March - Vol 69, No 6 - International Technology and Engineering ...

March - Vol 69, No 6 - International Technology and Engineering ...



T h e V o i c e o f T e c h n o l o g y E d u c a t i o n


March 2010

Volume 69 • Number 6




Nathan Hale-Ray High School students with their award winning Connecticut Electrathon vehicle.

I choose Mastercam because:

“With Mastercam, our students learn contemporary design and

machining processes using industry proven software. Learning

experiences that challenge students’ imginations, and then enables

them to bring those new ideas to reality, are what make Mastercam

the right choice in my classroom.”

– Instructor Bruce Freeman of Nathan Hale-Ray High School, Moodus, Connecticut

Mastercam is the software Bruce’s students need to succeed in the classroom and at the competition. Mastercam expertise

is also key to their success in the job market. With industry-proven technology and unparalleled customer support, it is

clear why Mastercam is the most widely-used CAD/CAM software in both industry and education for well over a decade.

Bruce Freeman and his Mastercam class were featured on the cover of Tech Directions, January 2008. To read about their

accomplishments, visit or contact

our Educational Division toll free at (800) ASK-MCAM.

STEM Curriculum


Class Packs

Hands-On Activities

Green Education

Call 800-835-0686


Charlotte: We've got A LOT planned for you in March!

ITEA’s 72nd Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC on March 18-20, 2010 will address

“Green Technology: STEM Solutions for 21st Century Citizens.” STEM is one of the

hottest topics in education in America right now. Technology education plays a critical

role in helping school districts deliver all aspects of STEM education to students who

are interested in the fields of technology and engineering education.

The Charlotte preliminary program is now online and ready for you to download. Explore

the ITEA conference website to find all you need to know and more about attending

the conference. You can see all the conference details in the ITEA preliminary

program, available at

This is the ONE educational, professional development,

and networking opportunity event you won't want to miss.

Register now to join ITEA in Charlotte, North Carolina,

March 18-20, 2010 for the 72nd Annual ITEA Conference

and Exhibition. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity!

Preregistration ends February 1, but you can still join us

by registering on -site

in Charlotte. Find out more today at:

NEW Courses Available from ITEA!

Scientific & Technical Visualization I and II

Scientific & Technical Visualization I and II are 36-week courses focused on the principles, concepts,

and use of complex graphic and visualization tools as applied to the study of science and technology.

Students use complex 2D graphics, 3D animation, editing, and image analysis tools to better understand,

illustrate, explain, and present technical, mathematical, and/or scientific concepts and principles.

Emphasis is placed on the use of computer-enhanced images to generate both conceptual and

data-driven models, data-driven charts, and animations. Science, math, and visual design concepts are

reinforced throughout each course.

This curriculum was originally developed to help North Carolina teachers offer a focused, demanding, and

exciting program of study addressing the core concepts and principles of scientific visualization. Scientific

visualization involves theoretical mathematics, specialized computer programming, and the development

of novel solutions to help scientists visualize and comprehend science problems of the highest order. The

goal for this course is to help high school level students gain experience using a multitude of computer

graphic software, develop problem-solving skills, become independent learners, and acquire the intellectual

confidence required to help them be successful with their post-secondary education.

Scientific & Technical

Visualization I

Scientific & Technical

Visualization II

Engineering byDesign

A d v a n c i n g Te c h n o l o g i c a l L i t e r a c y

A S t a n d a r d s - B a s e d P r o g r a m S e r i e s

InternatIonal technology educatIon assocIatIon

steM±center for teachIng & learnIng

Engineering byDesign

A d v a n c i n g Te c h n o l o g i c a l L i t e r a c y

A S t a n d a r d s - B a s e d P r o g r a m S e r i e s

InternatIonal technology educatIon assocIatIon

steM±center for teachIng & learnIng


1914 Association Drive

Suite 201

Reston, VA 20191-1539

This publication was made possible by the ITEA-steM±ctl Consortium.

For more information contact the

International Technology Education Association

steM±center for teachIng & learnIng.

t e l : (703) 860-2100

f a x : (703) 860-0353

w w w . i t e a c o n n e c t . o r g


1914 Association Drive

Suite 201

Reston, VA 20191-1539

This publication was made possible by the ITEA-steM±ctl Consortium.

For more information contact the

International Technology Education Association

steM±center for teachIng & learnIng.

t e l : (703) 860-2100

f a x : (703) 860-0353

w w w . i t e a c o n n e c t . o r g

Scientific & Technical Visualization 1 Topics:

• Leadership Development

• History and Impact of Scientific & Technical


• Visualization Tools

• Data Visualization

• Static and Dynamic VIsualization

(P242CD) $26.00 / Members $21.00

Scientific & Technical Visualization 2 Topics:

• Leadership Development

• Advanced Tools of Visualization

• Advanced Principles of Visualization

• Advanced Static and Dynamic Visualization

• Advanced Scientific Visualization

• Preparation for the Future

(P243CD) $26.00 / Members $21.00

Order today!

Print and complete the downloadale order form


and fax it to 703-860-0353

or call 703-860-2100


March • VOL. 69 • NO. 6


What is Green?

Your students are relying on you to prepare them for

the world of work. Don’t let them down.

Rachel Pokrandt


Web News




3 Calendar

11 Resources

in Technology

17 Classroom







Exploring Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

Through simplicity in design and functionality, and most of all environmental friendliness,

hydrogen fuel cells can make a significant contribution as an alternative solution to our

country’s energy dependence on fossil fuels.

David Brus and Doug Hotek

The Systems and Global Engineering Project

Describes the Systems and Global Engineering Project—in which students team up to

develop innovative solutions to problems of global significance.

Henry Harms, David A. Janosz, Jr., and Steve Maietta

President’s Message: Building Opportunities to Transform a Profession

ITEA’s President-Elect shares his beliefs and his intended focus for the coming year.

gARy Wynn, DTE

2010 Leaders to Watch

Publisher, Kendall N. Starkweather, DTE

Editor-In-Chief, Kathleen B. de la Paz

Editor, Kathie F. Cluff

ITEA Board of Directors

Ed Denton, DTE, President

Len Litowitz, DTE, Past President

Gary Wynn, DTE, President-Elect

Greg Kane, Director, ITEA-CS

Joanne Trombley, Director, Region I

Michael A. Fitzgerald, DTE, Director, Region II

Mike Neden, DTE, Director, Region III

Patrick McDonald, Director, Region IV

Michael DeMiranda, Director, CTTE

Andrew Klenke, Director, TECA

Ginger Whiting, Director, TECC

Kendall N. Starkweather, DTE, CAE,

Executive Director

ITEA is an affiliate of the American Association

for the Advancement of Science.

The Technology Teacher, ISSN: 0746-3537,

is published eight times a year (September

through June with combined December/January

and May/June issues) by the International

Technology Education Association, 1914 Association

Drive, Suite 201, Reston, VA 20191.

Subscriptions are included in member dues.

U.S. Library and nonmember subscriptions are

$90; $100 outside the U.S. Single copies are

$10.00 for members; $11.00 for nonmembers,

plus shipping and handling.

The Technology Teacher is listed in the Educational

Index and the Current Index to Journal in

Education. Volumes are available on Microfiche

from University Microfilm, P.O. Box 1346, Ann

Arbor, MI 48106.

Advertising Sales:

ITEA Publications Department


Fax: 703-860-0353

Subscription Claims

All subscription claims must be made within 60

days of the first day of the month appearing on

the cover of the journal. For combined issues,

claims will be honored within 60 days from

the first day of the last month on the cover.

Because of repeated delivery problems outside

the continental United States, journals will be

shipped only at the customer’s risk. ITEA will

ship the subscription copy but assumes no

responsibility thereafter.

Change of Address

Send change of address notification promptly.

Provide old mailing label and new address.

Include zip + 4 code. Allow six weeks for



Send address change to: The Technology

Teacher, Address Change, ITEA, 1914

Association Drive, Suite 201, Reston, VA

20191-1539. Periodicals postage paid at

Herndon, VA and additional mailing offices.


World Wide Web:

On the

ITEA Website:

There’s Still Time to

Join Your Colleagues

in Charlotte!

Preregistration is now closed,

but don’t let that stop you! Onsite registration will be in full swing at

ITEA’s Conference in Charlotte, March 18-20. This year’s theme is “Green

Technology: STEM Solutions for 21st Century Citizens,” and the conference

focus is to increase awareness regarding how we can make strides to sustain

our environment through smart decision making, consumerism, designing,

creating, and using human ingenuity.

ITEA is the “T & E” of a STEM education and the place for you to find out

more about the national direction dealing with STEM education. When

you combine STEM directions, a conference theme on GREEN initiatives,

and the latest practices in the profession all at the same conference, it is THE

place for you to be!

Go to the Preliminary Program at

conferenceguide.htm for complete conference information.

ITEA Continues Its “Green” Efforts

On February 1, ITEA launched a new area of its

website that will be completely devoted to “green”

resources for teaching professionals.

Located at,

this new resource offers information pertaining

to green topics such as food, biodiversity,

environment, energy/power, health, green

building, water resources, transportation, and

green funding. The “green page” also includes green rss feeds, miscellaneous

green resources, articles, presentations, activities, and more.

ITEA’s “Green Page” was launched in conjunction with the theme of

ITEA’s 72nd Annual Conference to be held March 18-20 in Charlotte, NC.

Additional resources are being actively solicited and should be sent to Andy

Stephenson, DTE at



T h e V o i c e o f T e c h n o l o g y E d u c a t i o n


Editorial Review Board


Gerald Day

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Lori Abernethy

Andrew Morrison ES, PA

Byron C. Anderson

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Chris Anderson

Gateway Regonal HS, NJ

Steve Andersen

Nikolay Middle School, WI

Laura Morford Erli

East Side MS, IN

Jeremy Ernst

North Carolina State


Kara Harris

Indiana State University

Marie Hoepfl

Appalachian State University

Laura Hummell

Manteo Middle School, NC

Doug Hunt

Southern Wells HS, IN

Petros Katsioloudis

Old Dominion University

Anthony Korwin, DTE

NM Public Education


Thomas Loveland

St. Petersburg College

Linda Markert

SUNY at Oswego

Randy McGriff

Kesling MS, IN

Doug Miller

MO Department of Education

Steve Parrott

IL State Board of Education

Mary Annette Rose

Ball State University

Terrie Rust

Oasis Elementary School, AZ

Bart Smoot

Delmar MS/HS, DE

Andy Stephenson, DTE

Southside Technical Center,


Jerianne Taylor

Appalachian State University

Ken Zushma

Heritage MS, NJ

Editorial Policy

As the only national and international association dedicated

solely to the development and improvement of technology

education, ITEA seeks to provide an open forum for the free

exchange of relevant ideas relating to technology education.

Materials appearing in the journal, including

advertising, are expressions of the authors and do not

necessarily reflect the official policy or the opinion of the

association, its officers, or the ITEA Headquarters staff.

Referee Policy

All professional articles in The Technology Teacher are

refereed, with the exception of selected association

activities and reports, and invited articles. Refereed articles

are reviewed and approved by the Editorial Board before

publication in The Technology Teacher. Articles with bylines

will be identified as either refereed or invited unless written

by ITEA officers on association activities or policies.

Ad Index

California University of PA........................... 34

Carnegie Mellon.............................................C4

CNC Mastercam.............................................C2

Engineering byDesign.................................. 36

Goodheart-Willcox Publisher...................... 19

Kelvin................................................................ 30

Pitsco.................................................................. iii

Valley City State University........................... iii

To Submit Articles

All articles should be sent directly to the Editor-in-Chief,

International Technology Education Association, 1914

Association Drive, Suite 201, Reston, VA 20191-1539.

Please submit articles and photographs via email

to Maximum length for

manuscripts is eight pages. Manuscripts should be prepared

following the style specified in the Publications Manual of

the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition.

Editorial guidelines and review policies are available by

writing directly to ITEA or by visiting

Publications/Submissionguidelines.htm. Contents copyright

© 2010 by the International Technology Education

Association, Inc., 703-860-2100.

1 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010


Are you planning to attend the ITEA 2010 Charlotte

Conference? Do you want to:

• Become a better teacher?

• Learn how to design the next-generation facility?

• Explore how gaming is being used by technology and

engineering teachers?

• Receive the professional development that you want, at

the pace that you want, on just about any topic taught

by technology and engineering teachers?

If your answer is “yes,” then the ITEA Charlotte

Conference is the place for you to be.

This year’s theme is “Green Technology: STEM Solutions

for 21st Century Citizens,” and the conference focus is

to increase awareness regarding how we can make strides

to sustain our environment through smart decision

making, consumerism, designing, creating, and using

human ingenuity.

A sampling of the scheduled presentations include

21st Century learning skills, NASA presentations,

Engineering byDesign workshops, action labs, and the

latest thoughts pertaining to teaching engineering at the

secondary level. If you are into technical topics, consider

presentations on biotechnology, alternative energy topics,

aquaculture, solar technology, robotics, and more. ITEA’s

trade show will provide even more learning, with a whole

new line of products and materials that are now available to

the classroom and laboratory.

Please join us March 18-20 at the Charlotte Convention

Center, to hear your colleagues and experts in your field and

also to participate in over 100 professional development

learning sessions. That’s in addition to educational tours,

workshops, and great networking opportunities. These

offerings will give you real “take home value” that you can

implement directly

into your classroom


Go to the Charlotte

Preliminary Program

at www.iteaconnect.



htm for complete


information. You can

register on-site at

the Registration Booth

Charlotte Convention Center

Photo courtesy of Visit Charlotte

in the Charlotte Convention Center. And don’t forget that

your ITEA membership must be current through March

2010 in order to quality for member rates, which offer

terrific discounts.

ITEA is the “T & E” of a STEM education and the place

for you to find out more about the national direction

dealing with STEM education. When you combine STEM

directions, a conference theme on GREEN initiatives,

and the latest practices in the profession all at the same

conference, it is THE place for you to be!

