November 2007 - Vol 67, No.3 - International Technology and ...

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November 2007 - Vol 67, No.3 - International Technology and ...

The SPACE PLACE RETURNS • GETTING TO THE CENTER OF A TOOTSIE ROLL POP ®

Technology

TEACHER

The Voice of Technology Education

the

November 2007

Volume 67 • Number 3

The “No Trucks”

Design Challenge

Also:

• Teaching Technology in Low Socioeconomic Areas

• The Journey Towards Technological Literacy for All—

Are We There Yet?

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Contents

NOVEMBER • VOL. 67 • NO. 3

4

Teaching Technology in Low

Socioeconomic Areas

This article focuses on the importance of

teaching technology to these students so

that they will have the needed skills to

compete in today’s job market, as well as

that of the future.

Dianne Thomas

Classroom

Challenge

page 33

Departments

Web News

1

TIDE News

2

3 Calendar

Resources

9

in Technology

28

The Space

Place

33 Classroom

Challenge

Features

The Journey Towards Technological Literacy for All in the United

15

States—Are We There Yet?

Provides a critical, unrelenting look at the profession’s history, research base, and

contemporary practice.

Philip A. Reed

23

35

NEW!

Getting to the Center of a Tootsie Roll Pop®

One Ohio teacher creates a lab to solve the age-old question, “How many licks does it take to

get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop ® ?”

Brian Lien

NEW FEATURE!

Model Program: Conestoga Valley School District, PA

Insert ITEA 70th Annual Conference Preliminary Program

Publisher, Kendall N. Starkweather, DTE

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

Editor, Kathie F. Cluff

ITEA Board of Directors

Andy Stephenson, DTE, President

Ken Starkman, Past President

Len Litowitz, DTE, President-Elect

Doug Miller, Director, ITEA-CS

Scott Warner, Director, Region I

Lauren Withers Olson, Director, Region II

Steve Meyer, Director, Region III

Richard (Rick) Rios, Director, Region IV

Michael DeMiranda, Director, CTTE

Peter Wright, Director, TECA

Vincent Childress, 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 $80; $90 outside the U.S.

Single copies are $8.50 for members; $9.50

for nonmembers, plus shipping—domestic

@ $5.00 and outside the U.S. @ $11.00

(Airmail).

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

703-860-2100

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

change.

Postmaster

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.

E-mail: kdelapaz@iteaconnect.org

World Wide Web: www.iteaconnect.org

PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER


Now Available on the

ITEA Website:

Stop Procrastinating!

You can still beat the December 1 st deadline to apply for one of ITEA’s ten

grants, scholarships, and awards. ITEA distributes a total of $3,000 in grants

and $3,000 in scholarships to its members. You can gain recognition, both

locally and internationally, through ITEA’s Program and Teacher Excellence

Awards. You can also nominate a colleague for a Special Recognition

Award. It’s easy, and it’s all there at www.iteaconnect.org/Awards/awards.

htm. Come on, you know you’ve earned it!

Make the Connection!

ITEA’s Learning Communities are a valuable resource for the Technology,

Innovation, Design, and Engineering (TIDE) education community. There is

something for everyone: Hemisphere has an international focus, IdeaGarden

has a teacher-to-teacher format, Innovation Station explores children’s

engineering, and TIDEWatcher provides a perspective on legislative

efforts. Help yourself and help others along the way. Go to www.iteaconnect.

org/Networking/networking.htm to see what all the buzz is about.

Te c h nology

TEACHER

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

the

Editorial Review Board

Cochairperson

Dan Engstrom, DTE

California University of PA

Steve Anderson

Nikolay Middle School, WI

Stephen Baird

Bayside Middle School, VA

Lynn Basham

VA Department of Education

Clare Benson

University of Central England

Mary Braden

Carver Magnet HS, TX

Jolette Bush

Midvale Middle School, UT

Philip Cardon

Eastern Michigan University

Michael Cichocki

Salisbury Middle School, PA

Mike Fitzgerald, DTE

IN Department of Education

Marie Hoepfl

Appalachian State Univ.

Laura Hummell

Manteo Middle School, NC

Cochairperson

Stan Komacek, DTE

California University of PA

Frank Kruth

South Fayette MS, PA

Linda Markert

SUNY at Oswego

Don Mugan

Valley City State University

Monty Robinson

Black Hills State University

Mary Annette Rose

Ball State University

Terrie Rust

Oasis Elementary School, AZ

Yvonne Spicer

Nat’l Center for Tech Literacy

Jerianne Taylor

Appalachian State University

Greg Vander Weil

Wayne State College

Eric Wiebe

North Carolina State Univ.

www.iteaconnect.org

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.

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 kdelapaz@iteaconnect.org. 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 www.iteaconnect.org/

Publications/Submissionguidelines.htm. Contents copyright

© 2007 by the International Technology Education

Association, Inc., 703-860-2100.

1 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


TIDE News

Don’t Miss This!

• Teacher Astronaut Barbara Morgan

• Dr. Robert Ballard

• Dr. Steve Petrina

• Dr. James LaPorte

What do these respected individuals have in common?

These and other sensational session speakers await you at

Teaching TIDE with Pride—ITEA’s 70 th Annual Conference

in Salt Lake City, February 21-23, 2008.

While the preliminary program is inserted into the center

of this journal, everything you need to know about the 70 th

Annual ITEA Conference in Salt Lake City is also there for

you at www.iteaconnect.org/Conference/conferenceguide.

htm. Whether you are looking for details on the compelling

general sessions with teacher astronaut Barbara Morgan

and Dr. Robert Ballard, founder of the JASON Project, details

on the programming available for CTTE, TECC, TECA, CS,

EPT, CATTS, and Engineering by Design, information on

the specialized conference workshops and educational tours,

a glimpse at the exhibiting companies, registration,

or housing information—it’s all there for you on the

ITEA website.

Ready to Secure Your Housing?

ITEA Conference Housing is now open, and the ITEA

hotels (Marriott Downtown, Radisson Downtown, and

Plaza at Temple Square) are offering rates from $109 to

$149, the best you will find in the area. At these prices,

the ITEA room blocks will fill quickly, so don’t delay in

making your reservations. Specific details are available at

www.iteaconnect.org/Conference/housing.htm.

Ready to Register?

To stretch your budget dollars, be sure to take advantage

of the special preregistration pricing. ITEA Pro fessional

Members pay $269 for full conference registration prior to

January 18 ($309 on-site), and Student Members pay $59 in

advance ($69 on-site). Nonmembers pay $349 in advance

and $389 on-site. Encourage your colleagues to become

ITEA members in order to take advantage of these great

preregistration rates.

This is one conference you won’t want to miss, so mark your

calendar and make plans now to attend.

And remember this date—January 18, 2007. This is not

only the preregistration cut-off date, but also the reservation

The Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City.

deadline for housing in ITEA’s room block. (The conference

is almost one month earlier this year, so preregistration and

housing deadlines are earlier as well.)

Grant, Scholarship, and Award Opportunities for

ITEA Members

Receive the financial support you need and the recognition

you deserve! ITEA offers a wide variety of grant, scholarship,

and award opportunities. If you are an ITEA member,

then YOU are ELIGIBLE!

NOW is the time to apply!

Get a head start by visiting www.iteaconnect.org/Awards/

awards.htm for information on grant, scholarship, and

award criteria. Deadlines are December 1.

SAVE TIME…CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION…

ADVANCE YOUR CAREER! APPLY TODAY.

NASA Engineering Design Challenge—

Bring Space Into Your Classroom!

As NASA plans to return to the moon, plant growth will

be an important part of space exploration. NASA scientists

anticipate that astronauts may be able to grow plants on the

moon in specialized plant growth chambers. Come participate

and build your own lunar growth chamber in the

NASA Engineering Design Challenge!

Photo credit: Steve Greenwood

2 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Calendar

Through the NASA Engineering Design Challenge,

elementary, middle, and high school students will:

• Design, build, and evaluate lunar plant growth

chambers.

• Receive cinnamon basil seeds flown on STS-118.

• Test lunar growth chambers by growing and comparing

both space-flown and earth-based control seeds.

