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What's in a Name? Technology and the Image of Engineering

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

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Paper Authors


John Heywood Trinity College Dublin

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John Heywood is professorial Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin- The University of Dublin. he is a Fellow of ASEE and Life Fellow of IEEE. he has special interest in education for the professions and the role of professions in society. he is author of Engineering Education. research and development in Curriculum and Instruction.

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In some of the Western industrialized Nations there has long been a concern among their engineering communities with the poor take up of engineering as a career, and in consequence with its image. Engineering’s products seem not to excite the imagination of teenagers. Surveys of the perceptions of engineering of young people have advanced a number of reasons for their lack of interest in engineering. It seems to be generally accepted that science has higher status than engineering, the work of engineering being reported as that of scientists. While science overshadows engineering, the proposition that technology might overshadow engineering more than science has been little discussed. In sum, both science and technology are used in the media to describe activities that are essentially engineering. In some countries the term technologist is used in preference to engineer or engineering. This is particularly true of U.K policy documents. The term technology has a specific meaning in U.S. engineering education that it does not have in other countries. World-wide developments in school technology and technological literacy programmes do not necessarily convey what engineering is to either the participating students or the public at large. Hence the importance of the distinction between technological and engineering literacy made by Krupczak and his colleagues. It is argued that the two need to be linked in educational programmes and in policy making. In the UK this seems to have been recognized by the Institution of Electrical Engineers when it merged with the Institution of Incorporated Engineering (an institution for technicians). It became the Institution of Engineering and Technology and is the second largest professional institution of engineers in the world. Given the proposition that students as well as the public at large dents are unlikely to change their perceptions it might be propitious for ASEE to consider changing its name so as to incorporate technology, that is, Society for Engineering and Technology Education.

Heywood, J. (2018, June), What's in a Name? Technology and the Image of Engineering Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31237

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