EbDLabs in Charlotte

Be sure to check out the Engineering byDesign Labs

(EbDLabs) at the Charlotte conference. These labs are

an excellent opportunity for teachers and other educators

to experience one of the EbD courses in a workshop

environment. Foundational professional development is

provided for each course or instructional component. A

small fee ($25) is requested to cover supplies and can be

paid through the conference registration form. Whether you

are in a Consortium state or not, whether you are currently

teaching an EbD course or just want to find out more—

these workshops are not to be missed. These sessions are

hands-on and minds-on, with the fundamentals necessary

to implement the units or courses.

• The offerings for Thursday, March 18 include

workshops on the following EbD courses: Invention,

Innovation, and Inquiry (I 3 ) (Grades 3–5); Technological

Systems (Grade 8); Foundations of Technology (Grade

9); and Advanced Technological Applications (Grades


• On Friday, March 19, the EbD workshops will cover:

Exploring Technology (Grade 6); Technological Design

(Grades 10–12); and Advanced Design Applications

(Grades 10–12).

• And on Saturday morning, March 20, EbD workshops

will be offered on: Technology Starters (elementary) and

Engineering Design (Grades 11–12).

For complete descriptions of this year’s EbDLabs, visit

EbD Booth in Charlotte

Stop by the EbD booth on the vendor floor in Charlotte

at the ITEA Annual Conference, March 18-20, 2010. Take

advantage of this opportunity to speak with teachers and

other educators about implementing EbD in the classroom.

Free raffle and goodies will be available as well. For more

information, contact or 703-860-2100.

2 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

STEM News - Calendar

ITEA Continues Its “Green” Efforts

On February 1, ITEA launched a new area of its website

completely devoted to “green” resources for teaching


Located at, this new

resource offers information pertaining to green topics such

as food, biodiversity, environment, energy/power, health,

green building, water resources, transportation, and green

funding. The “green page” also includes green rss feeds,

miscellaneous green resources, articles, presentations,

activities, and more.

ITEA’s “Green Page” was launched in conjunction with the

theme of ITEA’s 72nd Annual Conference to be held March

18-20 in Charlotte, NC. Additional resources are being

actively solicited and should be sent to Andy Stephenson,

DTE at


March 12, 2010 The Technology Education Association

of Massachusetts (TEAM) will hold its Annual Curriculum

Development Conference at Fitchburg State College. The

theme of this year’s conference is Invention and Innovation

Using Green Technology. Green Technology encompasses an

evolving group of materials and processes, from generating

energy to construction to nontoxic chemical products. The

conference will feature live presentations, demonstrations,

and hands-on activities that are sure to make you feel right

at home. 6 PDPs are awarded to attendees. Conference and

registration information are available at http://www.awrsd.


March 18-20, 2010 ITEA’s 72nd Annual Conference,

Green Technology: STEM Solutions for 21st Century

Citizens will be held in Charlotte, NC. This conference will

feature a series of presentations about the use of design and

technology to make a better society by using best practices

to deliver education with an eye on 21st Century learning

skills as a basis for our future citizens. Presentations will

address one or more of the following three strands: (1)

Designing the Green Environment, (2) Describing Best

Practices Through Teaching and Learning STEM, and

(3) Developing 21st Century Skills. What better way to

address these issues than through Science, Technology,

Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.






March 27, 2010 The Technology Education Association

of Maine (TEAM) will hold its Spring Conference at

Yarmouth High School. Visit

TEAM/Conference.html for additional information.

April 2010 The EPA’s National Design Expo and P3

Sustainable Design Challenge will celebrate its 6th year in

conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the

40th anniversary celebration of the founding of the EPA.

The celebration will last for three days on the National Mall

in Washington, DC, and local school groups are invited

to attend, visit the student design-challenge tent, and

meet with engineers, scientists, and business leaders who

are working to develop innovations designed to advance

economic growth while reducing environmental impact.

The Beyond Benign Foundation will be hosting a Classroom

on the Mall at which you can schedule hands-on activities

designed specifically for your students in order to turn this

experience into a standards-based field trip that you can

take back to the classroom. Save the date now and reserve a

school bus for April 19, 2010. You won’t want your students

to miss this opportunity. Find out more about the National

Sustainable Design Expo and the P3 Sustainable Design

Challenge at For more information about

the Classroom on the Mall and to make a reservation for

your class trip, please visit

April 9-10, 2010 The Ohio Technology Education

Association (OTEA) will hold its Spring Conference at

Worthington Kilbourne High School. Visit

CONFERENCES.HTML for complete details.

April 14-16, 2010 The New York State Technology

Education Association (NYSTEA) will hold its 2010 Annual

Conference, Setting the Course for Technology Education,

in Poughkeepsie, New York. This will be the first time

NYSTEA has traveled to this historic area along the scenic

Hudson River that is celebrating its 400th Birthday this year.

The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel will be the host (845-485-

5300; Room Rates are: $110.00 double

occupancy per night (includes breakfast). Please mention

you are with NYSTEA when reserving your room and use

NYTECH as the promotional code. Reservation cut-off

date is March 22, 2010. Additional information and online

registration can be found at

3 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

STEM Calendar

May 13, 2010 The Connecticut Technology Education

Association Spring Conference will be held at the CCSU

Student Center. Online registration and payment:


May 13-14, 2010 Save the dates for the New Jersey

Technology Education Association (NJTEA) 2010 Spring

Conference and Expo, which will be held at the Dolce

Seaview in Galloway, NJ (www.dolce-seaview-hotel.

com/). This beautiful venue is located just seven miles from

Atlantic City and minutes from the Smithville Shops (www. The event will include workshops,

educational tours, recreational events, and more throughout

the weekend. Conference registration information and

programs will be available very soon. Continue to check for information as it develops.

June 15, 2010 Presenter application deadline for

ITEA’s 73rd Annual Conference, Preparing the STEM

Workforce: The

Next Generation,

to be held March

24-26, 2011 in

Minneapolis, MN.


should address one

of the following strands:

• The 21st Century Workforce – Describe the major

characteristics of our future workplace. What STEM

teaching and learning concepts are key in such a

workforce? What will an effective program feature for

students in terms of knowledge learned and expected

outcomes? What will the global workforce look like in

the future?

• New Basics – What new content and concepts will be

important in technology and engineering courses of the

future? What will be the new technical skills and how

will they be tied to all STEM subjects? What current

basics will fade? Describe the new courses of the future.

How will STEM teaching and learning change as a

result of the new basics?

• Sustainable Workforce and Environment – How

will the sustainable workforce and environment blend

together in the future? What new technologies and

concepts will join such areas of interest as energy,

resource utilization, manufacturing, and more as a

major focus of STEM education? What educational

policies need to be adjusted to create strong STEM

sustainable education for all?


for additional information and the online application.

June 17-21, 2010 Technological Learning & Thinking:

Culture, Design, Sustainability, Human Ingenuity—an

international conference sponsored by The University of

British Columbia and The University of Western Ontario,

Faculties of Education, in conjunction with the Canadian

Commission for UNESCO—will take place in Vancouver,

British Columbia. The conference organizing committee

invites papers that address various dimensions or problems

of technological learning and thinking. Scholarship is

welcome from across the disciplines including Complexity

Science, Design, Engineering, Environmental Studies,

Education, History, Indigenous Studies, Philosophy,

Psychology, and Sociology of Technology, and STS. The

conference is designed to inspire conversation between

the learning and teaching of technology and the cultural,

environmental, and social study of technology. Learn more

about it at

June 28-July 2, 2010 Baltimore, MD is the site for

the 32nd Annual National TSA (Technology Student

Association) Conference, TSA, Tomorrow’s Leaders. TSA

members throughout the nation all agree that for them,

the highlight of the school year is unquestionably the

annual national conference. The TSA national conference is

packed with competitive events and challenging activities

that foster personal growth and leadership development.

Visit to

view a conference slide show and access competition and

accommodation information.

August 8-11, 2010 The New York State STEM Education

Collaborative will present its 2010 Summer Institute,

STEM: Links to the Future, at State University of New York

at Oswego in Oswego, NY. The conference is coordinated


professional organizations representing science, technology,

engineering, and mathematics in New York State—and

hosted by SUNY/Oswego’s Department of Technology

and School of Education. Visit www.nysstemeducation.

org/2010Institute.html for complete information.

List your State/Province Association Conference

in TTT and STEM Connections (ITEA’s electronic

newsletter). Submit conference title, date(s), location,

and contact information (at least two months prior to

journal publication date) to

4 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

What is Green?

By Rachel Pokrandt

The alternative technologies that

are needed in the green toolbox

have not yet been invented. Your

students will be the generation

to fill it up.

So you have signed the ITEA pledge to teach green

and you have your “I Teach Green” pin . . . now

what? Well it’s going to be a journey, so strap in and

start here. A brief caveat: I am not, nor have I ever

been a technology teacher but I do consider some of your

finest my friends, and I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express

last night where I ate breakfast off a polystyrene plate with a

plastic fork. So here is some advice from a “struggling to be

green” human being and a “wannabe” technology teacher.

And if you’re short on time, I’ve even provided some “Green

Teaching CliffsNotes” on page 10.

Why You Should Teach Green

From the moment we’re born we start to have an impact

on the environment. We begin to use finite resources, to

create waste, and to pollute the renewable resources that

are ever so delicately balanced. People have a generally

depleting impact upon the resources of the earth, and as we

approach a population count of seven billion, we are seeing

Is your water bottle made from plastic that will persist in the

environment indefinitely?

the negative consequences of that many people on our

environment. Anyone who teaches preteens or teenagers

knows that the urge to procreate is strong, so the ultimate

green act of helping to decrease the population by not

replicating ourselves is probably not going to save us. So

without that solution, how do we chase the mirage that is

green and why should you put energy into it?

Your Impact. A Lesson in Critical Thinking

Everything has an impact on our environment, including

biodiesel, solar energy, and carrying a reusable water bottle.

5 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

Biodiesel can negatively impact the food supply by using

valuable farmland to create fuel instead of food. One billion

of our world’s inhabitants are starving today. Solar panels

are made from highly toxic materials that will create massive

pollution at the end of their use, and your reusable water

bottle is either made from plastics that will persist in the

environment indefinitely or from aluminum that is probably

produced from an Equatorial mine that pollutes water and

harms local people. OK, bear with me—this isn’t going to

turn into a guilt diatribe at the end of which you will say,

“Forget it; I may as well buy a Hummer.” The steps toward

green that we take as we begin to use alternative fuels and

alter the way we behave as consumers are a pivotal part

of our evolution. Remember that while people talk about

saving the earth, we are really talking about saving the

human race. The earth will still exist if people don’t. If we

destroy the elements on the earth that sustain our lives—

drinking water, air that we can breathe, and food that we can

eat—then we destroy ourselves, not necessarily the earth

and everything else on it. The earth will survive, but humans

won’t. And the truth is that we don’t want to just survive, we

want to eat, drink, and be merry!

Your Students Are Ready

We are just awakening to the consequences of

industrialization. Ironically, as we enjoy the benefits of

plastics and aluminum and fossil fuels, we are questioning

their use and striving to invent the next best materials.

Humans are driven by the next best thing—as your students

will be. When I was a classroom teacher, I remember that

the greatest accolade that I could give students was to say

“Wow, I have never seen it done that way.” They are hooked

on innovation, and “greenovation” can be the hook that

makes your classroom more dynamic, your professional life

more rewarding, and at the same time helps your students

see how they can save the world. OK, it sounds a little like a

Miss Universe speech, but go with it! Students get it—this is

the generation that has grown up with the image of the polar

bear struggling to survive on the ever-melting platform of

ice; they have always recycled; and they have always lived

with forest fires. You are negating their life experience if

your green teaching consists merely of a unit you implement

once a year.

Dr. John Warner, coauthor of the twelve principles of green

chemistry, shows an illustration of a regular metal toolbox

that can be found in any garage in the U.S. and I suspect in

the classroom of every technology teacher. The toolbox is

a metaphor for every invention of the industrialized world

that makes modern human existence viable. Anyone seeking

to create a product can go to this toolbox to figure out how

to make a plastic that is durable and malleable, how to make

a conductive coating for a circuit board for your laptop

computer, how to create a medicine, how to power a car,

and how to fly—amazing inventions that have changed

the way we live, made the world smaller, and saved and

improved lives. Then there is the metaphoric “green”

toolbox. A well-meaning person, wishing to create a product

to enhance the way the world lives, may come to this

green toolbox to find a way to make a product in a more

sustainable way—but therein lies the problem. The green

toolbox is largely empty. The alternative technologies that

are needed in the green toolbox have not yet been invented.

Your students will be the generation to fill it up. It is

happening every day. Just go on websites like www.supereco.

com. There you can read about a new toothbrush that helps

squeeze all of the toothpaste out of the tube, a TV remote

that is human-powered—just shake and click—or a jewelry

line that is made from recycled glass. These additions to the

green toolbox are for everyone, and there is a way to think

green no matter what your students are into. That is why

green is a question.

Questioning is Good

Sometimes the human condition leads us to the endless

pursuit of making things without considering whether we

should. Human ingenuity can make a person breathless, and

I am guessing that the excitement of human ingenuity is one

The green toolbox is largely empty. Your students will be the generation

to fill it up.

6 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

of the reasons that you love being a teacher of technology.

But if we are making things that serve us as humans on the

earth, then we should make sure they are indeed serving us.

If we create a material that will ultimately kill us due to its

carcinogenic nature, or pollute our water or food source,

how does that really serve us? The green movement calls

for change, but that doesn’t mean we all need to give up

modern technologies and go and live in a cave. The way we

live will only improve if technology can be harnessed to

create products and processes that give us the services and

design that we want without compromising the health of

the human race.