Visit www.nasa.gov/education/plantchallenge to register

and to receive more information about the NASA

Engineering Design Challenge. You can also sign up for the

NASA Express listserv to receive email updates about the

challenge and other NASA education activities.

Join the NASA Engineering Design Challenge and be part of

space exploration by growing seeds flown in space!

39 th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll Released

The 39 th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes

Toward the Public Schools was released August 28, 2007.

For the complete results of this year’s poll, a video summary

of the poll findings, and a number of other poll resources,

go to www.pdkintl.org. For almost four decades, this public

opinion poll has helped shape policy initiatives and strategies

for improving public schools, and this year’s poll is

expected to have an even greater impact on the debates over

NCLB, national standards, and global education.

As always, you are encouraged to think about how the poll

results can affect the schools in your community and our

nation’s education policies, but this year there is also an

online space where you can share your reactions to the poll

and learn what your colleagues are thinking. Join the discussion

at http://forums.pdkintl.org/. The PDK/Gallup Poll

Forum is open to the public—anyone visiting the forum can

view the discussion on the poll findings and can post comments

after completing the easy and free registration.

TTT Author Publishes Book for Young Writers

One of The Technology Teacher’s featured writers, former

engineer Harry T. Roman, has recently published a short

book (73 pages) for young writers entitled, For the Aspiring

Writer. His 40 years of creative and speculative writing have

convinced him there is a fundamental creative link between

good communication skills and tech ed; and he encourages

all tech ed teachers to explore this fertile ground. Roman’s

book provides simple tips for the young writer and also

features some of his poetry, prose, and super-short stories.

He has three other literary manuscripts now approaching

completion, which contain many more of his writings, as

well as a book devoted to writing activities and challenges

for the classroom. To date, Harry has written and published

14 books, 450 technical papers and articles, 700 poems and

short stories, and five short literary chapbooks of poems/

prose. He certainly proves that engineers can write well.

His book is $14.95 and can be ordered via Amazon.com, or

directly from the publisher, PublishAmerica.

Calendar

November 1-2, 2007 The 22 nd Annual Colorado Technology

Education Conference, “Reaching New Heights,” will take

place at the Copper Conference Center in Copper Mountain,

CO. Complete information about the conference is

available at www.cteaonline.org/.

November 4-5, 2007 The Technology Educators of

Indiana (TEI) will present their 76th Annual Conference,

“Passion for the Profession,” at the Clarion Hotel and Conference

Center, in Indianapolis. Visit www.teiwww.org/

conference/ for complete conference information.

November 8-9, 2007 The Technology Education Association

of Pennsylvania (TEAP) will hold its 55 th Annual

Conference at the Radisson Penn Harris Conference Center

in Camp Hill, PA. Visit the TEAP website at www.teaponline.org/index2.htm

and click on “conference” for

complete information.

November 9-11, 2007 The Institute of Electrical and

Electronic Engineers (IEEE) will present a special conference

in Munich, Germany: “Meeting the Growing Demand

for Engineers and Their Educators 2010-2020 Summit.”

Complete information can be accessed at www.ieee.org/

web/ education/preuniversity/globalsummit.

January 18, 2008 Preregistration deadline for money saving

discounts on registration fees for ITEA’s Salt Lake City

conference, February 21-23, 2008. Register early and save!

February 21-23, 2008 ITEA’s 70 th Annual ITEA Conference,

“Teaching TIDE With Pride,” will be held in Salt Lake

City, UT. The latest information and details are available

on the ITEA website at www.iteaconnect.org/Conference/

conferenceguide.htm.

3 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Teaching Technology in Low

Socioeconomic Areas

By Dianne Thomas

Technology education will help

break the cycle of poverty for low

socioeconomic students.

Introduction

Technology now allows information to travel around

the world in a matter of seconds, causing a new form of

globalization. This integration of technology into our

global society has changed the nature of work in virtually

every occupational field. To be able to compete for these

positions, workers must have viable technology skills, and

the educational system must prepare students for this work.

In his book of the same name, Friedman (2006) said it

succinctly, “The world is flat!”

A survey compiled by the United States federal government

listed the 100 poorest counties in the nation. Sixteen

counties in Mississippi were on that list, with eight of those

being in the Mississippi Delta. “State Representative John

Mayo, D-Clarksdale, said the low wages throughout the

Mississippi Delta are due to poor education” (Owens, 2006).

These sixteen counties in Mississippi, along with the other

84 poorest counties in the U.S., share a common thread:

an ongoing cycle of poverty. A quality education is the key

to breaking this cycle. Technology education should be

included in addition to the courses students are currently

receiving.

Testing ways to make vehicles travel faster and farther.

Technology? Where?

Technology is the driving force in today’s job market and

its importance will increase in the future. Fields such as

medicine, education, communication, and law are open to

those students who have mastered technology and have the

capability and resources needed to continue their education

through the university level. In our technologically advanced

society, however, these are not the only careers that require

specialized technical understanding and training.

4 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


When our vegetables were mature, we hand picked them.

On farms, machinery is used to harvest crops.

Agriculture

Agriculture now requires owners and employees to

have a working knowledge of many types of technology.

Beginning with the government computers that process

farm payments, farmers are dependent on computers as

well as other forms of technology. Rachel Purdon, who is

the senior administrator of the Pentalk Network, noted that

farmers could survive without a desktop computer, but that

it is becoming very difficult to remain on the cutting edge

without one (Tasker, 2006). Computers also help farmers

keep up to date on diseases that threaten livestock. The

Internet is the most viable means of keeping up with the

latest outbreaks. Computerizing farm records can save time

and paperwork and is useful in identifying both strengths

and weaknesses of cost and production (Tasker, 2006).

With the cost of production up, many farmers are using

technology to save on chemical application of crops. The

global positioning system (GPS), which can be mounted

onto a tractor, is a part of the variable-rate technology now

in use on many farms. Because the GPS system is tractormounted,

the driver must be able to work the system

(Abram, 2006). According to results of a 2005 survey

presented at the 2006 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in

San Antonio, Texas, 62% of farmers who adopted satellite

imaging continue to use the technology. “Farmers who

have abandoned precision farming technology are generally

older, and have the same or less education than those who

continue to use the technology” (Robinson, 2006).

A field trip to a local farm to observe equipment at work,

along with a question-and-answer session with the farmer,

will help children in the primary grades begin to understand

and move toward meeting STL Standard 15, to develop an

understanding of and be able to select and use agricultural

and related biotechnologies (ITEA, 2000/2002). Take that a

step further and plant a vegetable garden on school property

and use the vegetables to cook soup. This is a perfect time

to discuss things such as what to do if insects begin to eat

your crop or what happens if your harvest isn’t enough

for everybody to have plenty to eat. You will also have the

chance to discuss what types of tools you need to maintain a

food plot. Compare the tools you use to the ones seen on the

farm. Create a compost pile to show how agricultural waste

can be recycled. My former first grade students have done

these things, and the knowledge they acquired was better

than anything I could have presented in the classroom.

Newspaper

Technology is playing an important role within the

newspaper printing business—and not in just the most

obvious ways of Internet news reporting and retrieval.

Companies are now using technology to improve revenues

in a variety of ways. Vice President Lorie Schrader of The

Dallas Morning News developed a system to pull data

from the paper’s advertising section and correlate it to

the circulation department. “This information is then

manipulated and analyzed to identify opportunities”

Newspaper printing.

5 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Getting instruction on “flying” a two-seater plane.

(Wolferman, 2002) that increase sales for the paper. The

$200,000 cost of software and consulting services has

been credited with an increase of $614,000 in revenue.

Cox Newspapers, Inc., Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, is using

technology to combine and improve all aspects of its

production, including advertisement, human resources, and

payroll data. Technology is now seen as a way to increase

revenue because the cost-reduction technology that

provided large savings in the labor and material previously

has, for the most part, run its course. Wolferman noted

that there is “one word of caution: Like most modern tools,

decision-support software can only be as effective as the

user” (2002). Software will not make an amateur an expert.

“Only trained and skilled analysts can turn the pieces into

fuel for new revenue” (Wolferman, 2002).

