June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Technological Literacy Constituent Committee
15.1004.1 - 15.1004.10
Promoting Technological Literacy by Utilizing Pictures and Recreated Artifacts
Today's students study and understand today's technologies. Few look back into history to study and understand the technologies from the past. Current engineering and engineering technology students study how to use modern tools to solve modern problems. Little do they realize that engineers and technologists from the past did the very same thing. The only difference was the type, variety, and number of tools they had to work with. Typically, they were far less sophisticated and complex. In many cases, they were actually quite crude. However, they served their purpose and worked. Problems were solved, ideas were turned into inventions, and dreams became innovations. Ironically, we struggle with many of the same problems today that were actually solved in the past. It is the understanding of past technologies and connecting them to current ones, that is important. To address this issue, a junior level interdisciplinary course has been created that explores a historical perspective of the development of technology and its impact on society in a global context. Within this framework lies the dilemma of how to make the subject interesting. Just offering lectures and discussion sessions does not do the subject justice. There had to be a better way to engage and capture the student's interest and curiosity. With this objective in mind, a project was initiated to accumulate or recreate technological artifacts from the past for the students to examine, touch, and even use. Then, in order to enhance the lectures, pictures, graphic images, and short videos were extensively used. Combining these techniques, the student's have become more engaged in the subject of technological literacy. The focus of this paper is to describe the methods undertaken to collect and recreate technologies from the past. The new artifacts were made using the tools and techniques from the past, just as engineers from generations ago did. Currently six collections representing a variety of technologies from different time periods exist and are used in the classroom. Future plans include adding more collections with additional artifacts obtained either through donation or recreation. The intention was to enhance and extend the student's understanding of past technological issues in order to better prepare them to solve the technological challenges they will encounter in the future.
Early humans were keenly aware of their limitations. Their ability to see, hear, and smell was inferior to many other creatures. They also could not run very fast or fly. They were at a distinct disadvantage when compared to other animals. However, it was their ability to overcome these deficiencies that set them apart. By using their brain to visualize and then build devices to extend their capabilities early tools emerged. At first, they were quite simple and very basic. However, as time marched on, they were refined and improved. This inventive process has been repeated countless times since then.
Even today, there are numerous opportunities to make life easier, safer, produce more food, create shelters, clean up the environment, and meet a host of other challenges. These problems
Loendorf, W., & Geyer, T. (2010, June), Promoting Technological Literacy By Utilizing Pictures And Recreated Artifacts Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16266
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