Green is a question with varying answers and sometimes

no answer at all. I was recently teaching a house-building

unit to a group of teachers at a professional development

workshop. In this unit, students were challenged to build a

house while being asked to consider the materials they used

against the twelve principles of green chemistry. One of the

teachers wanted to know which roofing material was “the

most green” and was incensed by my answer that there is no

“best” material. He insisted that his students would want to

know which one to choose, and again I had to explain that

he wouldn’t be able to tell them. You see, there is a great

new product on the market that allows roof insulation with

a sod-like material that is low-cost, insulating, renewable,

and literally green. It works great on the east coast where

rain is plentiful and snow is not. However, where I live—a

high desert environment in the Rocky Mountains—the grass

roof would be terrible for the environment, as it requires

massive amounts of water (a resource that is like gold in

the Southwest) and holds snow in a way that could cause

the roof to cave in. So green is a question. It is a question of

location, resources, people, environment, and money.

Your Students are Relying on You to Prepare Them

for the World of Work. Don’t Let Them Down

Students without tools to join the green revolution are being

shortchanged and will ultimately be left behind. Corporate

America is embracing green building, green chemistry,

green engineering, and sustainability because there is money

to be made and saved by using these concepts, and it feels

good—secondary, but still important. In Michigan, once

the most industrial state in the union, government and

industry alike are embracing green as their salvation from

unemployment and underemployment. With an industrially

skilled workforce whose industry is fleeing to other parts of

the world, Michiganders are realizing that their new strength

will be making the stuff that serves the needs of the worlds’

consumers—but making that stuff BETTER. To learn more

about green chemistry efforts and workforce development in

Michigan, go to


The green movement shouldn’t be about living in a cave

and eating tree bark and wearing a gunny sack—it should

be about being cool and innovative and trendy and cutting

edge and BETTER. Our kids can do this—you see it every

day in your classroom. Green is a struggle much like the way

you changed your own behavior by learning to recycle or

bringing your mug to the local coffee shop or bringing cloth

bags with you to the store. So be easy on yourself—start

to use resources that incorporate green questions, and set

goals for your students.

Make a Statement

If you announce at the beginning of the year that your

classroom is green and put up posters (email me and I’ll

send you some) to that effect, your students will keep you

honest. They will question your methods and practices,

and you will have to be willing to be caught out often. A

student loves nothing better than to catch his or her teacher

messing up. Green is a new way of thinking, and new ways

of thinking take a generation to change. It always starts in

the K-12 setting, and you are responsible for it! Though keep

in mind that you don’t have to be perfectly green to talk the

talk in your classroom. If green remains a question, you will

be doing a lot of self-evaluating in time as you use green to

innovate. Be easy on yourself—we are right there with you!

Using Green as a Question

As green really has no end point, your goal should be to

teach students to question and consider green. Teach them

what green is and then constantly look at the way they do

everything using a green compass. Continually ask yourself,

“How does this thing that I’m making, activity that I am

engaged in, or concept that I’m thinking about, stack up to

the principles of green?” Below are several useful metrics to

help you answer the green question.

Metric #1: The Twelve Principles of Green


* A special note on why chemistry matters to you and your

students: You make stuff, and chemists make the molecules

that make the stuff that you make stuff out of. Technology

is where molecules synthesized by chemists are made into

products that enhance the human experience. We are in bed

together for better or worse—let’s make the sheets green!

Metrics are unavoidable for teachers. We have metrics for

students and metrics for teachers, and we need a metric

for green. If you say you are a great teacher of technology,

do you just instantly get that DTE designation? No, you

must prove you are a great teacher of technology with

7 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

your portfolio of work and your activity in ITEA. The

twelve principles of green chemistry are a metric for

green. Green is about raising all of the expectations of a

generation of students.

Using the metric that is offered in the twelve principles

of green chemistry, your students can design in a greener

way. Remember that two of the most important principles

of green chemistry are efficacy and economics. Green is

cheapened if it involves designing a process or product that

doesn’t work as well and is exponentially more expensive.

Green should be inherently better, not just greener.

1. Pollution Prevention

Does the creation of this product or process create


2. Atom Economy

Does everything that goes into this product or process

get incorporated in the final product, or am I creating

unnecessary waste?

3. Less Hazardous Synthesis

Could I make this product or conduct this process in a

way that makes it safer for people or the environment?

4. Design Safer Chemicals

Am I designing products and processes that are safe for

people and the environment?

5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries

Could I use any materials in my product or processes

that have less impact on human health or the


6. Energy Efficiency

Am I using the least energy possible in my creation of

this product or process?

7. Renewable Feedstocks

What is the lifecycle of this product or process, and

could I use materials that are renewable?

8. Reduce Derivatives

Have I reduced waste as much as possible in this

product or process?

9. Catalysis

Have I used a renewable catalyst to create a product or

process rather than a toxic chemical?

10. Design for Degradation

Am I designing a product that will biodegrade in the

environment after its useful life?

11. Real-Time Analysis

What plan do I have in place to constantly monitor

my process and make sure I am doing it in the best way


12. Accident Prevention

Have I designed a process and product that reduces the

possibility of accidents occurring when workers might

be making it in a manufacturing facility?

Metric #2: The Sustainability Triangle

What is sustainability? Everyone seems to be using that

word lately. Sustainability, in fact, is meeting the needs of

current generations without compromising the needs of

future generations. Most people, when they see the word

sustainability, immediately jump to visions of the trees

and the rainforests and everything environmental, but

sustainability, in its true form, is a larger concept—the

sweet spot between concern with the environment, social

equity, and economics. You can’t save the rainforests

unless it makes financial and social sense, so looking

at environmental responsibility through the “three Es”

of sustainability is essential. For a full explanation of

how to use the sustainability grid below, check out the

“Measuring Sustainability” lesson at www.beyondbenign.

org/K12education/highschool.html. Here you can learn

how to use this triangle in your classroom to get students to

evaluate everything they do in terms of sustainability and to

show them that sustainability has to happen in a way that is

positive for the economy, people, and the environment.




Social Equity

Metric #3: The Nine Principles of Green











1. Engineer processes and products holistically, use

systems analysis, and integrate environmental impact

assessment tools.

Am I looking at everything I am doing in regard to

environmental impact?

2. Conserve/improve ecosystems while protecting

human health and well-being.

Am I helping the environment and society when I am

creating a product or process?

8 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

3. Use life-cycle thinking in all engineering activities.

Have I considered where the materials I am using

come from and where they end up when we are

finished using them?

4. Ensure all material and energy inputs and outputs are

as inherently safe and benign as possible.

Am I creating a product and process that are safe for

the environment and humans?

5. Minimize depletion of natural resources.

Have I considered whether the product or process I am

developing or using is deleting natural resources in an

irresponsible way?

6. Strive to prevent waste.

Have I looked at my product and every step of my

process to make sure I have prevented the creation of


7. Develop and apply engineering solutions while

being cognizant of local geography, aspirations, and


Have I considered local resources and thinking in my

process or product?

8. Create engineering solutions beyond current or

dominant technologies; improve, innovate, and

invent (technologies) to achieve sustainability.

Have I thought out of the box about the way I have

decided to produce or design my product or process?

Maybe I can think about doing it in a way that has

not been thought of before.

9. Actively engage stakeholders in development of

engineering solutions.

Who else could I ask to help me make my product or

process more sustainable?

Metric #4: Toxicity and Impact on the Environment

If you do nothing else, you can do this: just have your

students consider toxicity and impact on the environment

of everything they design or make. Don’t change any of

the units you already teach. Don’t add a dedicated green

unit, don’t go onto the Beyond Benign website at www. and download our hands-on curriculum

units for free. (Okay, I admit that was a shameless plug.)

All you have to do to each of the already exciting and

inventive curriculum units that you use is to add the

consideration of toxicity and impact on the environment.

What if each student had to consider toxicity and impact

on the environment every time he or she considered,

designed, developed, or created a material or process

in your classroom? You can extend the cross-curricular

learning aspects even further by asking students to write

evaluations of these aspects of their work.


Metrics are important. Technology and engineering teachers

often struggle to prove the worth of their classroom work

in comparison to subjects like math and English, so connect

your green themes to the technology standards. The STL

(ITEA 2000/2002/2007) technology and society standards

are a natural fit with green concepts. The standards in this

section relate directly to the concepts of sustainability,

incorporating concepts of economy and social equity

into their core. The design standards are directly relatable

to everything you read in the twelve principles of green

chemistry and engineering, and Standard 13, “assessing the

impacts of products and systems,” can be woven through

every unit you do using the questioning pertaining to

toxicity and impact on the environment.

You are Uniquely Positioned to Make an Impact

As teachers of technology, you don’t have to just talk about

green—you can “do” green. So much of green flows in the

minds and hearts of well-meaning people and policy wonks,

but this is not where green happens. You have a chance

to actually do green through technology. My dad worked

at a coal-fired power plant, and he never let us forget that

each time we switched on a light or made a cup of coffee,

someone had made the electricity that made those actions

possible. He taught us to relentlessly turn off lights and

save energy. He did those things not because he was into

green, but because he cherished the technology, materials,

and people power that had created the electricity, and he

knew how precious it was. People who make materials and

work with technology are uniquely placed to cherish the

product and process that are brought to us, and this will

naturally lead to responsible action and better design for

the environment.

I regularly work with math and science teachers who are

envious of your opportunity to teach science and math in

technology and engineering’s uniquely hands-on way. You

are uniquely positioned to teach green. You could move the

green revolution along in a way that no other teachers have

the opportunity to do.

A Few Words of Caution

CO 2

centricity. The very real threat of climate change is

often a difficult sell to students, and even though it is a vital

part of the discussion of green, it can be a difficult message

and not a very dynamic one. If you only teach a unit on

green energy and CO 2

emissions, you are not teaching

green. Pollutants kill people and ecosystems all over the

world on a daily basis. Consideration of toxic materials and

processes is a part of green that is vital in order for us to

9 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

e better human beings. This can often be a much more

compelling message to students, as it is more personal

and immediate for us all than what we will do when there

are no more polar bears. As much as we all love a polar

bear, they are not part of our everyday experience—people

are, and everyday examples of green issues can galvanize

students in a way that polar ice cap melt may not, but with

the same outcomes. Teach about energy usage and fossil

fuel emissions through the year, but don’t make it your only

green focus.

Don’t buy any lesson plans. Question any textbook that is

written to address teaching green. Green is happening every

day, and way before that book has even gone to print it will

be outdated. Use what you already know, and do everything

through that new lens. Use free web resources and the

ingenuity of yourself and your students to teach green.

You already teach units about design and creating

products and processes that serve society—just add a

green lens to those projects. A great example of this is

ITEA’s Invention, Innovation, and Inquiry (I 3 ) Project.

There is one unit in which students design gadgets in

5th and 6th grades in order to explore the concept of

inventions. Use this existing unit to have students think

about the materials they are using to design their gadget

or how much energy their gadget might use, or to look

at the lifecycle of the object they create. There is a unit

on building design and the strength of beams that could

easily incorporate building materials and energy-efficiency

considerations. And another one on transportation

that could incorporate a look at the use of fossil fuels in

infrastructure. You don’t need to stop and teach something

completely new, because what you teach as educators in

technology already lends itself so well to these topics; just

do it all a little differently.

The Last Item on Your “To Do” List: See Dr. John

Warner Speak in Charlotte!

This month, at ITEA’s annual conference in Charlotte, my

mentor in all things green, Dr. John Warner, author of the

twelve principles of green chemistry, will speak. Be there!

John is our blue collar chemist—a Princeton Ph.D. who

has the unique ability to take chemistry out of the musty

research lab and into your heart. He connects chemistry to

making stuff, and that is why, when he speaks, I finally feel

like I know something about chemistry—a subject almost

universally hated by all but a few people who ever made it

through high school. Dr. Warner makes chemistry sexy and

understands that technology teachers are uniquely placed to

provide a conduit for the teaching of green chemistry, and

he believes that green will happen in the design, production,

and development of products and materials that enhance

the human experience.


Anastas, P. T. & Warner, J. C. (1998). Green chemistry:

Theory and practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

International Technology Education Association.

(2000/2002/2007). Standards for technological literacy:

Content for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

Green Teaching CliffsNotes:

1. Ask your students to consider toxicity and impact

on the environment every time they design or make


2. Remember, green is about people and money as

well as the rainforests and ice caps!

3. Be easy on yourself. . .we are all struggling to get

green right, but don’t wimp out on the struggle.

Rachel Pokrandt has been developing

multidisciplinary sustainable science

curricula for middle and high school

students for seven years, working on

programs with Pfizer, the U.S. Department

of Energy, NASA, DuPont, and DOW

Chemical. Rachel has been involved

in Green Chemistry Education through the “Recipe for

Sustainable Science” and “Solutions in Green Chemistry”

programs of Beyond Benign and has trained over 340

teachers in the use of these materials through summer

institutes and weekend workshops in the U.S., Ireland,

England, and Puerto Rico. Prior to her curriculum

development work, Rachel was a classroom teacher for seven

years. She can be reached via email at rachel_pokrandt@

Beyond Benign is a nonprofit organization that provides

open access to education materials as well as teacher,

industry, and community training in sustainability and green

chemistry. Please visit our website (

for numerous free lesson plans and to find out where and

when you could attend a training.

Many thanks to “Team Pachera” for letting me be an

honorary technology teacher! You know who you are.

10 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

Resources in Technology

A Place to Stay: Building Green

By Walter F. Deal

Efficiencies, economies, and

impacts on the environment can

be readily realized through careful


A Look at the Past: Introduction and History

Nearly all living things may be called artisans, designers,

and builders. We need only to look around us in our

environment. We can see that birds, animals, insects,

and marine or aquatic life build “homes” for many of the

same reasons that humans do. We can see nests of all

kinds, burrows, and tunnels that are carefully designed

using the materials that nature has provided in an efficient

and resourceful manner. They provide many of the same

benefits that we, as humans, expect from our homes. These

expectations include shelter from the weather—to keep us

warm and provide a measure of safety. In the case of many

animals, shelter also provides a measure of protection

from predators.