Communication

Understanding, selecting, and using information and

communication technologies (STL Standard 17) leads to

interesting interaction with others. We have pen pals in

Kansas whom we can email regularly. For many of the

students, school is their only chance to have this experience,

as they are not online at home. While we do email our pen

pals, we also write conventional letters. Doing both allows

for a comparison of both types of communication. We also

watch the weather reports on television for both places and

“plan” what we can do at recess based on that. Will we have

a recess in the gym, or will we be able to go outdoors?

Trucking

The trucking industry has also moved toward using GPS

to keep tabs on where trucks are at any given time. Drivers

report to a central office through onboard computers.

Taking a tip from the railroad systems, trucking companies

are beginning to use the radio-frequency identification

(RFID) system. Graniterock Construction in California is

just one such company. Its 600 trucks are equipped with

the RFID system, and they have reported an increase in

customer satisfaction since the installation. The online

Our class used “found” materials to create our own

unique vehicles.

journal, eWeek, toured the facility, completing an evaluation

that noted they were “impressed by the efficiencies

Graniterock has been able to attain by using its business

intelligence reporting system in combination with RFID

tagging” (Chen, 2005).

STL Standard 18, “Students will develop an understanding

of and be able to select and use transportation technologies,”

can be met through exciting hands-on activities. Begin

with a complete unit on transportation that is geared to

your students’ level and be sure to include field trips. To

help my students gain knowledge and experience with this

standard, we have taken a field trip that included a stop at a

trucking company, a commercial bus terminal, and a local

agricultural airport. Planning the field trip was an exercise in

scheduling in which we had to discuss what would happen if

we were late getting from one place to another. For example,

if we left the trucking company late, we would miss the bus

at the terminal and would not have the opportunity to get

on and look around.

Other Industries

Other industries are using technology in new and

astounding ways. Automobiles have become more complex,

using computer chips in many components. Repairing a

vehicle often necessitates a trip to the repair shop where it

can be “put on the computer” to determine the problem.

Sewing machines are computerized as noted by DeAnn

Hebert in Des Moines, Iowa. With $20,000 in funds

allocated to her family and consumer sciences department

at East High School, she pointed out that they have, “the

best sewing technology rooms in the state” (The Des Moines

Register, 2006).

Help for Students

The need for technology education is apparent when

researching the job market. No doubt it would be difficult

to find any jobs that had no technology associated with

6 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


them. If technology is on the increase and students in

low socioeconomic areas are not receiving an adequate

education, as Mayo noted in The Clarksdale Press Register,

educators, administrators, parents, and students must ask

themselves what the solution is to this problem.

One obvious answer is to improve the quality of technology

education because neither these students nor their families

have easy access to funds to provide technology education

and use it at home. Technology use by socioeconomic

brackets is not just a problem in the United States. Research

in Canada has shown that, “despite widespread diffusion of

the new technology, recent research indicates that home

computer ownership varies significantly amongst different

income and educational categories” (Nakhaie & Pike, 1998).

In homes where the head of the household held a university

degree, 55.6% owned a home computer, while in homes

where the head of the household had a less than ninth grade

education, only 9.1% owned a computer.

The research also pointed out that families in homes with

lower socioeconomic incomes were less likely to use the

computer if they had one. When using the computer, these

families typically used them to play video games. Yet, the

education a person receives can reverse this trend. People

from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who go on to

receive higher levels of education tend to use computers

more than those people from the same income bracket

who do not get higher levels of education. An important

concept to consider is to what extent children from lower

socioeconomic homes have ready access to computers at

school (Nakhaie & Pike, 1998).

Teaching Technology Effectively

Learning to effectively use technology is an important

life skill for today’s students—especially as society has

shifted from an industrial society to one that is knowledgeintensive.

Students must have the technical knowledge and

skills that enable them to either enter the work force or

help them to complete higher-level degrees. Teachers are

assigned the task of meeting these technological needs of

students. A key component in staff development for teachers

on using technology across the curriculum is to understand

that it is not just about learning the technology, but also

about the learning process and pedagogical concepts that

entails (Jacobson, 2001).

The work of such theorists as Piaget and Vygotsky is

relevant to meeting the needs of students in the educational

technology arena. Teaching technological knowledge

and skills to students must be based on sound doctrines

of learning and must take into account the technological

background children bring with them to school. The

socioeconomic backgrounds of students have a significant

impact on the information base about technology that they

bring with them to school. Even so, all children participating

in technology education made huge gains in their knowledge

and skills using computers and the Internet. One continuing

concern is that there is a growing gap between students in

higher and lower socioeconomic settings and the depth and

breadth of their technological knowledge. Implications are

that schools must close this gap (Somekh & Pearson, 2001).

Information Communication Technology (ICT) remains one

of the most difficult subjects for educators to teach students.

Five important findings from a pedagogical viewpoint have

emerged. These include the concept that (1) the classroom

teacher’s attitude and computer literacy level affect student

achievement; (2) reciprocal teaching and modeling among

students are effective learning strategies; (3) teachers’

one-on-one advice is beneficial to children looking for

information; (4) collaborative and competitive group

activities are motivating, and (5) professional technical

support is imperative (Akahori, 2002).

The U. S. Department of Education has developed the

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)

that state education departments can use to form their

technology framework. For example, the Mississippi

technology framework lists ten performances students

should be able to demonstrate before completing the

fifth grade. Standard 5 states: Students will be able to use

technology tools for individual and collaborative writing,

communication, and publishing activities to create

knowledge products for audiences inside and outside the

classroom. A simple and inexpensive way to meet this

standard is to have electronic pen pals with a school in

another state.

Conclusion

For all students to become successful, productive citizens

in the future, it is apparent that they must be well

educated in technology. Those students who come from

lower socioeconomic backgrounds have further to go in

attaining that education because they often do not have the

capabilities at home to practice technology nor do they have

the prerequisite background knowledge. Schools are their

means for obtaining technology education and hands-on

practice and, as such, are charged with the responsibility

of closing the technology achievement gap. Virtually

all students in public schools in the U.S. have access to

computers and the Internet in their school as reported by

7 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Education Week on the Web’s Technology Counts (May,

2004), showing that schools really do have the ability to

bridge the digital divide.

References

Abram, M. (2006). Crop sensing helps reduce N use.

Farmers Weekly, 144, 58.

Chen, A. (2005, August 1). RFID does more than track

trucks. eWeek Labs. Retrieved April 1, 2006 from www.

eWeek.com

The Des Moines Register. (2006, February 23). The best

sewing technology rooms in the state. Retrieved April 1,

2006 from www.desmoinesregister.com

Education Week. Technology counts. (2004). Retrieved

September 6, 2006 from http://counts.edweek.org/

sreports/tco4/tables/access.tl.pdf

Friedman, T. L. (2006). The world is flat: A brief history of the

twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Kanji, A. (2002). Qualitative analysis of information

communication technology use on teaching-learning

process. (Report No. IR 021 688). Norfolk, VA:

Association for the Advancement of Computing in

Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.

ED476960.)

Jacobsen, D. M. (2001). Building different bridges:

Technology integration, engaged student learning, and

new approaches to professional development. (Report No.

TM 032 583). Alberta, Canada: Calgary University. (ERIC

Document Reproduction Service No. ED453232.)

Nakhaie, M. R. & Pike, R. M. (1998). Social origins, social

statuses and home computer access and use. Canadian

Journal of Sociology, 23, 427–450.

Owens, D. (2006, July 11). The Delta listed as poorest area in

nation. The Clarksdale Press Register, pp. A1, A6.

Robinson, E. (2006, April 12). Cotton growers say variablerate

technology can produce profits. Retrieved July 7, 2006

from www.southeastfarmpress.com.

Somekh, B. & Pearson, M. (2001). Children’s representations

of new technology, mismatches between the public

educational curriculum and socio-cultural learning.

(Report No. IR 020 700). Seattle, WA: The American

Educational Research Association. (ERIC Document

Reproduction Service No. ED453816).

Tasker, J. Have you tamed technology? Farmers Weekly ,144,

18-19.

Wolferman, E. Tech and the top line. Editor and Publisher,

135. Retrieved July 11, 2006 from http://web10.epnet.

com/citation.html

Dianne Thomas taught elementary school

for nineteen years, where she enjoyed guiding

students through many of the activities

in this article. Currently she is an assistant

professor of teacher education at Delta State

University in Cleveland, Mississippi. She

can be reached via email at dthomas@tecinfo.com.

