What is Technology Education?
A definition of technology can be taken from any technology curriculum, but what it means to each individual is dependent on one's understanding of technology.
Below are some teachers' understanding of technology:
Technology teaches communication, problem solving, finding solutions (based on informed choices), time and self management. Technology reinforces the fact that there are often many solutions to problems. Ricardo Miller
Technology is a process whereby learners identify a need or opportunity. Through the acquisition of knowledge they apply their skills. It stimulates critical thinking and creativity. Averil Nolly
It is about using the relevant skills, knowledge, and creativity making a contribution to address the problem in a particular situation by making use of necessary materials. It is a technique of doing something to solve a particular problem. Nonzali Mzizi
Technology is about applying the knowledge and skills which was acquired to meet certain needs and wants of society. Cheryl Jafta
Engaging in a process (Investigate, design, make and evaluate) to solve human needs and wants. Deon Khan
The RNCS does not say what I must do!
This sets the stage for a basic differentiation between a curriculum and a syllabus...
(TECHNOLOGY Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS)) A curriculum states in general terms concepts, skills, attitudes & awareness that should be developed, whilst, a syllabus is specific about what exactly must be developed e.g. a curriculum might say manipulative skills , while a syllabus might say cutting.
The RNCS is a curriculum statement, not a syllabus.
In each of the learning outcomes assessment standards spells out the minimum that a learner should be able to do and know at any particular grade level. What it says are the key concepts and ideas that should be developed. These can be developed through activities that are relevant to the concept of idea. Minimum does not preclude learners functioning at levels higher that those for a specific grade. Many of the assessment standards have some text within brackets. These texts are prefaced with; such as , e.g. and some are not prefaced. Interpretation of these texts will depend largely on whether the reader analyses it linguistically, technically, or emotively. Whatever the approach, it must not detract from the core requirement of the assessment standard.
The development of technology in the RNCS through the assessment standards suggests an approach which can be summed up thus:
- FP - craft-like in the approach to projects focus on the developing of manipulative skills
- IP - some elements of reproduction and/or adapting of existing products focus on development of cognitive skills while further developing manipulative skills
- SP - more innovative no reproduction focus on the honing of manipulative and specific skills greater emphasis on creative and lateral thinking.
Teaching and learning in Technology must be aimed at developing Technological Literacy so that learners are empowered to cope with the challenges of a technological society. As all developments are manifested through economic, political, social and environmental context there is a need for an understanding of the interconnections between technology, society and the environment. Inherent in the development towards technological literacy is Technological Capability. In the South African technology curriculum, the development of the skills associated with problem solving lies at the heart of capability.
What are these Learning Outcomes about?
The Learning Outcomes in the Technology Learning Area are interrelated statements that state in broad terms the facets that are considered vital to develop technological literacy in learners. The three outcomes focus on the following:
Learning Outcome 1
The learner is able to apply technological processes and skills ethically and responsibly using appropriate Information and communication Technologies
This outcome is a SKILLS outcome. The technological process is a way of doing something (like the scientific process skills). When a learner does technology he/she is demonstrating the ability to do the skill. But the outcome talks of Process and Skill this refers to the stages of the process (South African) which are: Investigate Design, Make, Evaluate and Communicate. Each of these stages has skills associated with them, viz:
- Investigate: the skills of Finding out.
- Design: the skills of Planning / Decision making.
- Make: the skills of Making / Manufacturing.
- Evaluate: the skills of Reflecting / Checking.
- Communicate: the skills of Communication.
Learning Outcome 2
The learner is able to understand and apply relevant technological knowledge ethically and responsibly.
This outcome is about the Content (South African) through which we do our technology. It states the Knowledge and Understanding in the areas that form the focus of our studies. These are; Structures, Processing, and Systems & Control. Each of these are have information (knowledge) associated with them, but acquiring knowledge on its own is of no use unless there is an understanding of it. It is Very Important to note that the knowledge is written in as concepts. Refer to the section on Key Concepts to gain a better understanding of what is required in terms of these areas.
Learning Outcome 3
The learner is able to demonstrate an understanding of the inter-relationships between technology, society and the environment.
This outcome is about the interrelationship between Science & Technology and Society. It is designed to provide opportunities to develop Awareness of and opportunities to come up with strategies to address situations. This outcome is by far the Most Powerful of the outcomes because it gives us reasons for doing Technology. This outcome can provide the context and situations / scenarios for technology modules / projects. Technology exist because of us (our needs, wants and aspirations, to fix the things we do wrong and improve on the things we do right) and Technology is for us (to make our lives easier and comfortable). It is also important to note that this outcome is Exactly the same in the Natural Science learning area.
The key concepts are the results of the lead teachers analysis of all the assessment standards. It talks to the key aspects that need to be addressed in each outcome at any grade level.
Our modules are complete units of work that contain a series of enabling activities / tasks and a challenge.
Each of these modules is designed to provide the learner with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills in an authentic situation.
The activities have been designed to develop specific knowledge & associated skills that form the core of the assessment standards of the various grades. These must not be considered, nor taken to be "technology" - They are only enabling activities designed specifically to assist you with ideas for the development of concepts, what needs to be taught, learnt, so that learners have a chance at success when engaging in technology. The activities are not contextualised in any module as such and are not about making a product, as our focus is on the development of concepts.
- Conductors & Insulators
- Electronic Circuits
- AND & OR Gates
- Circuit/Systems Diagram
- Hydraulics & Pneumatics
- Technological Products
- Identifying Materials
- Properties of Materials
- Types of Structures
- Mechanisms Worksheet