Looking back in time, the earliest of humans were thought

to have been cave or cliff dwellers and nomads. Ancient

artifacts reveal that in many parts of the world early

humans were hunters and gatherers of food as a means

of survival. Nomadic peoples traditionally designed and

constructed tents from animal hides, wool, and other

natural materials. No matter what the societal organization

was at the time, whether cave dweller or nomad, the focus

of shelter needs was a natural process and complementary

to the environment. Cave and cliff dwellers may have

changed the properties of a cave or cliff to more readily

meet their needs or perhaps added a fire pit to generate

warmth, roast food, or fire ceramic wares, but their impact

was probably minimal.

Much like humans, animals and insects construct structures

to meet their needs. Look at a squirrel’s nest and you will

see that it consists of leaves and twigs that are carefully

assembled to tie the nest to the limbs of a tree for warmth

and security. Many species of birds are magnificent builders

that use materials close at hand and readily available to

build nests. Some birds will use twigs and needle-like leaves

from pine trees, while others may make a composite of

dried grasses and mud that makes for a strong and durable

nest. Yet other large birds of prey may use large and heavy

sticks to build a nest, while a sparrow prefers the soft texture

of lichens. In the end, most all of these animal structures

complement the ways of nature and are reclaimed in time or

even recycled and used by other birds!

In time, humans began to develop societal organizations

that eventually would become what we know as towns and

cities. As people began to develop societal organizations,

we can see an increase in the sophistication in the design of

their structures. Some of the oldest structures that remain

are very impressive—such as the Great Pyramids in Giza,

the Roman Coliseum, and the Parthenon of Greece, built

on the Acropolis in Athens. Stonehenge, a massive circular

megalithic monument on the Salisbury Plain in southern

England, is the most famous of all prehistoric structures

(Info Please).

While many of these famous structures still survive, most

were temples or monuments recognizing rulers and elite

classes of the past. However, the Greeks are noted for their

focus on the comforts of the living. They used their time

and resources to invent what we call necessities today—

such as flush toilets and running water. (Ross, p. 36) Today

there are few remains of dwellings used by common folk

from ancient times. What we do know is that early humans

11 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

made extensive use of natural materials that were readily

available to them. Additionally, many early dwellings

capitalized on the passive nature of the sun’s energy,

geography, and climate.

As the world’s population grew, there also was an increase

in the demand for buildings and homes. Perhaps the

industrial revolution may have, in part, been responsible

for the change in the way that homes and buildings were

constructed. During the industrial revolution, the engines

of industry expanded their quest for technology and energy.

The invention of the steam engine, discovery of low-cost

petroleum, improvements in coal mining, and the invention

of rail transportation helped provide an environment that

changed the way that people designed and constructed

buildings and other products because of the benefits of

concentrated energy.

Buildings and homes could be built in climates that were

cold and seemingly inhospitable because they could be

heated with wood, coal, and oil. Energy supplies seemed to

be limitless, and little thought was given to the impact that

the extractive and refining processes of fossil fuels would

have on the environment and geography. This would change

in time as the price of energy increased and it was realized

that consuming large quantities of fossil fuels could prove

costly and damaging to the environment.

Defining Construction

Construction can be defined as the planning and design

of structures for shelter and meeting human and other

needs. The primary purpose of construction is to build

structures that provide shelter and storage, transportation,

and utilities that service the day-to-day activities of people.

Today we see a much broader description of construction.

We see such terms as sustainable construction, green

building, climate change, and environmentally friendly

building being used in defining and describing building and

construction projects. As we look more closely at how these

terms are being used, we can see that they address building

processes and practices that are resource-efficient and

environmentally responsible in the planning, design, and

construction of structures as well as their demolition at the

end of their life cycle. We see that the key elements highlight

the resources and the environment and are consistent with

traditional building activities where durability, economy,

utility, and comfort have been major concerns. “Green

building is ultimately about the relationship of a house and

its occupants to the world around them. It’s a process of

design and construction that fosters the conservation of

energy and other natural resources and promotes a healthy

environment” (Johnson & Scott p. 6). Reflect if you will, on

the example of shelter practices of early humans and animals

when building materials were selected based on availability

and compatibility with their needs and the environment.

Typically, construction activities and projects are classified

into three major areas. These areas include commercial

and residential construction, industrial construction, and

civil construction. Shopping centers, office buildings,

malls, and homes are examples of commercial and

residential construction projects (Figure 1). Typically,

these kinds of projects are located on sites based on the

availability and cost of property, zoning ordinances, and

demand or need. Transportation access is an important

consideration for these kinds of projects. Retail and office

commercial building locations require access to easy

modes of transportation for consumer access and delivery

of goods and services. Historically, commercial buildings

were located in the central parts or business districts of

cities, with residential areas close by on the periphery of

the business districts. Easy transportation to and from the

business areas was convenient and accessible. With the

invention of the automobile and the mobility it brought

about, large numbers of people were able to move away

from central cities and towns. This was an outward

migration of people that would change the landscape into

a system of roads and highways that would have a major

impact on land use and development. However, today we

see that many commercial developments and projects are

being constructed near residential communities as part

of planned community development where residences,

businesses, and certain types of industries are developed—

for example, planned communities with sustainable

Figure 1. Today many homes are built in planned communities

called subdivisions. Subdivisions include water, sewer, electrical

utilities, and site development that address road and street systems

as well as drainage. Shown here is a newly constructed home that

employs contemporary energy-saving features such as efficient

insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, appliances,

and lighting.

12 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

approaches where living, working, and recreation are

integrated into a community that highlights benefits of

central cities and suburban living and is complementary

with the environment.

Most communities have some type of planning board

that addresses planning and development needs of the

community. Today we see that, in addition to planning and

Figure 2. Building codes and sustainability boards provide a

framework for planning and designing integrated land-use

principles to complement residential and business activities within

a community. Multifamily homes provide many of the same

features and conveniences of single family homes, but do so with a

smaller land-use footprint.

development, such boards address sustainability needs

and concerns. Planning and sustainability boards typically

promote integrated land use planning and development that

is based on sustainability principles and practices. (Figure 2)

Sustainability boards also develop and implement policies

and programs that provide environmental, economic, and

social benefits to residents, businesses, and government,

which can strengthen a community’s position as a model of

sustainable practices for its residents and commerce partners.

Planned communities capitalize on modest land use and

minimal conflict with the surrounding environment.

Figure 2 illustrates multifamily construction practices

that highlight efficient use of the property with off-street

parking and streets with water run-off capture capabilities

that minimize road run-off into streams and rivers that

degrade these waters. Additional features that we now see

in planned communities are strategies to reduce the impact

and inconvenience of animal wastes along sidewalk areas

and activity areas (Figure 3) bike routes, and walkways for

joggers and pedestrians.

Building Codes—The Purpose of Code Compliance

The purpose of building codes is to protect the general

safety, welfare, and health of the public in buildings and

other regulated structures. Building codes are regulations

that govern minimal acceptable construction practices and

materials used in the construction of buildings. There are

four major code compliance areas. This includes the building

code such as the BOCA or Building Officials Code and

Administrators code, electrical code NEC (National Electrical

Code), plumbing, and mechanical codes. Usually, a locality

will adopt a national or regional code standard and amend it

as appropriate to meet local needs and requirements.

Building codes are very important documents when

considering new and innovative building materials,

appliances, practices, and techniques. Approvals and

variances are required on new construction projects or

renovations that incorporate materials and practices not

identified or addressed in building code regulations. This

becomes an issue when a material such as recovered or

recycled lumber or other material is selected and intended

for use as part of a green building project.

Figure 3. Thoughtful planning and design for consumers and the

environment alike can result in benefits for both. Walkways, bike

paths, and receptacles for animal waste are designed to meet the

lifestyles and needs of area residents. Shown here is an animal

waste receptacle along a walkway.

Defining Green Construction

Today we see a paradigm shift in planning and developing

green construction projects. Building green does not

necessarily mean major sacrifices in comfort, convenience,

or even safety in the design and construction of homes or

buildings. Minor changes in site planning and layout can

significantly alter water runoff and eliminate subsequent

13 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

pollution issues. Orienting a home or building so that

there is a passive solar gain in the wintertime can reduce

heating costs. Roof overhangs can provide shading in the

summertime and can offer budget savings on energy costs.

The net impact reduces heating and cooling costs for the


Homes and buildings should be viewed as systems. There

are a number of subsystems that are part of the building

system. These may include the site, foundation, framing,

roof, electrical, ventilation—heating and cooling, door

and window systems, insulation, plumbing, and even the

landscaping details. Each of these systems contributes to

the overall building design, form, and function. Efficiencies,

economies, and impacts on the environment can be readily

realized through careful planning. The addition of efficient

heat pumps or geothermal heating and cooling systems can

provide comfortable interiors at lower energy costs and

impact on the environment. Solar panels and photovoltaic

arrays can provide heat and electricity. Figure 4 shows a rooftop

solar installation that was retrofitted to an older home.

Door and window construction, along with building

insulation, can provide significant savings and comfort.

Doors, windows, and insulation renovations can provide

savings to existing homes and are not limited to new

construction work. Windows and doors make a significant

visual impact on a building and its energy costs. Traditional

single-pane windows have little insulating value but may have

significant visual appeal. Changing window specifications

to Energy Star-rated windows with reflective coatings can

provide the same visual appearance while providing good

“R-Value” and energy cost efficiency. Today we see windows

with Energy Star ratings that rival wall “R-Values.” Products

and appliances that have Energy Star ratings may qualify

for special tax incentives that encourage their use. Figure

5 shows typical savings benefits of Energy Star windows as

compared to traditional single-pane windows.

Figure 5. Building or upgrading green can provide savings on

energy costs such as shown in this chart comparing single-pane

windows to double-pane windows. The annual cost reductions can

be significant. Performance may vary according to local weather

patterns and conditions (Screen Capture

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced

that market share of Energy Star new construction homes

was nearly 17% for 2008. There are strict guidelines for

homes that are Energy Star rated. The guidelines include the

following areas (EPA):

• Effective Insulation Systems

• High-Performance Windows

• Tight Construction and Ducts

• Efficient Heating and Cooling Equipment

• ENERGY STAR Qualified Lighting and Appliances

Figure 4. With increasing energy costs, alternative energy resources

become more attractive as a cost efficiency and environmental

benefit. Shown here is a solar panel array for heating hot water.

A substantial portion of a home energy budget is consumed by

heating water. This solar array provides heat energy for home

heating and hot water usage.

What are the benefits of Green Construction? Consumers

can see the benefits of green construction and Energy

Star-rated homes through reduced utility costs while

reducing the carbon footprint. Reduced heating and

cooling costs can be realized immediately. Energy Star

appliances such as washing machines, clothes dryers,

water heaters, faucets, and toilets consume less water and

energy, which provides further economic benefits to the

consumer and environment.

Johnson and Gibson provide a perspective about building


14 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

What we alternately call green building or sustainable

building is a way for people to make a positive difference

in the world around them—if not reversing, then at least

reducing the impact of humankind on the planet. Not

coincidently, it has its own practical rewards on a scale

that all of us can immediately understand. If becoming

model citizens of Planet Earth is too much to get our

arms around, living in healthier, more comfortable

houses that are less expensive to operate and last longer

is certainly an attractive idea (Johnson and Scott, p. 5).

As we look at the benefits in building green, we can see

that there are benefits to people as well as the environment.

By making good planning and design choices in preparing

to construct buildings or renovating and maintaining

buildings, we can realize a cost saving and at the same time

reduce and perhaps improve our environment.

Student Activity

The following activity addresses Standards for Technological

Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (ITEA,

2000/2002/2007) Standards 5 and 20.

Standard 5

Students will develop an understanding of the effects of

technology on the environment (p. 65).

Benchmark D

The management of waste produced by technological

systems is an important societal issue. (p. 68)

Benchmark F

Decisions to develop and use technologies often

put environmental and economic concerns in direct

competition with each other. (p. 69)

Benchmark G

Humans can devise technologies to conserve water,

soil, and energy through such techniques as reusing,

reducing, and recycling. (p. 71)

Benchmark H

When new technologies are developed to reduce

the use of resources, considerations of tradeoffs are

important. (p. 71)

Benchmark I

With the aid of technology, various aspects of

the environment can be monitored to provide

information for decision making. (p. 72)

Benchmark J

The alignment of technological processes with natural

processes maximizes performance and reduces

negative impacts on the environment. (p. 72)

Benchmark K

Humans devise technologies to reduce negative

consequences of other technologies. (p. 72)

Standard 20

Students will develop an understanding of and be able to

select and use construction technologies (p. 191).

Benchmark C

Modern communities are usually planned according

to guidelines. (p.193)

Benchmark F

The selection of designs for structures is based

on factors such as building laws and codes, style,

convenience, and function. (p. 194)

Benchmark I

Buildings generally contain a variety of subsystems.

(p. 194)

Benchmark L

The design of structures includes a number of

requirements. [Common design restraints used by

engineers and architects in the design of structures

include style, convenience, safety, and efficiency.]

(p. 195)

Home Energy Audit and Green Recommendations

Today, home sales and home construction are at a nearly

all-time low because of the housing bubble in 2008 and

2009. Residential construction is at nearly a standstill, with

few homes being planned or built because of the downturn

in the economy. However, according to the Environmental

Protection Agency, there is a significant interest in green

home construction, which is actually taking place even in

difficult economic times.

The current housing market may be poor in many areas of

the nation and other parts of the world. However, as we talk

about green building and construction, we also begin to see

that “going green” can be realized through simple no-cost

or low-cost activities that we can undertake to reduce living

costs. Specifically, the consumption of energy represents a

major cost to those persons who live in homes, apartments,

and condominiums. A simple energy audit can reveal

important savings to the family budget. Economies in home

operation and maintenance can be realized by analyzing

how and where energy is being used inefficiently and

perhaps in a wasteful manner. Additionally, our energy audit

can reveal where simple enhancements and maintenance

activities can pay dividends to the family budget and the


15 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

The Task

The task is to conduct an energy audit of each student’s home,

apartment, or place where he or she stays. As a team, students

will develop an energy audit survey that addresses each of

the major building code compliance areas, e.g., building,

mechanical (heating and cooling), electrical, and plumbing. It

is important to emphasize that the energy audit is noninvasive

and is an “observe and record” process.