This is a refereed article.

8 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Resources in Technology

Engineering Education:

Web-Based Interactive

Learning Resources

By Hassan B. Ndahi, Sushil Charturvedi,

A. Osman Akan, and J. Worth Pickering

The goal of the ongoing project is to enhance

students’ learning process by implementing an

undergraduate engineering curricular transformation

that integrates simulation and visualization modules

as well as virtual experiments in engineering science

and core courses in three disciplines: electrical,

civil, and mechanical engineering. These modules

serve as additional learning tools that build on

laboratory experiments and classroom learning

by engineering students in urban areas where the

students’ demographics parallel the nontraditional

students who typically are older, have families, and

work full time in order to earn enough income to

fit into the social and economic lifestyles in urban

societies. Providing additional learning resources

that are accessible to these students at their

convenience will enhance their ability to learn.

Over eighty percent of students polled used computers frequently

or very frequently for their work.

Introduction

The education of engineers in many urban universities today

is fraught with challenges that are often identified with

nontraditional students. Typically, these students are older,

have families, and work full time in order to earn enough

income to fit into the social and economic lifestyles in urban

societies. Often these students have difficulties balancing

work and academic responsibilities and are likely to miss

classes by giving priority to their work when there is a time

9 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


conflict between work and class schedules. Missing a class

breaks the chain of learning and can profoundly impact

performance. This is particularly true for engineering

education where, generally, new material builds on the

material already covered. Unless the missed material is

made up promptly, the students’ learning suffers throughout

the entire semester. Indeed, such students might fail the

course or even drop out of the program because they are

unable to satisfy their academic requirements. This outcome

is undesirable because (a) there is a shortage of qualified

engineers to meet the needs of the nation, and (b) the nontraditional

students, for the most part, are very mature and

hard working and can be excellent engineers if their learning

needs are accommodated. Therefore, engineering faculty

in urban institutions must find ways to provide interactive

learning resources, extend their courses, or modify their

teaching methodologies—and in order for students to learn

more effectively, they must have access to these resources

(Horton, 1997). One promising approach for achieving this

goal is the use of computer technology and the Internet.

Computer-based models of teaching and learning are

receiving increasing attention in university education.

Computers and multimedia in particular have been

used to address the students’ learning needs as well as

instructors’ pedagogical needs, such as Bloom’s Taxonomy

of Educational Objectives (Montgomery, 1995). Both

traditional and nontraditional students can have access to

new ways of learning, or to additional learning resources at

times that are convenient for them (Campbell, 1999). Some

might argue that it is difficult to tailor instruction to each

student; however, it is equally misguided to imagine that a

single one-size-fits-all approach to teaching can meet the

Students were asked how often they interact with their faculty

during office hours.

needs of every student (Felder, 2005). Providing learning

resources online creates an environment that facilitates a

learner-centered approach, with the learner as an active

participant in the process (Anwar, Rolle, & Memon, 2005).

Similarly, studies have shown that today’s students are more

attuned to computer and video technologies and are likely

to learn better if they are provided with computer-based

modules (Kurtis, 2003).

These technological factors are converging to create an

interest in virtual learning and an increased demand for

the ability to access learning resources at convenient times.

It is therefore not surprising to note the huge interest in

web-based classes at all levels of engineering education,

because the use of computers and the web has provided

a wealth of resources available to students at any location

and time convenient to them (Rajput, 2003). It is possible

for students to perform laboratory experiments in a

simulated environment, which can provide an alternative

to a physical lab exercise. Although physical laboratory

demonstration remains the dominant method of providing

laboratory experience, virtual reality is an emerging

computer interface that has the potential for a tremendous

impact on engineering education by permitting students to

explore environments that would otherwise be inaccessible

(Shaikh, Rajput, & Unar, 2004) and to cover class materials

more comprehensively using time out of the classroom,

thereby appealing to diverse learning styles (Lumsdaine,

2003). These interactive, computer-based visualization- and

simulation-enhanced modules and virtual laboratories can

be additional teaching tools in engineering programs to help

both traditional and nontraditional students, especially if

they are available on the Internet. The question is whether

engineering students will actually use and profit from such

additional teaching tools if they are available.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this study was to determine engineering

students’ preferred way of learning and to provide additional

learning resources to support their methods of learning. The

objectives of the study were:

1. To determine engineering students’ demographics at

an urban institution.

2. To determine engineering students’ preferred ways of

learning and resources.

3. To provide additional learning resources to help

students learn.

4. To compare the performance of students in a control

and experimental group.

10 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Method

Population and Sample

The population for this study was drawn from electrical,

civil, and mechanical engineering programs at an urban

university. A purposive sampling method was used to select

students for the study. A total of 273 engineering students

from three programs—mechanical, civil, and electrical

engineering—were selected. The students were sophomores,

juniors, and seniors. Although a sizeable number of students

were sampled, they were all from a single institution.

Therefore, the results of the study cannot be generalized to

other institutions in urban areas. However, they can provide

baseline data for further studies involving many urban

universities and a wider population.

Instrument

To determine the effectiveness of interactive, computerbased

resources, both quantitative and qualitative data were

collected. A survey was developed by three engineering

faculty members from the departments of mechanical,

civil, and electrical engineering. The instrument was

reviewed for face and content validity by all the members

of the project team from the three engineering programs,

a faculty member from the College of Education, and staff

from the university’s Office of Research and Assessment.

Ambiguous questions were removed from the survey, and

some questions were modified. For the qualitative data,

participant laboratory activities were observed directly

by a faculty member from the College of Education. Data

collected during the observation were organized under three

subheadings: familiarity with equipment parts, questioning,

and student participation. The performance of students in

the Control group was compared with that of students in

the Experimental group. The Intact-Group Comparison

research design methodology was adopted for this study

(Campbell & Stanley, 1966). In this design, the control

group that did not have access to the web-based resources

(module) was compared with the experimental group that

had access to the web resources. Figure 1 illustrates a webbased

interactive simulation. Both groups were tested and

observed during physical lab demonstration.

Findings

This study uses a descriptive research method to describe

and interpret the given state of affairs and developing

trends. Simple statistics, frequencies, and percentages

were used to analyze the quantitative data, while the

qualitative data from the direct observation was categorized

based on the observations during the physical laboratory

demonstration.

Figure 1. This is a screen capture of a virtual experiment of a heat

exchanger problem for a thermodynamics fluid laboratory. The

student can enter test data and start the experiment and collect

and store the experiment data. Step-by-step instruction procedures

are shown on the screen.

Engineering student demographics

Engineering student demographics in urban universities

today are similar to those of nontraditional engineering

students in most university campuses. The data from this

study showed that 21.61% (n =59) were females, while

78.02% (n = 213) were males. When asked about their age

group, 54.95% (n =150) reported being within the age group

18-22 years, and 26.37% (n = 72) were in the age group 23-

27 years, while 18.63% (n =51) were in the 28-years-andover

age group. Data concerning hours of nonacademicrelated

paid work per week showed that 60.44% (n =165)

worked between 11 and 40 hours per week, while 15.02% (n

= 41) worked fewer than 10 hours per week. The data also

showed that 65.93% (n =180) took between 11and 20 credit

hours of classes per week, while 6.59% (n =18) took more

than 20 credit hours per week.

Engineering students’ preferred ways of learning

The students were asked how often they interact with their

faculty during office hours as part of their learning strategy.

The data showed that 57.51% (n =157) seldom or never

interact with their faculty and 34.07% (n = 93) occasionally

visit with their faculty. The students were asked about the

usefulness of individual study. The data showed 92.68% (n

= 253) considered individual study useful or very useful to

them, while 75.09% (n = 205) of the respondents agreed

that group study was useful or very useful to their learning.

Traditional lecture was considered useful or very useful by

an overwhelming 90.11% (n = 246). Also, 61.53% (n = 168)

11 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


agreed that in-class assignments were useful or very useful

to their learning.

