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Technology Education in Primary School in Sweden: A Study of Teachers' Views on Teaching Strategies and Subject Content

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Research & Evaluation on K-12 Teachers and Teaching.

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1497.1 - 26.1497.15



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Paper Authors


Birgit Fahrman KTH Royal Institute of Technology

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Birgit Fahrman is PhD student at The School of Education and Communication in Engineering Science, KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on teachers’ use of practical exercises in teaching technology and engineering. She teachers technology in secondary school.

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Lena B. Gumaelius KTH Royal Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr Lena Gumaelius has a background as a researcher in Biotechnology, in which field she still teaches undergraduate students at KTH. (Lena got her Master of Science in chemistry 1993 and her PhD in Environmental Microbiology in 2001.)

In parallel with her research, she worked for several years with development of experiments for students at House of Science. In 2006 Lena became the director of House of Science, which she remained until 2012. House of Science is a university based Science centre with about 40 000 visitors were the goal is to stimulate high school students’ interest for the natural sciences, math and technology. During these years Lena developed her pedagogical skills and competence in the pedagogic field and besides leading the activities she organised pedagogical training for teachers, pupils and university students.

Since 2011 Lena is head of the new Department of Learning at the School of Education and Communication in Engineering Sciences (ECE), KTH. Lena is responsible for building up a new strong research environment in engineering and technology education, K-12 to university level.

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Per G. Norström KTH Royal Institute of Technology

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Per Norström is a lecturer in technology and engineering education at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. His research interests include analytical philosophy of technology and its use in engineering education.

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Does practical work develop student learning in technology? (Fundamental)Teaching technology and engineering for children in primary and secondary school in Swedenis by tradition both theoretically and practically oriented and teachers plan their teachingaccordingly. In this study we explore the teachers’ use of practical work methods whenteaching technology.In Sweden technology is a mandatory subject in compulsory school since the mid-1980s. Itsorigins are in metal- and wood-work but have developed into a trans-disciplinary subjectwhich includes crafts as well as engineering science and the history of technology. Thecurrent syllabus, introduced in 2011, divides the subject into three core content areas:technological solutions, working methods for developing technological solutions andtechnology, man, society and the environment. This includes mechanics, materials,electronics, automatic control, the product development process, and technology’s relation toscience, to society at large and to the fine arts.Based on a phenomenographic research approach we explore how practical work and theoryconnect, what teachers want to achieve through pupils hand-on-activities and their attitudetowards practical work.Data collections include interviewed secondary school teachers in the Stockholm area whoteach 13 to15 year old pupils. We are in particular interested in teachers’ design of teaching;how they plan and use practical work (such as design and make activities) in their teaching.The results so far indicate that teachers frequently use practical exercises when teachingtechnology, but have very different ideas about the role of practical work in the subject as awhole. This includes both how theory should be applied and also how much time practicalwork should be given in the classroom. One of the respondents considered practical work asthe most important way for students to experience technology and therefore dedicates mostlessons to that kind of activities. Other respondents consider practical work as a method toimprove understanding and emphasized the importance of interplay between theory andpractice, which meant that practical work was used only when considered necessary.Findings indicate that the variety of teacher’s thoughts about practical work is extensive andwide and therefore have implications for further studies conducted in areas such as: teachersplanning and teachers’ implementation of practical exercises.

Fahrman, B., & Gumaelius, L. B., & Norström, P. G. (2015, June), Technology Education in Primary School in Sweden: A Study of Teachers' Views on Teaching Strategies and Subject Content Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24834

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