Getting started in preparing an energy audit checklist can

begin with the typical building code compliance areas to

organize audit categories. Under the building code area,

drafts and poorly weather-stripped openings such as doors

and windows are a major concern. The mechanical or

heating and cooling compliance area could address air filters

and thermostat settings—both heating and cooling—as

appropriate. The electrical compliance area can be addressed

through a plan for reducing electricity consumption with

a “turn the lights off when not using a room” reminder,

reviewing the lightbulb wattages as needed. Make

recommendations and comparisons with CFLs (compact

fluorescent lamps) and Energy Star-rated appliances. The

plumbing area deserves attention too. Leaking or dripping

faucets and toilets that continue to leak after the tank is

full are representative of big water users that can easily be

maintained and repaired and reduce water consumption.

Green building is not limited to how energy is used or

buildings constructed but also what we do with waste

materials. There are many waste materials that can be

recycled or recovered. Materials such as paper, cardboard,

and other paper products can be recycled or repurposed.

Plastic containers can be recycled and recovered and

processed into new materials and building products.

Just as a professional auditor would do, student auditors should

plan their audit form carefully and conduct the audits in a safe

and professional manner. The energy auditors should prepare a

written report that identifies and prioritizes recommendations

that would be shared with the family. For example, the report

could address what or where the “big energy” users are. Make

recommendations how to reduce the home energy picture

without making big sacrifices in comfort and convenience

to family members but also to realize budget savings and

improvement of the environment. It is recommended that

the audit teams visit websites such as the U. S. Department

of Energy’s Energy Saver website ( to

learn how to conduct an energy saver audit.


Shelter has been a concern of humans and animals alike

for the millennia. Animals, through their natural instincts,

build nests and shelters to meet their needs for protection

against predators and seasonal changes in the weather. Early

humans sought shelter in caves and cliff dwellings and later

began to design and build shelters based on the availability

of natural materials. With the discovery and development

of concentrated forms of energy such as fossil energy

resources, humans began to design structures to suit their

needs and comfort.

The influence of increasing energy prices and the prospect

of climatic changes has caused people to design buildings

and structures that are more energy efficient and less

intrusive on the environment. Today there are incentives

to building construction projects that emphasize “green”

materials and efficiencies. Interestingly enough, “going

green” does not mean enduring hardships or lessening of

the convenience and comfort that we have come to expect in

modern homes and buildings. Building codes and practices

are being developed that foster intelligent use of materials

and resources to design and build desirable and energy

efficient buildings and structures.


Info Please. Famous buildings and structures, prehistorical

and ancient. Retrieved: January 2, 2010, from www.

Ross, David A. (1994). Construction in technology education,

43rd Yearbook, Council on Technology Teacher Education.

Peoria, IL: Glencoe Division, McMillian/McGraw-Hill.

Johnson, David & Gibson, Scott. (2008). Green from the

ground up. Newtown, CT: The Taunton Press.

International Technology Education Association.

(2000/2002/2007). Standards for technological literacy:

Content for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

EPA, United States Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.).

EPA announces energy star homes reach nearly 17 percent

market share for 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2010, from



Chart Screen Capture – Upgrade to Energy Star. Retrieved

January 10, 2010, from


Walter F. Deal, PhD is an adjunct associate

professor and Emeriti at Old Dominion

University in Norfolk, Virginia. He can be

reached via email at

16 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

Classroom Challenge

The Dynamic Greenhouse


By Harry T. Roman

Can this dynamic state be

reasonably achieved?


Greenhouses are marvelous devices, allowing one to enjoy

the flower spectacle of summer all year round. At night,

greenhouses use supplemental heat to keep the fragile

plants warm. Usually a greenhouse has a large volume

above the plants that is not used. Could this volume be

somehow utilized? The idea here is to envision a multilevel

arrangement of greenhouse plants that are exposed to the

sun during the midday warmth by having the greenhouse

structure itself unfold, roll back, or somehow transform

its shape so all the plants inside experience sun on a warm

day—then refold back up during the night into a compact

energy-saving arrangement. This is what I mean by a

dynamic greenhouse.

Technology Background

Over the last 30 years, greenhouse technology has

undergone many changes, with the structures being

automated and monitored and low-cost plastic structures

emerging as a serious challenge to traditional glass

greenhouse designs. Low-cost greenhouses use plastic

sheeting instead of expensive glass and also employ

various energy-saving devices to keep the heat of the day

retained as much as possible at night, using only a fraction

of the supplemental heat. This design challenge is about

developing an idea for a new type of greenhouse, one

that opens (perhaps like a flower or some sort of opening

structure) and closes at night—effectively increasing the

volume of plants under protective cover at night, through an

efficient packing process.

Usually a greenhouse has a large volume above the plants that is

not used.

Our first stop is to search the Internet and the library/

school media center for an update on where greenhouse

technology is today. There are plenty of greenhouse builders

and designers out there to get some basic information about

what is currently being offered. A variety of colleges with

agricultural programs in place are also places to learn about

17 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

greenhouse design and innovative practices. It may also be

worth a road trip to a nearby greenhouse or greenhouse

complex to get a tour and firsthand look at what is state-ofthe-art.

Time should be taken to delve a bit into the math and

science surrounding greenhouse design. How is heat

loss from the structure calculated by design engineers?

What technologies are now being used to retain the heat

that is captured during the day to minimize the need for

supplemental heating? Some greenhouse designs use

artificial lighting to stretch out the growing time for the

plants. How is this accomplished, and why does it work?

What are its limitations?

Time should be taken to delve a bit into the math and science

surrounding greenhouse design.

• Slide apart

• Or any combination of the above

Students are the masters of their own design. To the greatest

extent possible, they should have sound reasons for doing

this and justifying it as a means for increasing the packing

density of the greenhouse.

Careful attention should be given to how much area is

required for the greenhouse design, both closed and in

its dynamic outstretched form. Can this dynamic state be

reasonably achieved?

• Is the technology proposed available?

• Will the dynamic action be performed by humans or


• When, during the day and season, does the dynamic

greenhouse operate?

• Are there specific areas of the country that limit the

daily dynamics of the greenhouse by season?

• Can the greenhouse remain in the dynamic mode

during the summer?

• Are there any special conditions for the foundation or

floor of the dynamic greenhouse?

• What happens if bad weather persists for an extended

period and the greenhouse cannot be opened?

• With many plants packed so close together, how would

disease infestations and breakouts be handled?

• What technologies might the greenhouse employ to

stimulate greater plant growth?

• Are there certain plant species that might grow best

within this dense or concentrated-volume greenhouse?

Your students will find quite a variety of concepts and

ideas for innovating greenhouse design, from new low-cost

materials through unusual ways to provide supplemental

heating to the structures. This is all grist for their creative mills

when trying to fulfill the design charge as described above.

Designing a Dynamic Greenhouse

I suggest you consider this activity as a team-based one where

students have plenty of time to brainstorm and interact,

bouncing ideas around and building and combining them.

Lots of diagrams and illustrations are welcome to enhance

the understanding of what your students are envisioning.

There should be no limits as to how dynamic the greenhouse

may be. Students are not bound in any way. Their

greenhouse may:

• Rotate

• Open

• Unfold

• Reshape itself

• Fold down

Are there certain plant species that might grow best within this

dense or concentrated-volume greenhouse?

18 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

Q: What Do YOU Need

to Succeed

in Today’s High-Tech


A: Everything YOU Need Is at


It is now increasingly popular to have small greenhouses attached

to a home.

These are but a few quick ways to challenge student teamthinking.

They should be thinking about how the greenhouse

will operate as much as how they can design and build it. If

the class is able to visit a greenhouse and talk to someone

experienced with greenhouses, make sure that person

discusses the daily and seasonal routines that typically occur

in a greenhouse, and why. Also learn about the kinds of

skills and manpower normally employed in a commercial

greenhouse and what can and cannot be automated.

Cardboard models should be allowed so concepts may be

envisioned in three dimensions. To the extent that your

class has access to computerized modeling software, graphic

representations of their concepts are another excellent way

to get ideas across to other class members.

It is now increasingly popular to have small greenhouses

attached to a home. Could some of the ideas generated

by your students be employed on a smaller scale in these

add-on greenhouses? Have a sunny time with this design


Harry T. Roman recently retired from

his engineering job and is the author of

a variety of new technology education

books. He can be reached via email at

In print, on CD, or online, G-W products

give YOU the tools to succeed in today’s

high-tech classroom!

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Design Challenges for Tomorrow’s

Green Energy Engineers


Harry T. Roman


Alternate Energy

Technology Design


This publication contains

12 interesting and highly

challenging alternate energy

design problems that can be assigned to

individual students or teams of students. Each

problem is open-ended and multidimensional,

to give the student(s) a chance to experience

the kinds of real-world problems that alternate

energy engineers will face on the job.

P241CD. $15.00; ITEA members, $12.00

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19 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

Exploring Hydrogen Fuel Cell


By David Brus and Doug Hotek

Through simplicity in design

and functionality, and most of

all environmental friendliness,

hydrogen fuel cells can make

a significant contribution as

an alternative solution to our

country’s energy dependence on

fossil fuels.


One of the most significant technological issues of

the 21st Century is finding a way to fulfill our energy

demands without destroying the environment through

global warming and climate change. Worldwide human

population is on the rise, and with it, the demand for

more energy in pursuit of a higher quality of life. In the

meantime, as we use up our fossil fuel energy supplies, the

quality of our environment is diminishing. By finding a

way to provide clean, sustainable, environmentally friendly

energy, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help

reverse the negative trends afflicting our planet (Sweet,

2006). One very promising technology that is currently

being utilized and is continually being improved is the

hydrogen fuel cell (HFC). It is an energy-conversion device

that converts hydrogen fuel into usable electricity. HFC

technology has the potential to help satisfy the rapidly

growing energy demands of the world, and in turn, improve

the quality of our environment. With this kind of potential,

research and development in HFC technology continues to

produce viable energy alternatives through the combined

efforts of many scientists, engineers, and technologists

(Borowitz, 1999).

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of HFC

technology, and with it, a description of its simplicity in

design and functionality. In addition, a rationale for HFC

content and several strategies for teaching about this

exciting technology are presented.

What is a Hydrogen Fuel Cell?

An HFC is an electrochemical device that acts to convert

chemical energy directly into electrical energy. The entire

electrochemical conversion process is accomplished cleanly

and efficiently without the use of any moving parts. During

the process, a fuel of hydrogen-rich compounds is converted

into electricity in the form of direct current that can be used

much like a battery, as long as the fuel is supplied to the

cell. A combination of fuel cells can be connected in series

or parallel circuits in order to increase electrical voltage or

current output. Stacking cells together in series or parallel

creates what is termed a fuel-cell stack. A variety of fuel cell

designs are being pursued and developed for a wide variety

of applications. Many of these designs have already been

implemented and continue to gain acceptance as effective

means of providing electrical power.

The multitude of HFC designs are classified by the type of

electrolyte that they employ. Electrolyte types determine

how the HFC functions, specifically, the temperature range

at which they operate, the catalysts they utilize, the fuel

they require, and other factors upon which they depend

(USDOE, 2007; Hoogers, 2003). Of all currently utilized

HFC designs, the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel

20 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

cell can serve as the focus of beginning HFC instruction,

“because of [its] simplicity, viability, quick start-up, and

ability to be utilized in almost any conceivable application,

from powering a cell phone to a locomotive” (Sammes,

2006, p. 27). The PEM fuel cell functions through the use

of a specially designed and produced polymer that acts to

create a voltage difference with the addition of hydrogen

fuel and oxygen (Basu, 2007; Hoogers, 2003; Sammes, 2006).

A complete breakdown of the PEM fuel cell can be seen in

Figure 1, illustrating the simplicity of its components in both

design and functionality.

an adequate amount of electrical power for practical

applications. From a system viewpoint, the functional

simplicity and associated environmental benefits of HFC

technology can be examined in Figure 2.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Functionality





PEM HFC Components

Negative terminal

Fuel Cell


Hydrogen inlet

Hydrogen outlet


Pure Water

Cathode collector


Figure 1.

Positive terminal

PEM HFC Assembled

Anode collector plate

Hydrogen flow plate


Cathode, PEM, Anode

(Membrane Electrode Assembly)


Oxygen flow plate

How do Hydrogen Fuel Cells Function?

PEM fuel cells run on hydrogen and oxygen and produce

only electricity, water, and excess heat as by-products of

their operation. The production of electricity happens

through an electrochemical process known in science

as an oxidation-reduction (redox) reaction, which

takes place at the anode and cathode of the fuel cell.

In this type of reaction, what actually occurs are two

simultaneous half reactions. At the anode of the fuel cell,

hydrogen is being oxidized (losing electrons), and at the

cathode, oxygen is being reduced (gaining electrons).

Fuel cells function by capitalizing on the movement of

the electrons that takes place in this redox reaction. This

is accomplished by routing the electron flow through an

external circuit that can be used to power electrical loads

(Kotz 1999). The end result of this reaction is an efficient

conversion of hydrogen fuel into usable electricity. PEM

fuel cells have a theoretical maximum efficiency of 83%;

however, to obtain a usable amount of power, fuel cells

operate at lower efficiencies, usually between 30 and

60% (Barbir, 2005). In this way, the fuel cell can produce

Figure 2.

Although the science embedded in the functionality of the

PEM fuel cell is more complex than can be covered in the

scope of this article, the following seven steps (Basu, 2007;

Hoogers, 2003; Sammes, 2006) are illustrated in Figure 3 to

provide a quick summary of how the technology works.