The students were asked how often they used computers for

homework, tests, and projects. The data showed that 80.22%

(n = 219) use computers frequently or very frequently

for their work, while 75.59% (n = 205) use web resources

for their homework, tests, and projects. When asked

about their preferred method of laboratory presentation,

an overwhelming 93.37% (n =255) of the respondents

agreed that live/physical demonstrations were useful or

very useful to their learning. Likewise 72.53% (n =198)

of the respondents considered accessibility to web-based

materials useful or very useful, and 88.65% (n =242) of the

respondents agreed or strongly agreed that using visual

images was as effective as physical demonstrations. An

overwhelming 96.71% (n = 264) of the respondents agreed

or strongly agreed that presentation in a visual or animated

form helped reinforce engineering principles, while a

significant number of students, 89.38 % (n = 244), agreed or

strongly agreed that the interactive and friendly features of

the computer helped them learn better. (See Figure 2.)

Students’ test performance, Control vs. Experimental

Group

A test was constructed to measure the students’

performance in both the control and experimental groups.

Both groups were taught the same materials; however, the

experimental group was exposed to additional learning

resources on the web (learning module) prior to taking

the test. Items on the test were generated using Bloom’s

Taxonomy levels of learning—knowledge, comprehension,

application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. This initial

test was designed to measure the average performance of

each group and to determine if there was any learning gain.

The total score on the test was 60 points for all the items.

Data from the test showed that the average score for the

Control group, which had no access to the learning module,

was 28.8 points (48%), while the Experimental group, which

had access to the learning module, had an average score of

37.23 points (62.05%). This shows an average gain of 14.05%

for the Experimental group over the Control group. (See

Figure 3.)

Students’ laboratory performance: Virtual vs. Nonvirtual

To further determine the effectiveness of using a simulation

and visualization module, qualitative data were collected

through direct observation of students during a physical

laboratory experiment. In the lab experiment, students were

expected to measure the impact force on vanes of various

shapes as a function of jet mass flow rate. To conduct this

experiment successfully, it was important for the students

to be familiar with the different parts of the equipment.

Students were divided into experimental and control

groups. Both groups were observed during the physical

laboratory experiment. The Experimental group had been

exposed to a virtual laboratory experiment prior to the

physical laboratory experiment, while the Control group

had not been exposed to the virtual experiment. Before

the experiment commenced, the instructor explained the

parts of the equipment and a step-by-step procedure for

performing the physical laboratory experiment to both

Figure 2. Percentage of responses to statements about preferred ways of learning.

12 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


groups. The instructor led the students through the first

experiment and then asked the students to change the vane

size and perform the second experiment as a group.

Familiarity with parts of the equipment: The observation

showed that the Control group was not familiar with most

parts of the equipment, even after the instructor had

explained the different parts. Group members could not

remember most of the parts when asked to change or move

one. The Experimental group members, on the other hand,

knew or identified most of the parts of the equipment. They

could be seen discussing among themselves and pointing to

the different parts of the equipment they could remember

from the virtual experiment.

Questioning: During the experiment, the observation

showed that the Control group was not asking questions.

Instead, the group members were busy writing notes as the

instructor performed the experiment. The instructor asked

the group questions at different steps of the experiment,

with very few attempts by the students to answer the

questions. The students were mostly passive during the

experiment. The reverse was the case with the Experimental

group. The students correctly answered most of the

questions and asked the instructor questions to clarify

some of the parts that had not been clearly visible on the 2D

virtual experiment.

Student participation: The students were asked to change

the vane size and perform the second experiment as a

group. The observation showed that the Control group had

difficulty carrying out the experiment. The instructor had

to intervene to complete the experiment. Most students in

Figure 3. Average percentage score of the Experimental and

Control group.

the Control group remained passive throughout the process.

The Experimental group members were eager to perform

the experiment and had no problem changing the vane size

and performing the step-by-step procedure. All members

of the Experimental group were active participants during

the experiment, while the instructor stood aside and

watched the group perform. Overall, the students in the

Experimental group were more active participants in their

learning as compared to the students in the Control group,

who were passive most of the time during the experiment.

Discussion

The result of this study underscores the need for simulationand

visualization-enhanced engineering education. The

goal of the ongoing project is to enhance the students’

learning process by implementing an undergraduate

engineering curricular transformation that integrates

simulation and visualization modules as well as virtual

experiments in engineering science and core courses in the

three disciplines, namely electrical, civil, and mechanical

engineering. These modules serve as additional learning

tools that build on laboratory experiments performed by

engineering students. This is important, given the fact that

more than 54% of these students are in the 18-22 age range

and work between 11 and 40 hours a week, and also take

between 11 and 20 credit hours a week. When students

work more than 20 hours a week, it certainly reduces the

time they spend on campus. It is not surprising that 92%

of the students had favored some form of individual study,

although 60% of the students reported not being on campus

most of the time due to work-related activities.

Similarly, although an overwhelming 90% of the students

preferred the traditional lecture method and the live

physical laboratory demonstration, their presence in class

and laboratory is not always possible due to personal

activities outside of school. Providing additional learning

resources, and especially interactive virtual laboratory

demonstrations online, can help students be active

participants in their learning—and at a time convenient to

them. This is evident by the 88-96% of the students who

indicated their preference for computer visual or animated

or an interactive, virtual form of learning. There is no doubt

that today’s engineering students are computer-savvy upon

entry in the university (Kurtis, 2003). They use computer

technology for accessing educational resources on a daily

basis. Faculty who understand this phenomenon and modify

their teaching methodology will no doubt be helping a

significant number of students.

13 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Besides the advantages of providing additional learning

resources to students at convenient times, students can

also practice laboratory experiments as many times as

they want to in order to be familiar with engineering

concepts, theories, and functions. This certainly will add to

their understanding of a topic discussed in class, thereby

improving their learning and performance. In this study,

students in the Experimental group who had access to

the learning module, which included web resources and

the virtual experiment, showed learning gains in both test

questions and the laboratory experiment as compared to the

Control group that had no access to the learning module.

Conclusion

Overall, the results of the study clearly indicate that students

still have a high preference for class lecture and live/

physical demonstrations. However, being in a classroom and

laboratory setting for live demonstrations may not always

be possible for all students all the time, considering the

pressures of work and family life. Not surprisingly, there is

an overwhelming desire by students to have access to webbased

demonstrations and materials as additional learning

tools and resources. The students will have the opportunity

to learn and review their course materials as many times as

needed from any location of their preference. Students who

had access to the learning module showed learning gains in

both laboratory experiments and classroom tests.

References

Horton R. (1997). Challenges of delivering undergraduate

engineering programs to place-bound members of

technical workforce. Proceedings of the Frontiers in

Education Conference, Pittsburgh, PA.

Campbell, K. (1999). Promises of computer-based learning:

Designing for inclusivity. Technology and Society

Magazine, 4(8), 28-34.

Montgomery, S.M.(1995). Addressing the Variety of

Learning Styles of Chemical Engineering Students Using

Multimedia. Proceedings of the American Society for

Engineering Education Conference, Anaheim, CA.

Anwar, S., Rolle, J. & Memon, A. (2005). Use of webbased

portfolio to assess the technical competencies

of engineering technology students: A case study.

Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering

Education Conference and Exposition, Portland, OR.

Donnelly, A. E., & Hargis, J. (2001). Engineering education

and the internet: A study of the effectiveness of web

formats on student learning. Proceedings of the American

Society for Engineering Education Conference and

Exposition, Albuquerque, NM.

Campbell, D.T. & Stanley, J.C. (1966). Experimental and

Quasi-experimental Designs for Research. Chicago, IL:

Rand McNally.

Rajput, A.Q.K. (2003). E-Learning: A virtual environment

for cooperative distance learning and affordable online

education. Journal of Engineering Technology, 22(1), 57-

64.

Shaikh, M.A., Rajput, A.Q.K, & Unar, M. (2004). Virtual

reality modeling-based learning environment for teaching

mechanical skills. Journal of Engineering Technology,

2(23), 103-108.

Lumsdaine, A. (2003). Multimedia tutorial for drawing

shear and bending moment diagrams. Proceedings of the

American Society for Engineering Education Conference

and Exposition, Nashville TN.

Kurtis, P.G. (2003). Student perceptions of internet-based

learning tools in environmental engineering education.

