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Using Multiple Methods to Promote Technological Literacy

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

The Philosophy of Engineering and Technological Literacy

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1337.1 - 24.1337.19



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Paper Authors


William R. Loendorf Eastern Washington University

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William R. Loendorf is a Full Professor, Emeritus of Engineering & Design at Eastern Washington University. He obtained his B.Sc. in Engineering Science at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University, M.B.A. at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and Ph.D. in Engineering Management at Walden University. He holds a Professional Engineer license and has 30 years of industrial experience as an Engineer or Engineering Manager at General Motors, Cadnetix, and Motorola. His interests include engineering management, technological literacy, improving the competitiveness of American companies, and real-time embedded systems.

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Jason K Durfee P.E. P.E. Eastern Washington University

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Jason Durfee is a Professor of Engineering & Design at Eastern Washington University. He received his BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University. He holds a Professional Engineer certification. Prior to teaching at Eastern Washington University, he was a military pilot, an engineering instructor at West Point and an airline pilot. His interests include aerospace, aviation, computational fluid dynamics, professional ethics, and piano technology.

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Using Display Cases to Promote Technological LiteracyAbstractSince the beginning of time, humans have utilized technologies to create tools in order to maketheir lives safer, easier, and somewhat better. The early tools were extremely crude and simple,but they served their purpose and worked. Over time, the sophistication of these tools slowly butgradually increased leading eventually to our modern devices. It could be characterized as anincremental development process that included many challenges and misfortunes with frequentfailures and limited success. Regrettably, most of these ancient tools and technologies were lostover time simply decomposing back into dust. Technological change has accelerated rapidly to apoint where what is new today is obsolete tomorrow. No longer are products repaired for futureuse as they were for centuries, they are simply thrown away and replaced with new models withmore features. This is especially true for technological artifacts from the past hundred or soyears. The artifacts remaining were often left in attics, basements, sheds, closets, and otheroverlooked spaces. They are hidden from sight, simply forgotten gathering dust, will eventuallybe discarded, and end up in a dump or landfill. A project was initiated to find, reclaim, andrescue as many of these historical artifacts as possible. It was relatively easy to find relics fromthe 1900s ranging from radios to electrical test equipment, but what happens to them now. Theideal solution would be to display them in a public place for people to examine much like amuseum does. To that end, a project was initiated to locate unused or underutilized display caseson campus that could be filled with old technological artifacts. These display cases would givetoday’s students a realistic look at antique technologies in a way that is superior to pictures andtextual descriptions. The objective is to enhance the student’s understanding of the history ofpast technologies and how they are related to today’s technologies. This paper reviews thedisplay case project discussing what artifacts were collect, how they were displayed, and looksinto the future to other methods that could be used to display old artifacts in order to promotetechnological literacy.

Loendorf, W. R., & Durfee, J. K. (2014, June), Using Multiple Methods to Promote Technological Literacy Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23270

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