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Venues To Introduce And Teach Impact Of Engineering In History, Society, And Human Development

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teaching Technological Literacy - College Courses and Minors

Tagged Division

Technological Literacy Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1350.1 - 15.1350.9



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Paper Authors

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Kelli Huser Iowa State University

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Thomas Kelly Iowa State University

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Mani Mina Iowa State University

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Seth Ballou Iowa State University

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Joseph Crispin Iowa State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A technological literacy approach to introduce and teach the impact of engineering throughout the human history


This paper provides a possible approach to introduce and teach impact of engineering to non- engineering students with a focus on the technology and engineering aspects. One effective way to enhance technological literacy is to offer classes that will introduce, explain, discuss, and enhance students’ knowledge about engineering and the impact of engineering on the society. There are many effective classes that are offered in history and philosophy schools such as history of science, history of technology and related areas. However, this paper focuses on the impact from the technologist perspective. The paper introduces the general premise for such a class and provides different models to review the impacts from historical and technological developments. For instance one could focus on water, construction and road development, medicine, weapons, tool making, and other venues of introducing the subject. The paper introduces effective approaches to offer the class and reviews the impacts of engineering and technological developments through focusing on one of the topics. In order to help future developers, this paper defines the topic and discusses how focusing on each topic enables the class to show the impacts throughout the human developments and eras.


Technological literacy serves many purposes in enhancing a non-engineering student’s education. Many students are interested in learning how various technologies work that they may encounter in their future careers. Other students intend to work with engineers and pursue a greater appreciation and practical understanding of the responsibilities of their future co-workers. A significant purpose of technological literacy is to enhance the understanding of technological impacts, allowing for better decision making and understanding of the many externalities of technological advancements. To teach this concept to non-engineering students, we propose a process utilized in the Fall of 2009 in E ST ***at ********* University. This approach focuses on student interest and explores different topics that introduce the impacts of engineering throughout human history.

Current Approach to Technological Literacy

Current classes that teach the concept of technological literacy in collegiate education appear to focus either on a philosophical discussion of technology or the historical development of technology. This is evident through experience in the university setting regarding available courses as well as through relevant research. Each of these approaches has its benefits. Focusing on the historical design and evolution of certain kinds of technology allows students to develop an understanding and appreciation of the origins of technology and fundamentally asks how technology works and why it developed in the way it did. Technological philosophy courses encourage students to question technology, its

Huser, K., & Kelly, T., & Mina, M., & Ballou, S., & Crispin, J. (2010, June), Venues To Introduce And Teach Impact Of Engineering In History, Society, And Human Development Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16341

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