Journal of Engineering Education, 88(3), 295-299.

Felder, R.M. (2005). Understanding student differences.

Journal of Engineering Education, 194(1), 57-72.

Hassan B. Ndahi is an associate professor

in the Department of Occupational and

Technical Studies, Darden College of

Education at Old Dominion University, in

Norfolk, VA. He can be reached via email at

hndahi@odu.edu.

Sushil Charturvedi is a professor in the

Department of Mechanical Engineering,

Batten College of Engineering and

Technology at Old Dominion University in

Norfolk, VA.

A. Osman Akan is a professor and

Associate Dean in the Department of Civil

Engineering, Batten College of Engineering

and Technology at Old Dominion

University, Norfolk, VA.

J. Worth Pickering is Director of University

Assessment at Old Dominion University,

Norfolk, VA.

14 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


The Journey Towards Technological

Literacy for All in the United States—

Are We There Yet?

By Philip A. Reed

Emerging research will

continually shape teaching and

learning, and the changing

nature of technology continually

shapes the discipline.

Anyone who has traveled with small children or

watched one of the National Lampoon Vacation

movies understands both the humor and unrelenting

nature of the question above. I pose this question

not to be amusing but rather to have the reader pause and

analyze technology education in the United States. We are

at a point where all those interested in technological literacy

must take a critical, unrelenting look at the profession’s history,

research base, and contemporary practice. This article

will discuss each of these areas to help us in our travels.

Historical Context

Reflect for a moment on the history of education in the

United States, specifically the required subject areas of

language arts/reading, mathematics, history/social science,

and science. Each of these areas became a part of general

education for very different reasons. Language arts and

reading were initially taught by many churches in order for

children to study the Bible. Mathematics and history were

endorsed in a bill introduced by Thomas Jefferson in 1778

to respectively help students “manage their affairs” and

“improve the citizens’ moral and civic virtues” (Urban &

Wagoner, 1996, p.72). Science, however, was not accepted

into the education mainstream until the strong endorsement

of the National Education Association’s (NEA) Committee

of Ten in 1893 (DeBoer, 1991).

How can technology education be recognized as a required

subject for all students? The practice of studying technology

within general education has a well-documented history

dating back to the 1870s (Anderson, 1926). Recent research

shows that the acceptance of Standards for Technological

Literacy (STL) (ITEA, 2000/2002) within state educational

frameworks has increased but also shows that technology

education is only required in twelve states (Dugger,

2007). The likelihood of a Jeffersonian-style solution à la

mathematics and social science is highly unlikely since

education is primarily a state endeavor in the United States.

Nevertheless, endorsement of STL by the National Academy

Understanding the history of the core curriculum can help guide

the technology education profession.

15 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


of Engineering (NAE) and many recent publications by the

NAE and the National Research Council (NRC) do emulate,

on some levels, the support science received from The

Committee of Ten.

The book Technically

Speaking: Why All

Americans Need to Know

More About Technology

(NAE & NRC, 2002),

for example, is a wellarticulated

argument

outlining five reasons for

the study of technology.

Benefits include

improving decision

making, increasing

citizen participation,

supporting a modern

workforce, narrowing

the digital divide,

and enhancing social

well-being. Each

of these benefits is

highlighted with examples and tied to the three dimensions

of technological literacy (Figure 1). Additional publications

from the NAE and NRC aid the research effort in

technology education.

Research Context

Shortly after the release of Standards for Technological

Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (STL) (ITEA,

2000/2002), the NRC published Investigating the Influence

of Standards: A Framework for Research in Mathematics,

Science, and Technology Education (NRC, 2002). Figure

2 illustrates the NRC model, with student learning as the

outcome. Steps in the model leading to student learning

include contextual forces, channels of influence within the

educational system, and teachers and teaching practice. A

fourteen-year review of literature shows that all of these

areas have received a considerable amount of attention,

but the level of research support in each area varies widely

(Reed, 2006).

The strong support for STL from the NAE and NRC

highlight the influence of contextual forces. Additionally,

the American Association for the Advancement of Science

(AAAS) has held several conferences on the importance of

technological literacy. Despite these efforts, there has been

little follow-up research on these efforts. How have these

efforts impacted student learning or technological literacy

in the United States? Several studies conducted by ITEA do

offer excellent data for framing the contextual forces behind

technological literacy for all (See Dugger, 2007; ITEA 2002

& 2004.)

The channels of influence outlined by the NRC (2002) have

received tremendous attention in the form of materials

development and research. The International Technology

Education Association has developed student assessment,

professional development, and program standards (ITEA,

2003) as well as model curriculum materials for elementary

through secondary education. Research in this area has been

strengthened through the Council on Technology Teacher

Education (CTTE) yearbook series. Recent yearbooks on

standards-based teacher education, instructional methods,

distance learning, and assessment help guide technology

education at all levels (see www.ctteonline.org to learn more

about the yearbook series).

The final pieces of the framework, teachers and teaching

practice and student learning, are starting to receive more

research attention in technology education. Researchers

are investigating the impact technology education has on

other subject areas (Culbertson, Daugherty, & Merrill, 2004;

Dyer, Reed, & Berry, 2006), but we must move into the area

of researching what specifically happens in the technology

Knowledge

Extensive

Limited

High

Capabilities

Low

Poorly

Developed

Highly

Developed

Ways of

Thinking and Acting

Figure 1. The three dimensions of technological literacy are interdependent.

A technologically literate person has varying levels in

each area that change over time with education and experience

(NAE & NRC, 2002, p. 15).

16 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


How has the system responded to the introduction

of nationally developed standards?

What are the

consequences for

student learning?

Contextual

Forces

• Politicians and

Policy Makers

• Public

• Business and

Industry

• Professional

Organizations

Channels of Influence

Within the Education System

Curriculum

• State, district policy decisions

• Instructional materials development

• Text, materials selection

Teacher Development

• Initial preparation

• Certification

• Professional development

Assessment and Accountability

• Accountability systems

• Classroom assessment

• State, district assessment

• College entrance, placement practices

Within the education system and in its context—

• How are nationally developed standards being received and interpreted?

• What actions have been taken in response?

• What has changed as a result?

• What components of the system have been affected and how?

Teachers

and Teaching

Practice in

classroom and

school contexts

Among teachers who

have been exposed to

nationally developed

standards—

• How have they received

and interpreted those

standards?

• What actions have they

taken in response?

• What, if anything, about

their classroom practice

has changed?

• Who has been affected

and how?

Student

Learning

Among students

who have been

exposed to

standards-based

practice—

• How have student

learning and

achievement

changed?

• Who has been

affected and how?

Figure 2. A framework for investigating the influence of nationally developed standards for mathematics, science, and technology education

(NRC, 2002, p. 90).

classroom. More importantly, we need to investigate what

students and adults learn through the study of technology.

Mathematics and science have investigated these areas for

years. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

(NCTM, 1992) and the National Science Teachers

Association (NSTA, 1994) have each published handbooks

of research in their respective fields. These comprehensive

volumes cover the history of research in each field as

well as philosophy, knowledge acquisition, curriculum,

assessment, classroom climate, cultural diversity, and many

other key areas. Many areas can be connected to technology

education (e.g., contextual learning, problem solving, and

instructional technology) but such an endeavor is needed in

technology education in order to understand what students

learn by studying technology.

The mathematics and science communities are now using

this research in the development of learning progressions.

Learning progressions are “descriptions of the successively

more sophisticated ways of thinking about topics that can

follow one another as children learn about and investigate

topics over a broad span of time (e.g., 6 to 8 years)” (NRC,

2007, p. 219). The idea is to take content standards as well

as research on teaching and learning to develop articulated

steps in the instructional and assessment processes. For

17 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


example, STL 9 states that, “Students will develop an

understanding of engineering design” (ITEA, 2000/2002, p.

99). Several benchmarks (e.g., A [Grades K–2] and C [Grades

3–5]) involve defining a problem. A learning progression in

this area would outline the steps, in increasing complexity,

that students would use in defining a problem. The idea

behind learning progressions is to reduce repetitive content

between grade levels. Learning progressions should be

written in a way to reflect that knowledge and practice

change over time. Additionally, no one learning progression

is right or wrong. Writers starting with the same research

and same standards are expected to develop different

progressions. This point is important in order that a variety

of instructional strategies and methods may be utilized.

