical systems.The study of systems has been part of the Swedish technology curriculum for compulsoryschool since 1994, but many teachers still find it difficult to teach and assess. During aprofessional development course for technology teachers, special attention was thereforepaid to systems. Through visits, lectures, laboratory exercises, and literature, fourtechnological system types were studied: nuclear power plants, sewage systems, theInternet, and large factories. A part of the course’s examination was to design a teachingsequence for compulsory school about one of the four systems. This was presented in areport describing intended learning outcomes, teaching activities, sources of information,routines for assessment, etc.Twelve such reports have been analysed to find out how teachers include large technologicalsystems in their teaching. Preliminary results show that they are all convinced thattechnological systems constitute an important part of technology education, but also that theyunderstand them in different ways depending on their educational backgrounds. Teacherswho have started out in the natural sciences understand them differently than those whohave come to technology from the social sciences. While some teachers see the societalbenefits as most important, other highlight terminology or individual components’ functions.Suggested teaching methods vary, from book-based studies to construction of workingphysical models. Learning objectives were generally vague, and weakly aligned withteaching activities and methods for assessment.
Gumaelius, L. B., & Norström, P. G. (2015, June), Difficulties and Opportunities when Teaching About Technological Systems in K-12 Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23883
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