1. Gaseous hydrogen fuel enters on the anode (-) side

of the PEM fuel cell. Here at the anode, hydrogen is

oxidized and gives up electrons. Prior to use, hydrogen

gas is either stored in a compressed gas cylinder

or obtained from water on the spot through the

electrolysis process. In the production of hydrogen

through electrolysis, electricity is used to break water

into hydrogen and oxygen gas.

2. Gaseous oxygen enters on the cathode (+) side of the

PEM fuel cell. Here at the cathode, oxygen is reduced

and gains electrons. Oxygen can be introduced to

the cathode side of the fuel cell via exposure to the

atmosphere (using a compressor or blower) or by piping

compressed oxygen to the cathode side of the cell, much

like hydrogen was introduced to the anode in Step 1.

The major benefit of feeding fuel cells pure oxygen is

that each cell achieves a 50-millivolt gain in potential

as opposed to cells operating on air. Additionally, as a

system, pure oxygen-fed fuel cells have greater power

output and higher efficiencies because they do not

have to power a pump or compressor to obtain oxygen

for the fuel cell; it is already available in storage tanks

(Barbir 2005). Pure oxygen-fed fuel cells, however, are

limited to stationary power applications due to the

difficulty of handling compressed oxygen.

21 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

3. The hydrogen gas interacts with the platinum-based

catalyst on the anode side of the fuel cell, and this acts

to break hydrogen into the one proton and one electron

of which it is composed. This is the oxidation reaction

taking place.

4. The hydrogen protons are able to diffuse through

the polymer-based electrolyte, which is sandwiched

between the anode and cathode, but the hydrogen

electrons cannot. The polymer electrolyte’s ability

to restrict the flow of hydrogen electrons while

simultaneously supporting the flow of protons is how

the voltage difference is created by the PEM fuel cell.

It is this separation of charges made possible by the

platinum catalyst and specially designed polymer that

produces all of the electricity for the PEM fuel cell.

5. A voltage difference is created between the anode

and cathode side of the fuel cell as negative charges

accumulate at the anode and positive charges at the

cathode. Each individual cell has a limit as to how

much charge it can maintain. Therefore, the cells must

be connected in series or parallel in what is known as

a “fuel cell stack.” Cells are stacked until the desired

voltage or current from the PEM cell can be achieved.

6. A conductor is connected between the anode and

the cathode, and a flow of electrons, or electricity, is

produced as the electrons flow from the anode to the

cathode through an external circuit. This process can be

thought of quite simply as hooking up a battery. HFC

technology can, in fact, be used to power anything a

battery might.

7. As the electrons and protons reunite at the cathode

side of the fuel cell they combine with the oxygen that

has been introduced on the cathode side to form clean,

potable, water. Oxygen is necessary in the function of

the PEM cell because it provides the oxidant required

to complete the oxidation-reduction reaction that takes

place in the fuel cell. Without oxygen, the PEM cell

would not function.

Hydrogen Fuel Challenges

As promising as HFC technology may be, it will still face

some of its largest challenges in the establishment of a

hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Making hydrogen available

to consumers involves a variety of obstacles that include:

production, distribution, storage, and handling. Hydrogen

is not an energy source, and it is not a fuel that is naturally

available in usable quantities. The hydrogen fuel supply

must be manufactured. Currently, hydrogen is primarily

obtained from fossil fuels through processes that include

steam reforming of natural gas, gasification of coal, and

the partial oxidation of hydrocarbons (Barbir, 2005; Spiegel

Figure 3.

2007). Clearly, with most hydrogen being produced from

these sources, the concept of independence from fossil fuels

is unattainable. Hydrogen, however, also can be produced

by clean sources such as the electrolysis of water, with

electricity provided by nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, or solar

power (Barbir, 2005; Spiegel 2007).

Manufacturing hydrogen is only one of the obstacles that

must be surmounted in order to utilize hydrogen fuel.

Additionally, new systems to safely distribute, store, and

handle hydrogen fuel on a large scale must be established

(Hoogers, 2003). Overcoming each of the aforementioned

obstacles in providing hydrogen fuel will require a

concerted effort by scientists and engineers. Furthermore,

a transition such as the move to hydrogen fuel will depend

upon strong support from the government and a welleducated

class of end users.

A Rationale for Fuel Cell Education

In today’s energy-driven technological world, one of the

most prominent obstacles that must be overcome is the

need to find and develop a clean and sustainable energy

22 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

supply that can support our modern lifestyle without

destroying the environment (Sweet, 2006). Hydrogen

fuel cells represent a very promising energy conversion

technology that may help drive the transition from

dependence on fossil fuels to energy independence with

hydrogen fuel. In fact, the United States Department of

Energy believes that, in the future, hydrogen will join

electricity as the primary energy carrier, and that hydrogen

technology will supply every end-use energy need

(USDOE, 2007). The government looks at hydrogen as an

energy carrier because of the fact that it is not an energy

source or a readily available fuel; it is an intermediary form

of energy (Barbir, 2005).

Advocates of HFC technology, such as the California Fuel

Cell Partnership and the South Carolina Hydrogen and

Fuel Cell Alliance, suggest that if HFC technology is fully

developed with an infrastructure to support it, the world

energy market, as we know it, may completely evolve

into what is being billed as the coming of the “hydrogen

economy.” In this scenario, HFC technology will be

capable of powering our homes, cars, lawn mowers, laptop

computers, and even our cell phones (Sammes, 2007).

HFC technology may contribute to a transformation of our

personal and working lives. We have a chance to decrease

the threat of global warming as we implement more of

our clean energy technologies such as HFC, and fewer of

our dirty, carbon-emitting technologies of old to fulfill our

energy demands (Sweet, 2006). Theoretically, in a “hydrogen

economy,” our country could experience seemingly endless

new expansion opportunities through new jobs in business,

industry, and customer service as we work to support the

integration of fuel cell technology into our lives (USDOE,

2006). Envision this awesome picture of a booming economy

intertwined with a more environmentally friendly world.

However, without the help, hard work, and education of the

public to develop, produce, and utilize these technologies,

this dream of our future will go unfulfilled.

Educating our country’s youth about the functionality

of HFC technology is of great importance. It is today’s

students who will help drive the needed changes toward

clean alternative energy, for they will be the ones to feel the

future positive or negative environmental impacts resulting

from the energy choices we make today. It will also be their

choice as to whether to support the development and use

of new, clean, alternative-energy technologies. Therefore,

it is in the best interest of all that we educate our youth

about HFC technology and its potential as an energy source.

We are dependent upon the help of our young people

to overcome the many obstacles found along the way to

fuel-cell implementation, and by fully educating them we

can make the transition to hydrogen fuel cells a reality. As

technology educators, the responsibility falls upon us to

provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills

regarding HFC technology and its capability to supply

energy for our future.

The future of HFC-based energy will require a welleducated

general public in order to properly and safely

utilize the technology. It is this need for education that

provides an excellent opportunity for technology teachers

throughout the United States. HFC technology is a subject

area that aligns very well with Standards for Technological

Literacy, Chapter 7, Standard 16—“Students will develop

an understanding of and be able to select and use energy

and power technologies” (ITEA, 2000/2002/2007). In

fact, even if not featured in a unit of its own, in order to

successfully fulfill Standard 16 today, students would almost

certainly need to be exposed to HFC technology. With the

rising importance of environmental and energy education,

technology teachers may better cement their positions

and boost the significance of technology education for

all students by adding an alternative energy topic to their

curriculum (ITEA, 1996).

Instructional Strategies for Fuel Cell Technology

HFC technology can be taught through a variety of

instructional strategies, such as design and problem

solving, cooperative learning, inquiry-based instruction,

web-based instruction, interdisciplinary instruction, and

modular instruction (Helgeson, 2003). The PEM fuel

cell can be explored in an electronics class that utilizes

laboratory experiments to explore the principles of voltage

or current. It also can be employed in a power and energy

course by investigating the functionality and feasibility of

HFC technology as a portable or stationary power source.

Figure 4.

23 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

HFC technology can even be studied in an environmental

science course to examine its potential for reducing

harmful greenhouse gas emissions while increasing power

production. These are but a few of many strategies that

represent effective ways to immerse students’ minds in the

exciting and challenging content of HFC technology.

Another great way to expose students to HFC technology is

to employ a class project in which students build a PEM fuel

cell from scratch. Using basic hand tools and readily available

materials to individually or collaboratively make a PEM cell,

such as that shown in Figure 4, students learn the simplicity

and functionality of fuel cell technology. By the time students

complete the project, they have a thorough understanding of

what a PEM cell is made of and how it works.

The PEM cell-build project can be adapted to a wide variety

of technology classes. It is possible to dedicate anywhere

from two weeks to an entire semester to constructing the

PEM cell, depending upon the depth of study and detail

desired by the instructor. In conjunction with building the

PEM cell, students can be emerged in multiple disciplines

of study, including physics, chemistry, and advanced

algebra, as they work to obtain an understanding of

its construction and functionality. Once the fuel cell is

constructed, students are afforded the opportunity to gain

even greater knowledge by investigating electrical current,

voltage, and power capabilities. Keeping this in mind,

students can explore potential end uses for HFC technology

and modifications that can be made to the design to

improve or make fuel cells more feasible for future use.

Introducing students to HFC technology through project

and laboratory experiences will expose them to the types of

energy-related issues that today’s generations will have to

combat in the future.


The future of hydrogen fuel cell technology seems very

promising. Through simplicity in design and functionality,

and most of all environmental friendliness, hydrogen fuel

cells can make a significant contribution as an alternative

solution to our country’s energy dependence on fossil

fuels. For this to happen, more public knowledge and

skills in the area of HFC technology are needed. Indeed,

technology teachers have an opportunity to help fulfill

these educational needs. HFC technology can be taught

in compliance with Standards for Technological Literacy

in a number of different courses, and through a variety of

instructional strategies students can even build a functional

fuel cell of their own. By engaging our youth in the study of

the HFC, we help insure its full potential as an alternative

energy technology.


Barbir, F. (2005). PEM fuel cells: Theory and practice.

Burlington, MA: Elsevier Academic Press.

Basu, S. (Ed.). (2007). Recent trends in fuel cell science and

technology. New York, NY: Springer.

Borowitz, S. (1999). Farewell fossil fuels: Reviewing America’s

energy policy. Massachusetts: Perseus.

Helgeson, K. R., & Schwaller, A. E. (Eds.). (2003). Selecting

instructional strategies for technology education. 52 nd

Yearbook of Council on Technology Teacher Education.

Peoria, IL: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.

Hoogers, G. (Ed.). (2003). Fuel cell technology handbook.

Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

International Technology Education Association. (1996).

Technology for all Americans: A rationale and structure

for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

International Technology Education Association.

(2000/2002/2007). Standards for technological literacy:

Content for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

Kotz, J. C. & Treichel, P. (1999). Chemistry and chemical

reactivity (4th ed.). Orlando, FL: Saunders College


Sammes, N. (Ed.). (2006). Fuel cell technology: Reaching

towards commercialization. Germany: Springer.

Spiegel, C. (2007). Designing and building fuel cells. New

York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Sweet, W. (2006). Kicking the carbon habit. New York, NY:


United States Department of Energy. (03/08/2007). Types of

fuel cells. Retrieved, February 05, 2008, from http://www.


United States Department of Energy. (03/22/2006). News,

DOE seeks applicants for a solicitation of a transition to

a hydrogen economy. Retrieved, February 12, 2008, from

David Brus is a high school industrial

technology teacher at Waukee High School

in Waukee, Iowa. He can be reached via

email at

Doug Hotek is Associate Professor of

Technology Education and Training at the

University of Northern Iowa at Cedar Falls.

He can be reached via email at doug.hotek@

This is a refereed article.

24 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

The Systems and Global

Engineering Project

By Henry Harms, David A. Janosz, Jr., and Steve Maietta

Students who participate in

this module are interacting in a

way that 21st Century careers

will require, as they will likely

have to rely on information and

contributions of others for their


Imagine having your students collaborate with others

from around the world to model solutions to some of

today’s most significant global problems. That’s the

goal of the Systems and Global Engineering (SAGE)

project. Stevens Institute of Technology and the New Jersey

Technology Education Association (NJTEA) have teamed

up to develop innovative instructional materials during the

three-year SAGE project.

During the spring and early summer of 2008, Stevens faculty

and staff worked with six NJTEA lead teachers to develop

instructional modules focusing on global sustainability.

Each module is designed to engage students in developing

innovative solutions to problems of global significance. In

the Biodynamic Farming module, students are challenged

to design and operate a system that combines hydroponics

(growing plants without soil) and aquaculture (fish farming)

to produce food. The Home Lighting module is based upon

the integration of LED and solar technologies to produce

safe and cost-effective lighting for use in homes that do

not have access to the electric grid. More than two billion

people do not have access to clean drinking water. Students

participating in the Water Purification module develop

an understanding of this problem and are challenged to

develop model systems to meet the needs of people in

specific communities.

One additional module, Introduction to Core Concepts of

Systems Engineering, was developed and designed to be

used by all participating schools prior to the content-specific

modules described above. In this module, students learn

about systems and systems engineering as they reverseengineer

a common device such as a single-use camera

that contains both electrical and mechanical components.

Schools electronically swap reassembly instructions and

diagrams and attempt to reconstruct the device.

In August of 2008, twenty pilot teachers attended a fourday

workshop. All received an introduction to systems

and global engineering from Stevens faculty, as well as

an overview of each module. Then they spent two days

learning how to implement one module within their own

classroom and in collaboration with other schools. Pilot

teachers used the Introduction to Core Concepts of Systems

Engineering module in their classes during the fall of 2008

and then implemented one additional module during the

spring of 2009.

Collaboration Models

Many aspects of the projects featured within the four

project modules may seem familiar to technology educators.

Yet, what makes this endeavor more unique is how students

end up working together with students from other schools.

Four paradigms have emerged as collaborative models for

students to work with others through the course of the

projects. Each of the four modules reflects one of these

four different models for student collaboration: Sharing,

Mentorship, Workflow, and Interdependent Subsystems.