How is this different from contemporary research-based

practice in technology education? Another parallel to the

history of science education can help clarify this question.

In 1968 Robert Mills Gagne published a curriculum titled

Science—A Process Approach: Purposes, Accomplishments,

Expectations that has been used for curricula and text

development since that time. The approach was to analyze

the processes used by scientists, break them down, and use

them to teach students (known as task analysis). The result

has been almost 40 years of instructional materials that are

not always coherent and do not factor in the key mental

models involved in learning ever-increasing scientific

content and skills (NRC, 2007). In technology education,

Harold Halfin’s 1973 dissertation, Technology: A Process

Approach, analyzed the writings of ten key technologists

(e.g., the Wright Brothers, Goodyear, Edison, Fuller, Frank

Lloyd Wright, among others) to identify the processes

of renowned technologists. He identified and outlined

seventeen processes:

• Defining the problem or opportunity operationally

• Observing

• Analyzing

• Visualizing

• Computing (applying mathematical principles)

• Communicating

• Measuring

• Predicting

• Questioning and hypothesizing

• Interpreting data

• Constructing models and prototypes

• Experimenting

• Testing

• Designing

• Modeling

• Creating

• Managing

A study has not been conducted to determine what impact,

if any, Halfin’s research has had on technology education.

As you look at the seventeen processes, however, you will

surely recognize that they are intertwined throughout

STL, textbooks, instructional materials, and contemporary

instructional practice. Incorporating these processes and the

use of the project method has been useful for engaging the

whole student and piquing his or her interest in the study

of technology. It is time, however, not to just look at the

experts but to research what is occurring to novices as they

learn about technology.

To help with this venture, we have a rich history of research

to draw upon that spans back to at least 1892 (Reed, 2000).

Additionally, new research is being outlined and conducted

to investigate technology teaching and learning. The

National Center for Engineering and Technology Education

(NCETE) has developed a framework to aid in this endeavor.

The research program consists of three main themes, each

with several subthemes:

• How and What Students Learn in Technology

Education

Subthemes: Learning and Cognition, Engineering

Processes, Creativity, Perceptions, Diversity, and

Learning Styles

• How to Best Prepare Technology Teachers

Subthemes: Teacher Education and Professional

Development, Curriculum and Instruction, Diversity,

and Change

• Assessment and Evaluation

Subthemes: Student Assessment, Teacher Assessment

The NCETE framework, like the NRC (2002) framework,

also comes with multiple research questions in each area. To

review the entire NCETE research framework, visit www.

ncete.org/flash/research.php.

A discussion about technology education research would

not be complete without mentioning the strong support of

the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the past fifteen

years. NSF helped fund the Technology for All Americans

Project (TfAAP), Engineering byDesign, the I 3 Project

(Invention, Innovation, and Inquiry), Project Probase,

and other materials-development activities. NSF supports

many projects such as the NCETE, not just materials

development. In fact, Householder (2003) identified 141

NSF projects relating to technology education. Visit www.

nsf.gov/awards/about.jsp to review recent awards

by NSF.

18 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Contemporary Practice

A great deal of NSF’s education funding in recent years

has been earmarked for science, technology, engineering,

and mathematics (STEM) initiatives. STEM is one of the

16 Career Clusters and has received an enormous amount

of attention because of the importance of STEM fields to

the national economy and global competition. The Career

Clusters were developed through years of research and

deserve our attention because they will increasingly impact

our profession in the coming years. All of the Clusters and

their 81 Pathways involve varying degrees of technological

literacy. States are beginning to use the Clusters and

Pathways as they shape curriculum, assessments,

articulation agreements, and other materials. Visit the

States’ Career Clusters website, www.careerclusters.org/, to

learn more.

Assessment and international comparisons are inevitable

as more and more attention is focused on the study of

technology. The NAE and NRC publication Tech Tally:

Approaches to Assessing Technological Literacy (2006)

reviews historical and contemporary trends and makes

recommendations on paper-and-pencil and portfolio

assessments. Figure 3 is a matrix developed by the

Committee on Assessing Technological Literacy, the

author of Tech Tally. This framework was developed to

help educators at all levels create sound assessments of

technological literacy. The three dimensions of technological

literacy outlined in Technically Speaking are represented

across the top of the matrix. Four content areas are listed

along the left side. The content areas are based on STL, with

two distinctions: first, the “understanding” and “doing” of

design is merged together as one row on the matrix (Design)

and secondly, the designed world as represented by seven

standards in STL is combined into the row titled “Products

and Systems.”

The Committee on Assessing Technological Literacy

also considered the work of the National Assessment

Governing Board (NAGP) during the creation of the

assessment framework. The NAGP has overseen the

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

since 1969 (also known as the Nation’s Report Card).

The matrix presented in Tech Tally is consistent with the

NAEP’s science and mathematics frameworks. These

interdisciplinary connections are crucial for developing

sound assessments because of the many sets of standards

that contain technology content.

Petrina & Guo (2007) provide an excellent overview on the

status of large-scale assessments of technological literacy.

In their review they discuss the two most common forms

of assessment. Large standardized assessments have

the benefits of higher reliability and validity, but more

localized assessments offer the benefits of customization,

performance assessment, and narratives. They conclude

their review by calling for a third assessment that would

incorporate the best of both present forms of assessment.

Knowledge

Cognitive Dimensions

Capabilities

Critical Thinking

and Decision Making

Technology and

Society

Content Areas

Design

Products and

Systems

Characteristics,

Core Concepts,

and Connections

Figure 3. A conceptual framework for developing technological literacy assessments (NAE & NRC, 2006, p. 53).

19 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Tech Tally offers twelve compelling

recommendations to improve the

assessment of technological literacy.

Figure 4 lists the recommendations

by population, type of action, and

actor(s). Many of the actors are large

public entities because the Committee

on Assessing Technological Literacy

realizes that technological literacy is a public good just like

traditional literacy, science literacy, civics, and numeracy.

The committee recommends, however, that individuals at

all levels need to get involved in these activities. To borrow

a phrase from the environmental movement, can you find

ways to think globally and act locally when it comes to

technological literacy assessment?

Recommendation

Target

Population

Type of Action

Actors

1 K-12 students Integrate items into existing national

assessment.

2 K-12 students Integrate items into existing international

assessments.

National Assessment Governing Board

(NAGB)

U.S. Department of Education (DoEd),

National Science Foundation (NSF)

3 K-12 students Fund sample-based studies and pilot tests. NSF

4 K-12 teachers Integrate items into existing assessments for

teacher qualifications.

5 K-12 teachers Fund development and pilot testing of

sample-based assessments.

6 Out-of-school adults Encourage or fund the integration of items

into existing assessments.

7 K-12 students Fund a synthesis study on learning processes.

States, DoEd

DoEd, NSF, States

International Technology Education

Association (ITEA), DoEd, National

Institutes of Health (NIH), NSF

NSF, DoEd

8 K-12 students

K-12 teachers

Support capacity-building efforts in learning

research.

NSF, DoEd

9 Out-of-school adults Organize an interagency initiative in learning

research.

NSF

10 K-12 students

K-12 teachers

Out-of-school adults

11 K-12 students

K-12 teachers

Out-of-school adults

12 K-12 students

K-12 teachers

Out-of-school adults

Convene a major national meeting

to explore innovative assessment methods.

Develop frameworks for assessments in the

three populations.

Broaden the definitions of technology and

technological literacy.

National Institute of Standards and

Technology

NAGB, NSF, DoEd

DoEd state education departments,

private educational testing companies,

and education-related accreditation

organizations

Figure 4. Recommendations for improving the assessment of technological literacy for K-12 students, K-12 teachers, and

out-of-school adults (NAE & NRC, 2006, p. 194).

20 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


A common point of discussion in the literature involves

another question: Is the curriculum too crowded to have all

students study technology? Technically Speaking concluded

that dedicated courses were unlikely on a large scale because

of the tight curriculum and number of teachers that would

be required (NRC, 2002). Dedicated courses have been the

model for secondary technology education, and it is too

early to determine if the projection in Technically Speaking

is accurate. However, there are two points to consider when

reflecting on this issue.

