27 SES 01 B, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
The capability to evaluate technical solutions is highlighted by several authors as an important educational outcome within technology education (Barlex, 2011; Coles & Norman, 2005). A technical solution may be evaluated in terms of its fitness for purpose that includes the physical structure and function (de Vries, 2005). Although there is limited access to research on this subject-specific content in technology education, results indicate that both the link between physical structure and function as well as the fitness for purpose is difficult for pupils in primary as well as secondary education to understand (Compton & Compton, 2011; Oboho & Bolton, 1991).
What one has to know in order to be able to evaluate technical solutions’ fitness for purpose is, however, not self-evident. The study that will be reported, explores the meaning of this specific knowing. Developing teaching of certain target areas in systematic ways (Nuthall, 2004) requires an explication of the meaning of knowing. In order for students to develop the specific ways of knowing (Carlgren, 2007) of a target area (in this case technical solutions’ fitness for purpose), the teaching must be planned to make it possible for students to experience and discern what is critical for learning. By designing teaching activities that make it possible to discern these critical aspects, systematic teaching-learning strategies can be developed.
Knowledge concerning the meaning of knowing something to be known is generated in so called Learning Studies (Marton & Pang, 2006; Carlgren, 2012). By analyzing students’ difficulties regarding the specific object of learning, critical aspects of the expected knowing are discerned and in this way the meaning of knowing what is expected to be known is made explicit.
Technical solutions’ fitness for purpose is seen as embedded in contexts and as related to human activity, therefore an understanding based on activity theory can be useful when exploring the meaning of this specific knowing.
Barlex, D. (2011). Dear minister, This is why design and technology is a very important subject in the school curriculum. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 16(3). Carlgren, I. (2007) The content of schooling. In Forsberg, Eva (Ed.), Curriculum Theory Revisited. Studies in Educational Policy and Educational Philosophy. Uppsala University Carlgren, I. (2012) The Learning Study as an approach for ‘clinical’ subject matter didactic research. International Journal of Lesson and Learning Study, Forthcoming Issue 2, May 2012. Coles, R. & Norman, E. (2005). An exploration of the role values play in design decision-making. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 15(5). Compton, V. & Compton, A. (2011). Teaching the nature of technology: Determining and supporting student learning of the philosophy of technology. International Journal of Technology and Design education. Retrieved 2011-10-03, from http://www04.sub.su.se:2054/ content/k0v57q33r8562g75/ fulltext.pdf De Vries, M. J. (2005). Teaching about technology: An introduction to the philosophy of technology for non-philosophers. Dordrecht: Springer. Marton, F. (1981). Phenomenography – describing conceptions of the world around us. Instructional Science, 10. Marton, F. & Ling, L. M. (2007). Learning from “The Learning Study”. Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning [Journal of Research in Teacher Education], 1. Marton, F. & Pang, M. F. (2006). On some necessary conditions of learning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15(2). Marton, F., Runesson, U. & Tsui, A. B. (2004). The space of learning. In F. Marton & A. B. Tsui (Eds.), Classroom discourse and the space of learning. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Nuthall, G. (2004). Relating classroom teaching to student learning: A critical analysis of why research has failed to bridge the theory-practice gap. Harvard Educational Review, 74(3). Oboho, E. O. & Bolton, N. (1991). Matching students’ technological thinking with the demands of a technological curriculum. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 4(2).
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