The “Introduction to the Core Concepts” module provides

an opportunity for students to share their work and

25 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

outcomes with other classes and schools. While the level

of interaction can be considered relatively low as students

generate most of the work for the module independently,

the students do rely on the information provided by

other schools to continue at certain points of the project.

Students post to message boards and share files as they

orient themselves to “Collaboration Central,” a web-based

system designed to facilitate communication between

students and schools.


As the students work through the “Water Purification”

module, they use collaboration more as a resource for

information. The thought is that schools and teachers that may

participate in this module year-to-year would become mentors

to new classes that want to engage in the project. Students will

eventually be able to post questions and experiences and have

more experienced teams of students respond to inquiries. The

mentorship model of collaboration becomes beneficial to all

students. Those who have less experience benefit from the

information provided by peers and student mentors, which

may lead to better long-term retention.


A workflow-type process is employed in the “Home

Lighting” module as different groups of students work on

different aspects of the project in a more linear fashion.

Different student teams are responsible for design,

modeling, production, and marketing, and the idea is that

each team passes its work on to the next team for the next

stage in the logical development of the project. This sort

of model is used naturally and quite often in business and

industry; each stage of development is reliant on others.

This requires a high level of student interaction throughout

the project, but does not necessarily require certain teams

to wait for other work to be complete. Again comparing

this work to the way business takes place, planning for

marketing of a product may take place long before the final

product is developed.

Interdependent Subsystems

This model of student collaboration is perhaps truest to a

systems engineering model of technological development.

Just as with the design, development, and production of

a very complex device such as a jetliner, students in the

“Biodynamic Farming” module develop subsystems of a

larger system that need to work with and fit together with

other items in the larger system. Student leaders, facilitators,

and orchestrators must emerge through the project—all roles

that are akin to those of a systems engineer. Students who

participate in this module are interacting in a way that 21st

Century careers will require, as they will likely have to rely

on information and contributions of others for their success.

To work in the ways described above undoubtedly presents

a number of challenges to the typical classroom and school

schedules. One of the main goals of the SAGE project is

to facilitate the expected challenges and provide support

for the unexpected. Ultimately, the hope is that students

will work both synchronously and asynchronously in some

fashion with students from across the globe. “Collaboration

Central” has been designed to help make the collaborative

aspects of the project easier by providing a repository for

information, questions, files, and other resources directly

available to the teacher and students.

Classroom Implementation

One technology education teacher describes how he

implemented the project in collaboration with students from

six other New Jersey high schools. Over the course of the

six-week Home Lighting in Developing Countries module,

I was able to witness students collaborating on levels that

I had never seen before. The students enjoyed reading and

reacting to the daily updates on the Collaboration Central

web forum, and working with other schools pushed them to

produce work that was clear and to the best of their abilities.

As with any project that is being run for the first time, it

was not without its hiccups and required flexibility from

both students and teachers. Fortunately, the small issues

were worked around, and the fact that there were six other

schools involved meant that the project as a whole was able

to continue on schedule.

By the end of the project it became obvious that the students

gained an understanding of how important it is to produce

documents and ideas that are clear when dealing with people

in remote locations. Whether it was a paragraph written to

communicate an idea or design concept, or a CAD rendering

done in SketchUp, through the course of the project their

work became more clear, concise, and descriptive of their

intent. Another positive aspect that surfaced as the project

progressed was the students’ firsthand knowledge of the

“real-world” workings and relationships of designers,

marketing teams, engineers, and manufacturers.

The project’s workflow was consistent throughout. Typically,

the class would read and discuss the week’s goals, then split

into specific groups to come up with ideas and documents.

Every student came up with ideas of his or her own, which

the group then sifted through, voted on, and reworked. The

group then presented the class with its three final ideas.

The class as a whole would then discuss and vote on which

of the three would be posted to Collaboration Central

26 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

for the other schools to review. We asked questions and

critiqued other schools’ work, just as our own work was

being critiqued. Threads would be started to which every

school would post votes to determine which concept should

move forward and be further developed. This is a great

framework because, even if a school cannot participate in

one section of the project due to a lack of space, equipment,

or software, they can contribute in other sections. They will

gain the satisfaction and learning experience associated with

contributing to the project and also learn from watching the

development of other sections.

For most of the project, my class was broken up into three

groups. The Marketing and Advertising (M&A) group, the

Industrial Design (ID) group, and the Electrical Engineering

(EE) group. The M&A group was in charge of brand identity.

This included company name and logo, letterhead, business

cards for every student, and all educational, advertising,

and packaging materials. The ID group was in charge of the

form and function of the product. They produced design

sketches, computer renderings, and initial prototypes. The

EE group was assigned with finding the best arrangement

of solar cells, LEDs, and rechargeable batteries to meet

the project’s requirements. The EEs produced working

circuits for charging and lighting, reflectors for the LEDs,

and schematic diagrams to post on Collaboration Central.

With such a wide scope of tasks available and deliverables

needed, students were able to find something they were

comfortable doing and then enthusiastically contribute ideas

and solutions to the project.

One of the most important parts of the project was coming

up with a System Requirements Document. This list of

requirements was the guiding voice for all aspects of the

project. We worked as a class to brainstorm ideas regarding

product inputs and outputs. We discussed the product’s

operating environment and what that meant in terms of

materials and design. Our target market was considered and

factored into this document. As with all phases of the project,

the Systems Requirements Document went through several

revisions as all the schools contributed to and reworked the

document into its final form. Students were surprised, as

every school brought new, valid ideas to the table, and the

value of collaboration was experienced firsthand. Some other

aspects of the project that we designed, critiqued, voted on,

and posted were company name and logo, final form of the

product, and final circuit design.

The successful implementation of the project hinged greatly

on a continued exchange of constructive criticism in the

online forum. This project format allowed students to see

and compare many ideas about one problem. Encouraging

my students to explore and question other groups’ ideas

proved to be a very powerful way to improve their own

ideas, designs, and solutions. And this worked both ways.

When students read comments and answered questions

posted about their own ideas, they began to increase their

objectivity and see the importance of considering all aspects

when designing solutions.

Throughout the project some typical student habits required

management. For example, it was difficult to direct students

away from the habit of voting for their own ideas. Again

and again we would see this trend from most classes. In

order to promote more objective voting, I discussed with

the class the pros and cons of each idea as related to the

systems requirements document. By doing this, I was able to

distance the students from their own ideas and their desire

to “win,” giving them a structure from which to make an

informed, logical vote.

In Summary

The SAGE Project has demonstrated how students can use

collaborative problem solving to address the challenges

facing today’s society and environment. Students learn

a variety of skills used by technologists and engineers to

identify problems, determine possible solutions, test and

select the best solutions, reach conclusions, and make

recommendations for further study.

During the 2009-10 school year, teachers in New Jersey

and across the U.S., as well as internationally, have been

invited to participate in this intensive systems and global

engineering project. To learn more, please visit the project


Henry Harms is Manager of Engineering

& Technology Programs in the Center

for Innovation in Engineering & Science

Education at Stevens Institute of

Technology. He may be reached at henry.

David A. Janosz, Jr. is a Supervisor in

the Northern Valley Regional High School

district and the Managing Director of

Partnership Initiatives for NJTEA. He can

be reached at

Steve Maietta is a technology teacher

at Northern Valley Regional H.S. in

Old Tappan NJ. He may be reached at

This is a refereed article.

27 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

President’s Message:

Building Opportunities to

Transform a Profession

By Gary Wynn, DTE

As teachers, we have the

opportunity to be the school

and community leaders of the

educational process that creates

a more sustainable environment

for the next generation of


It will be an honor to serve as ITEA President for 2010-

2011. Serving as part of the Indiana ITEA Affiliate

organization and the ITEA Board of Directors has led to

some of the major highlights of my professional career.

I would recommend that each of you become involved in

leading your association. Through your involvement, you

have the opportunity to share your gained knowledge with

your students, community, and colleagues.

Through the years my professional involvement has

influenced my beliefs as a teacher and a leader locally and

nationally. With this in mind, let me share some of those


I believe:

• In the power and promise of all the students in my


• That ALL students should experience technology,

innovation, design, and engineering as a part of their

general education.

• That the uniqueness of our subject area to the entire

school curriculum allows us the ability to teach about

ingenuity and innovation in a way that no other subject

even approaches.

• That as teachers we should never stop striving to be


• That we should design teaching and learning

experiences for our students that surpass the teachers’


• That we must constantly promote, advocate, and

demonstrate excellence in our programs in order

for them to be considered a strong component in a

student’s educational experience.

• That we should consider the whole student in the

development of his or her abilities.

• That our discipline is an essential component of a wellrounded

STEM education.

• That student experiences through a K-12 technology

and engineering education program can lead students

into all kinds of career and workforce opportunities

(including teaching) with infinite opportunities.

These beliefs are what I am about and describe my

educational philosophy. I have a deep passion for our field

and hope that you share that passion! I know that if we work

together, we can make a difference in our country through

the education of our next generation.

28 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

Throughout the last year our country has been trying to

work through a tough economic recession—one of the

deepest since the Great Depression of the 1920s. Every one

of us has had to make sacrifices and adjustments to the way

that we live, both in our personal and professional lives.

ITEA is no different in that the association has had to make

prudent adjustments in the way it conducts business. As we

look forward, it may require a couple more years for us to

get back to where we were before. However, each of us must

have a passionate desire and drive to move forward so that

our voice and vision of the future for students is heard.

Every association president goes through a mental exercise

of identifying the key initiatives or directions that he or

she might want to start or accomplish during his or her

presidency. I am no different and would like to share several

directions that I believe to be important and that will be my

focus during this coming year.

Green Technology

As the ITEA Charlotte Conference approaches, I hope

that you are aware of this year’s theme: Green Technology:

STEM Solutions for 21st Century Citizens. It is an important

theme that is relevant for some of the activities that

technology and engineering teachers are working on in

their classrooms. As teachers, we have the opportunity to

be the school and community leaders of the educational

process that creates a more sustainable environment for the

next generation of learners.

This year’s ITEA Conference is just the beginning of the

work the association will complete on this topic. We have

established a mission and have been developing an ITEA

Web page called Mission Green Technology. We ask ITEA

members to help make this initiative spread by feeding

information through the website. Many of us feel that

we need a place where professionals can contribute new

ideas, resources, and information for teachers to use in

the classroom.

To lead this Web-based project, I have asked ITEA Past

President, Andy Stephenson, DTE, to be the “Green Guru”

who keeps this initiative organized. He also is leading

a Committee of 100 in helping to build this important

Web-based resource. Andy can be reached at green@ Please consider joining the Committee of

100, being a leader in your state, sharing your information

with the website, and making your own contribution to our

profession by helping other teachers.

Another important part of the Mission Green initiative is

to have ITEA state Affiliates join us in this effort through

the work of ITEA’s Membership Committee. Committee

Chairs Bill Bertrand, John Singer, DTE, and Jared Bitting

are leading this initiative. So far, Pennsylvania (with leaders

Bill Bertrand and Joanne Trombley) has been our lead state

in this initiative. As the Mission Green initiative grows,

we look forward to having other states become a part of

this information-building effort. If your State Affiliate is

interested in becoming a Mission Green Partner, please

contact ITEA Membership Cochair Bill Bertrand at

Social Networking

Are you a blogger, a Tweeter, or some kind of electronics

networking hard hitter? Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn,

or some other kind of social networking site where you can

electronically drop in? Most of our ITEA members are!

We know that our members are expecting more electronic

interaction. In fact, trends with other publications show

journals are becoming totally electronic. We will be

working hard during this next year to provide you with

as much interaction as you can absorb through our

networking highway.

The most important benefit that you can get from an

association is the ability to give to and share with others

as well as learn from their experiences. We will continue

to work to provide ITEA members with these important

opportunities. Maybe I will see you on ITEA’s electronic

highway (see ITEA’s website at


The coming year will bring many exciting opportunities for

ITEA membership to become engaged. At the present time,

four ITEA Taskforces are at various stages of development

and will be reporting their progress to the membership in a

timely fashion. The Taskforces are:

• TF 08-04/09-04 Green Design Challenge/Creating a

High-Profile Event for TE – Scott Warner

• TF 09-01 Improving the Public Perception of TE –

Laura Hummell

• TF 09-02 Developing Future Leaders – Bill Havice, DTE

and Roger Hill

• TF 09-05 Developing Business and Industry

Partnerships – Tony Korwin, DTE

An example of our progress has been the work of the

Developing Future Leaders Taskforce. I am pleased to

announce it has launched a unique ITEA program designed

to deliberately create leaders for our profession. This effort,

called ITEA’s 21st Century Leadership Program, is being

led by members Bill Havice, DTE and Roger Hill. An initial

preconference workshop will be held in Charlotte for this

first cadre of leaders, and we plan to make that workshop

a tradition in the years ahead. We will continue with year-

29 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

ound experiences for this and future cadres of leaders.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the leadership

development efforts, please let me, Bill Havice, or Roger

Hill know of your interests ( or We will become a stronger association and

field when every one of us becomes a leader.

The initiatives that I have outlined will provide many

exciting opportunities to create stronger educators and

human beings. Many in our field don’t know about ITEA

and all that it can do for each of us. Therefore, I challenge

you to get one more person to join us in our effort to be

the best subject area association in existence. With larger

numbers, we become stronger, can do more to help others,

and strengthen the profession that we love. Please encourage

others to be a part of the ITEA opportunity. Serious

educators, through joining ITEA and working through

the professional opportunities, can gain a new friend and

professional colleague for life.

Finally, do not hesitate to contact me with your concerns,

ideas, and talent. The knowledge of each member can and

will drive the direction ITEA takes over the next year. We

hope that you are willing to make your thoughts known and

will step up to become involved with the other leaders of the

profession. I wish you continued success with your personal

and professional experiences.

