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Philosophy of Technology & Engineering Education

The “Standards for Technological Literacy” textbook defines Technology Educations as “A study

of technology, which provides an opportunity for students to learn about the processes and knowledge

related to technology that are needed to solve problems and extend human capabilities” (ITEA 242).

They also define Educational Technology as “Using multimedia technologies or audiovisual aids as a tool

to enhance the teaching and learning process” (ITEA 238).

As a future educator of Technology and Engineering Education, the two definitions provided by

the ITEA text do not fully define the subject. The confusion that most individuals encounter is the

difference between technology and engineering. The definition of technology education in the ITEA

textbook leaves out the engineering aspect that has been recently added to the professional title.

Consequently, a new definition for technology and engineering education should be created. The

definition should combine the ideas of technology education and engineering education. My own

personal definition would state: Technology and Engineering Education is the study of technological

processes that are used to solve problems and their use in manufacturing products through engineering

design as well as the use of industrial tools to extend human capabilities.

Technology and Engineering is a very broad content universe. Within the field there are many

subcategories. So what should be considered the most important objectives that a technology and

engineering educator should stress in their curriculum?

Perhaps the most important objective in Technology and Engineering Education is the difference

between technology and engineering. Technology is… “A manner of accomplishing a task especially

using technical processes, methods, or knowledge” (Merriam-Webster). Engineering is…”the application

of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are

made useful to people” (Merriam-Webster).


The second objective that should be stressed is the effects of technology on the environment.

There are many subcategories of Technology and Engineering Education that are based upon this

objective such as bio-related technology. Science, technology, and engineering deal with working with

the environment and using its resources.

The third objective to be stressed is “the role of troubleshooting, research, and development,

invention and innovation, and experimentation in problem solving” (ITEA 15). This objective fits right

into my personal definition of Technology and Engineering Education when I state that the engineering

design process is utilized to manufacture products. Designing is a huge factor in engineering as well as

technology and should be included in every Technology and Engineering education curriculum.

The fourth objective is the use and maintenance of technological products and systems. The

third objective I mentioned dealt with design and when a product is designed and implemented, it is

critical that we have the knowledge to properly operate and maintain these products. Instead of

focusing on cognitive abilities, this objective feeds into physiological capabilities.

Finally, the fifth objective to be stressed is the understanding of the designed world, including

the technologies of the following fields: Medical, Agriculture, Energy and Power, Information and

Communication, Transportation, Manufacturing, and Construction.

We must now consider the age groups that these objectives should be implemented into. As far

as grade levels, Technology and Engineering education should be introduced at the elementary level.

One may think that the title of engineering may be too complex for an elementary curriculum, but going

back to the definition of engineering, “the application of science and mathematics by which the

properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are made useful to people” (CITE), we see that

it mentions science and mathematics. Science and Math are both subjects taught at the elementary

level, so engineering is just a combination of that content knowledge with the addition of matter and
energy in nature. Technically speaking, the only new content in a technology and engineering course at

the elementary level is the addition of utilizing nature and computers. Starting at the elementary level

and continuing through the collegiate level, Technology and Engineering education should be offered to

all ability levels because there is a large balance between cognitive and physiological abilities to be

performed.

How does Technology and Engineering contribute into the physiological, psychological, and

social aspects or needs in a student’s life? The fulfillment of student’s physiological needs is most

dominant in the technology and engineering field. Building or constructing products using the design

process is a very important part of engineering education. Not only must we know how to construct a

product but we must know how it will interact with the consumer. If our product is made for human use,

is it ergonomic? Is it easy to understand? What ability levels can use our product? Basically, how does

our product interact with the human body or capabilities? The understanding of these concepts fulfills a

student’s physiological need. Build, implement, and refine from feedback.

As far as psychological needs of students, Technology and Engineering Education encourages

thought and behavior based upon the assessment of the impact of products and systems. The process of

assessing impacts deals with psychological needs of the student and the population. Students must

research a product/system and assess whether it has negative or positive results. From there, a student

can assess its impact on the population and examine trade-offs. Is a product positively affecting the

population? Is it negatively affecting the population, and if it is, how can it be fixed or is it worth

sacrificing for a greater outcome in the long run?

Lastly, how is Technology and Engineering education fulfilling the social needs of students? The

ITEA text states, “To be understood properly, technology must be put into a social, cultural, and

environmental context” (ITEA 56). Students develop social abilities by learning how to use industry tools
and assessing results which can have unintended consequences. When students are put into an

uncomfortable situation that they deem unsafe, they are very unwilling to try a new skill. Technology

and Engineering education, when implemented early, will encourage a student to take risks and to be

unafraid of failure. Using industry tools can be very intimidating but when the skill is learned, the

student has opened themselves up to a huge field of engineering. Seeing and understanding unintended

consequences builds motivation to fix the situation. Problem-solving skills fulfill social needs.

What is Technology and Engineering Education? Technology? Engineering? Math? Science? The

answer is all of them. When someone asks me what my college major is, I always have the same

response, “Technology and Engineering Education, I want to be an engineering teacher.” One would ask,

well why do you say only an engineering teacher? I feel as though people associate engineering with

computers and industry, which is the basis of Technology and Engineering Education. If I were to say a

technology education teacher, people would assume I am strictly talking about computers. Which is why

engineering has been added to the professional title, Technology and Engineering education. The term

engineering is a better indicator of the content of my major than technology.

When I become a technology and engineering educator, I have a plan for a year of teaching. My

vision is to start my students brainstorming a solution to a problem, then prototyping their solution.

Once the prototype has been refined, I want my students to computer model their designs. Once they

have their computer model, their model must be tested on the computer for construction errors. Then

once a final, effective product has been computer modeled and tested, they will create a construction

plan. Then they will build and test their product until they have deemed their product consumer ready.

This year teaching plan covers what a technology and education class should. I understand that it

doesn’t hit on all aspects of the field but it is the best representation of technology and engineering.

Brainstorm, prototype, computer model, test using computer software, plan for construction, build,

test, refine, and implement. This covers the aspects of technology and industry, or simply engineering.
Technology and Engineering education is the joining of multimedia technology and industrial

technology to extend human capabilities. This field should be implemented to students at a young age

due to its contributions towards physical and social skill sets. As a future Technology and Engineering

educator, I plan to advocate for the expansion of this field at all school levels for our increasing need as

a population for ingenuity in upcoming generations.


Works Cited

International Technology Education Association. Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the

Study of Technology. 3rd ed. ITEA: 2007. Print.

“Dictionary: Engineering.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster Inc., 2015. Web. 30 September 2015.

“Dictionary: Technology.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster Inc., 2015. Web. 30 September 2015.