Gary Wynn, DTE is President-Elect

of ITEA and a technology educator

at Greenfield-Central High School in

Greenfield, IN. He can be reached via email



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30 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

2010 Leaders to Watch

Those who have contributed to the technology and engineering education field for many years are known for

their teaching, written work, presentations, research, and recognition received from professional groups. The

selected individuals who are highlighted here have shown outstanding leadership ability as educators early in

their careers.

This list is by no means inclusive. There are many other professionals in the field with similarly impressive


Individuals who want to recognize other technology and engineering educators with outstanding qualifications

should forward their vitae and a sponsoring letter to ITEA for consideration.

The leaders of our field are our future; we should promote and encourage them to realize their potential.

Aaron C. Clark, DTE

Associate Professor

Technology, Engineering, and Design


Director of Graduate Programs for

the Department of Mathematics,

Science, and Technology Education

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC

Aaron Clark currently teaches primarily graphics-related

courses for engineering and technology students as well as

many graduate courses within his program at NCSU. His

background includes both business and industry, as well as

community college, regional universities, and land-grant

research institutions. He attended East Tennessee State

University (ETSU) and received both BS and MS degrees in

Technology and Technology Education. His emphases, while

in graduate school at ETSU, were robotics and computeraided

design (CAD), which he later taught in the community

college system in Maryland.

Aaron completed his doctorate in Technology Education

at NC State University, with an emphasis in research

methods and a minor in Training and Development. Upon

graduation, he continued at NC State University within the

Graphic Communications program where he taught 3D

modeling, simulation, and animation within the department

of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education.

Recently, the Graphic Communication program merged

with technology education to form the current program

titled Technology, Engineering, and Design Education and

has restructured technology teacher education at both the

undergraduate and graduate levels.

He has been the recipient of the William E. Warner

Research Award and Laureate Citation from Epsilon Pi

Tau, AutoDesk Faculty of Distinction from AutoDesk,

Inc., and ITEA’s Distinguished Technology Educator

(DTE) designation. He has held elected offices in both

engineering and technology education. Aaron is an active

member of the American Society of Engineering Education

(ASEE) and holds a number of leadership roles in the

Engineering Design Graphics Division, Technological

Literacy Constituent Committee, and as a charter member

of the K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division. He is

currently or has been a Principle Investigator (PI) or

Co-PI for national grants related to both education and

engineering. He has over 80 publications and 90 national

and international presentations, and seven commercially

produced products. He lives in Cary, North Carolina with

his wife Dr. Pooneh Lari.

31 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

Roger B. Hill

Associate Professor

Department of Occupational Studies

University of Georgia

Athens, GA

Roger Hill is the Department Head for

Workforce Education, Leadership, and

Social Foundations; a professor in the

Program of Workforce Education; and an affiliate member

of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Georgia.

He holds an undergraduate degree from North Carolina

State University and a Master’s degree from Northern

Illinois University. Dr. Hill received a Ph.D. in 1992 from the

University of Tennessee with a major in Technological and

Adult Education.

Dr. Hill’s professional experience includes four years

teaching at the high school level; he joined the faculty at the

University of Georgia in 1993. He is recognized nationally

for his writing, online materials, and scholarly work related

to work ethic and work attitudes. His research agenda

focuses on affective characteristics necessary for success

in Information-Age occupations. He has integrated this

line of research with instructional responsibilities related

to engineering and technology education and computer

information systems.

Michael Neden, DTE

Associate Professor

Technology Education

Pittsburg State University

Pittsburg, KS

Michael received his undergraduate and

graduate degrees from Pittsburg State

in 1978 and serves as the Director of

Technology Education. He and his wife Karren have three

children, who have all decided to become teachers.

Michael began his teaching career in 1979 at the Pittsburg

Middle School in Pittsburg, Kansas. Michael has been

recognized nationally and internationally for his innovative

and creative approaches to the design and development of

Technology Education facilities, curriculum, and student

management systems. Michael held several summer

workshop sessions for ITEA and hosted over 3000 visitors to

the Pittsburg Middle School. During his tenure at Pittsburg

Middle School, Michael received many awards including

the ITEA Program of the Year Award in 1985 and the ITEA

Teacher of the Year Award in 1987 for the State of Kansas.

In 1984, Michael initiated the Kansas Technology Education

Association and was elected the first President of that

association. Michael also was a candidate for the NASA

Teacher in Space program.

In 1988, Michael accepted an administrative position

in the Delta County Public Schools in Delta County,

Colorado where he served as the Director of Technology

Education. While serving in this position, Michael was

responsible for the design, development, and construction

of seventeen different Technology Education facilities in

the district’s elementary, middle, and senior high schools.

These facilities and programs were recognized by ITEA

as outstanding Technology Education Programs. Michael

also served as the President of the Colorado Technology

Education Association in 1993 and served on the ITEA

Board of Directors as the representative from Region 4

from 1990 to 1993.

Since accepting his current position at Pittsburg State

University, Michael has been instrumental in the design and

development of one of the premier Technology Education

Teacher Educator programs in the country and has

provided leadership in the preparation of future Technology

Education teachers for the State of Kansas. His state-of-theart

Technology Education facilities feature a wide array of

capabilities including CNC milling, turning, and routing

centers, a flexible and mobile manufacturing and fabrication

center, a communications technology center, and a power

and energy laboratory.

Michael currently serves on the ITEA Board of Directors as

a representative for Region 3. He has authored a strategic

planning document entitled, “Project Clear Way Forward”

that provides a framework for the implementation of

Technology Education programs throughout the country.

Mark Springston

Assistant Professor

Department of Technology

State University of New York (SUNY)


Oswego, NY

Mark Springston received his

Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. from

Virginia Tech. During his doctoral studies, he instructed

several laboratory-based technical courses designed by

Drs. Mark Sanders and Jim LaPorte. It is through teaching

these courses that Mark further refined his problem-based

approach to teaching. He views team-based learning as an

important pedagogy for contextual learning in technology

32 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

education. His research interests include technological

problem solving and design in the context of student teams.

Before pursuing doctoral studies, Mark was a technology

teacher at Brooke Point High School in Stafford VA, where

he was selected twice as “teacher of the quarter” and

served as a TSA advisor. His decision to pursue a degree in

technology education was influenced by his late uncle, Bill

Springston, who majored in industrial arts on a GI bill after


Mark is currently in his fourth year at SUNY Oswego, where

he instructs Communication Systems and Teaching Methods.

For the Teaching Methods course, he started a program

where the technology majors plan and lead technology

activities for local secondary students identified as at risk for

dropping out of school. Mark also serves as graduate faculty

for his department. Mark has made several professional

presentations at different conferences. Mark’s technical

area is multimedia, and he has created several multimedia

instructional products and websites.

Mark serves on several committees on the Oswego

campus, including the Scientific and Quantitative Literacy

Committee, Information Technology Council, and

SUNY Conference on Instructional Technology Planning

Committee. He is also serving on the CTTE Research and

Scholarship Committee and the ITEA Improving Public

Perceptions of Technology Education Task Force. Mark lives

in Oswego with his wife, Patricia, and their four-year-old

daughter, Liliana.

Sylvia Tiala, DTE

Assistant Professor

Undergraduate Program Director for

Technology Education

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Menomonie, WI

Sylvia Tiala is an assistant professor

at the University of Wisconsin-Stout where she has served

as the undergraduate program director for Technology

Education since the fall of 2007.

After earning her undergraduate degree at St. Cloud State

University, Sylvia taught technology education at the middle

and high school level in South Dakota, Minnesota, and

Iowa. At Iowa State University she completed a masters

degree and subsequently a doctorate degree under the

advisement of Daniel Householder, DTE and Dennis Field.

During her studies at Iowa State University, Sylvia worked

with Judy Vance to study the impact of virtual reality

on training and teaching environments. This included

investigating hardware and software for implementing

virtual reality in technology educational laboratories

under an NSF Research Experience for Teachers grant.

She was selected to participate in NASA’s Summer Teacher

Enrichment Program where she investigated head-mounted

displays for virtual environments. Sylvia is currently working

on researching the impact of computer games in educational

environments. She has served as a review panelist for NSF

and is promoting campus-wide undergraduate research at

UW-Stout as the cochair of the Creative Original Research

Experiences committee.

Sylvia has been actively involved in working with students

and student organizations. At the secondary level, she

advised the Technology Student Association. At UW-Stout,

she serves as a TECA Advisor.

Sylvia has been active in the Technology Education

profession, serving as a 1995 reviewer for the Technology for

All Americans Project. She served as the 2005 president of

the Iowa Technology Education Association and is currently

a board member of the Wisconsin Technology Education

Association. She has also served on the ITEA Elections

Committee, and in 2009 Sylvia was invited to be a member

of ITEA’s Long-Range Plan Task Force on Improving the

Public Perception of Technology Education.

ITEA recognized Sylvia as a Distinguished Technology

Educator in 2006. The Council on Technology Teacher

Education recognized Sylvia in 2007 as a Twenty-First

Century Leader Associate.

33 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

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34 • The Technology Teacher • March 2010

Want to know why YOU can’t afford

to miss the ITEA Charlotte

conference on March 18-20, 2010?

Here are just two reasons: GREEN and STEM.

We’ve got dozens of sessions scheduled that will bring you up-to-speed on these two

topics that are critical for the professional development of today’s technology and

engineering teachers.


“Green Technology: STEM Solutions for the 21st

Century Citizens.”

Our Program Excellence General Session speaker is John

Warner, president and chief technology officer of the Warner

Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. John’s presentation

will address the theme of the ITEA conference, which is

“Green Technology: STEM Solutions for 21st Century Citizens.”

The Warner Babcock Institute is staffed with a diverse team

of scientists and engineers focused on developing nontoxic,

environmentally benign, and sustainable technological solutions

for society. These solutions must be as cost effective

and perform as well or better than the existing technology they

replace. Recent innovations at the Institute have drawn from

the research areas of crystal engineering, molecular recognition,

and self-assembly.

Named one of the most influential people impacting the global

chemical industry, John’s presentation is sure to be a highlight

of the Charlotte Conference.

Also focusing on “Green” themes are the following presentations:

• It’s Easy to Be Green

• E-Waste: Solving a Global Problem with STEM

• Harnessing Sun and Wind Energy

• Eyes on the Earth: NASA’s Unique Perspective

• Biotechnology Made Easy

• Design in Tech Ed: Designing for Sustainability

• Developing a Middle School “Green Technology” Course

• Green Technology Improves Classroom Gender Equity

• The Green Problem Solving Model

• Development of a Green Technology Teaching Module

• Design for a Practical Green Energy Education

• Integrating Sustainability into the Tech Ed Curriculum

• Teaching “Green Building” in Construction Tech Ed Pgms

• Lean and Green Manufacturing in Wood Technology

This is a once-in-a-lifetime professional development experience

for anyone involved in STEM education, one of the

hottest topics in education in America. Technology and

engineering education can and does play a critical role in

helping school districts deliver all aspects of STEM education

to students with particular emphasis on the T and E.

Discussions in Charlotte are sure to be of crucial interest to

those in the field of technology and engineering education.

There are over TWO DOZEN STEM-focused sessions to

choose from, including:

• STEM Teachers Preparation for the Global Age

• Report from the "Stepping in STEM Shoes"

• E-Waste: Solving a Global Problem With STEM

• STEM Integration Within a Case Study Approach

• How Students Think and Learn With STEM Design

• Integrative STEM Education: The Prescription for STEMmania

• EbD - What is it? The Primary Source for STEM

• STEM Female Faculty Persistence and Success

• Infuse Engineering Design Into your STEM Classes

• Instructional Strategies Promoting STEM and Technological


• Sustainable STEAM: STEM Social Arts Standards

• Extending your Robotics Paradigm: A True STEM

Integration Model

• Opportunities for Females in STEM

• EbD's New Robotic Pathway Extension STEM Partnership

with intelitek

• Implementing STEM Through Inquiring Minds

• Pedagogical Content Knowledge in STEM Classroom

• Using STEM Create Interdisciplinary Classrooms

• STEM Institutes, A Middle School Initiative

• Reinforcing STEM Concepts Through Hands-On Activities

• Your Senses and STEM

• Bringing STEM Home to Your State/District/School

• Putting the E in STEM Education (K-8)

• Professional STEM Collaborative in New York State

• STEM Across the Curriculum: Meeting the Standards

• STEM Through Turbulent Times

• STEMify Your Classroom

• Curious George: Using STEM to Entertain

• STEM-Based Elementary Ed Teacher Prep Program

• Building Partnerships: A STEM Initiative Case Study

It’s not too late! See all the conference details on the ITEA website at and register on-site in Charlotte!

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Thursday, March 18 - 11:00am - 11:50am

• Session: ITEA’s EbD - What is it?

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Thursday, March 18 - 1:00pm - 4:50pm

• EbDLab: Invention, Innovation, and Inquiry (I3)

• EbDLab: Technological Systems

• EbDLab: Foundations of Technology

• EbDLab: Advanced Technological Applications

Thursday, March 18 - 2:00pm - 2:50pm

• EbD’s New Robotics PathwayExtension STEM

Partnership with intelitek

Friday, March 19 - 11:00am - 11:50am

• Session: EbD Professional Development and

Curricular Services for all States

Friday, March 19 - 2:00pm - 4:50pm

• EbDLab: Exploring Technology

• EbDLab: Technological Design

• EbDLab: Advanced Design Applications

Saturday, March 20 - 10:00am - 10:50am

• Session: EbD: A Rallying Focal Point for the Profession

Saturday, March 20 - 9:00am - 11:50am

• EbDLab: Technology Starters

• EbDLab: Engineering Design

Visit the the EbD EbD

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Booths - #304 and 306

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• Free Web Forums & Learning Resources

• CMU Robotics Academy Training Aids

• VEX & FTC Competition Approved

STEM-focused Curriculum Products from

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Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy 412 681-7160

LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT, TETRIX, ARDUINO, and IFI INNOVATION FIRST VEX are registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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