First, consider the proliferation of technology as an

integrated subject within the elementary school over the

past decade. ITEA’s Technology Education for Children

Council (TECC) offers a dynamic conference program and

journal, Technology and Children. In Virginia, the Children’s

Engineering Convention (CEC), which is focused on

elementary education, is now larger than the annual Virginia

Technology Education Association (VTEA) conference.

To learn more about the CEC, visit www.vtea.org/ESTE/

convention/.

A second idea posed by Lewis & Zuga (2005) has interesting

implications for the study of technology at all levels. Their

approach advocates studying the knowledge of technology

through language. We all know that technology has a

language of its own, but Lewis & Zuga (2005) make a

convincing argument that the study of language and the

study of technology have a symbiotic relationship. It is

easy to see the merit behind this idea considering how the

industrial revolution completely shaped modern English,

and now modern technologies (e.g., email, text messaging)

are reshaping our language yet again.

Discussion

The intent of this article is to take a look in the rearview

mirror and check our GPS navigation system to determine

if technology education is getting close to the destination

of technological literacy for all in the United States. The

answer is a very optimistic “no” for several reasons. Just

as Petrina & Guo (2007) concluded that we will never

find the Holy Grail when it comes to assessment (e.g., one

assessment), we can never have technological literacy for

all by virtue of the educational enterprise and the field

itself. In other words, emerging research will continually

shape teaching and learning, and the changing nature of

technology continually shapes the discipline.

A second meaning implied in the goal of technological

literacy for all is that of a required course of study for all

students. Hopefully the history, research, and practices

outlined in this article will facilitate professional dialogue

and, more importantly, action towards this end. After all, the

weather is looking better all the time for this trip.

References

Anderson, L. F. (1926). History of manual and industrial

school education. New York, NY: D. Appleton and

Company.

Culbertson, C., Daugherty, M., & Merrill, C. (2004). Effects

of modular technology education on junior high students’

achievement scores. Journal of Technology Education,

16(1), 7-20.

DeBoer, G. E. (1991). A history of ideas in science education:

Implications for practice. New York, NY: Teachers College

Press.

Dugger, W. E. (2007). The status of technology education in

the United States: A triennial report of the findings from

the states. The Technology Teacher, 67(1), 14-21.

Dyer, R., Reed, P. A., & Berry, R. (2006). Investigating the

relationship between high school technology education

and test scores in Algebra I and Geometry. Journal of

Technology Education, 17(2), 6-16.

Householder, D. (2003). National Science Foundation

projects: A selected listing for technology educators.

Paper presented at the 66 th annual conference of the

International Technology Education Association,

Albuquerque, NM.

International Technology Education Association (ITEA).

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

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

International Technology Education Association (ITEA).

(2002). ITEA/Gallup Poll reveals what Americans think

about technology. The Technology Teacher, 61(6).

International Technology Education Association (ITEA).

(2003). Advancing excellence in technological literacy:

Student assessment, professional development, and

program standards. Reston, VA: Author.

International Technology Education Association (ITEA).

(2004). The second installment of the ITEA/Gallup poll

and what it reveals as to how Americans think about

technology. Reston, VA: Author.

Lewis, T. & Zuga, K. F. (2005). A conceptual framework

of ideas and issues in technology education. Retrieved

August 22, 2007 from www.teched.vt.edu/ctte/HTML/

Research1.html.

National Academy of Engineering (NAE) & National

Research Council (NRC). (2006). Tech tally: Approaches

to assessing technological literacy. Washington, DC:

National Academies Press.

National Academy of Engineering (NAE) & National

Research Council (NRC). (2002). Technically speaking:

21 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Why all Americans need to know more about technology.

Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM,

1992). Handbook of research on mathematics teaching

and learning. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing

Company.

National Research Council (NRC). (2007). Taking science

to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K-8.

Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

National Research Council (NRC). (2002). Investigating

the influence of standards: A framework for research

in mathematics, science, and technology education.

Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA, 1994).

Handbook of research on science teaching and learning.

New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Petrina, S. & Guo, R. X. (2007). Developing a large-scale

assessment of technological literacy. In Hoepfl, M.

& Lindstrom, M. R. (Eds.). Assessment of technology

education. Woodland Hills, CA: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.

Reed, P.A. (2006). What do we value? Research on technology

education problems, issues, and standards in the United

States. Paper presented at the 4th Biennial Technology

Education Research Conference. Surfer’s Paradise,

Australia.

Reed, P. A. (Ed.). (2001). The technology education graduate

research database: 1892-2000. Council on Technology

Teacher Education (CTTE) Monograph #17. Retrieved

August 22, 2007 from www.ctteonline.org/publications/

monographs.htm.

Urban, W. & Wagoner, J. (1996). American education: A

history. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies,

Inc.

Philip A. Reed, Ph.D. is an associate

professor in the Darden College of Education

at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.

He can be reached via email at preed@odu.

edu.

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22 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Getting to the Center of a Tootsie Roll Pop®

By Brian Lien

Engineers have seen the lab

and think it looks like a great

way to discover the concepts of

mechanical engineering.

Princeton High School is a relatively large, urban,

four-year comprehensive high school that serves

approximately 2,000 students in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Academic offerings include, among others, the

International Baccalaureate program, technology, business,

and general studies. Approximately 82% of the graduates

attend college, with 60% going to four-year schools and 22%

enrolling in two-year/technical schools.

Before utilizing the “Tootsie Pop® Challenge” in a new

engineering class next year, I tested it with four engineering

drafting students. It was quite successful, and the students

had a great time.

Overview

Students are assigned the task of helping the Tootsie Roll

Company to answer the age old question—how many licks

does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop®? Students

can use any means available to complete the challenge,

including viewing the following Tootsie Roll®-related websites

at www.tootsie.com/howmany-sb.html and www.tootsie.com/

memoriesLicksMachine.html.

Students display their lollipop-testing machine. This machine

tested 530 licks on average to get to the center—when the

chocolate becomes visible.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie

Roll Pop®? This was the question I posed to my engineering

drafting class. None of the students had ever worked on a

problem-solving activity like this. They all planned to go

into engineering at the university level next year and wanted

a challenging project that was not drafting-related.

23 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


The original idea came from a cooking show, but I wanted

to make a lab out of it. The first step was to ask the students

to do some research to determine if an answer even existed.

After consulting the Tootsie Roll® website, they discovered that

engineering students at Purdue University had worked on the

problem. They saw an example of the machine used by the

Purdue students, and then began the design process, working

on a solution of their own.

Engineering Discipline(s)

Since my students had no experience with different

engineering fields, I explained to them they would be

working on the study of mechanical engineering. One

of my first tasks was to teach them about gears and gear

ratios. Your students may also discover the involvement of

some chemical engineering. As the Tootsie Roll Pop® gets

smaller, you will need to figure out, “why?” If your results

are anything like ours, the sugar buildup on the “tongue”

material will become saturated and then the design may

begin to fail, necessitating a project redesign.

Standards

For this lab, I found that we used the following STL standards:

1. Students will develop an understanding of the attributes

of design. (Standard 8)

a. The design process includes defining a problem,

brainstorming, researching ideas, identifying criteria

and specifying constraints, exploring possibilities,

selecting an approach, developing a design proposal,

making a model or prototype, testing and evaluating

the design using specifications, refining the design,

creating or making it, and communicating the process

and results. (Benchmark H)

b. Design problems are seldom presented in a clearly

defined form. (Benchmark I)

c. The design needs to be continually checked and critiqued,

and the ideas of the design must be redefined

and improved. (Benchmark J)

d. Requirements of a design, such as criteria, constraints,

and efficiency, sometimes compete with each other.

(Benchmark K)

2. Students will develop an understanding of engineering

design. (Standard 9)

a. Engineering design is influenced by personal characteristics,

such as creativity, resourcefulness, and the

ability to visualize and think abstractly. (Benchmark J)

b. A prototype is a working model used to test a design

concept by making actual observations and necessary

adjustments. (Benchmark K)

c. The process of engineering design takes into account a

number of factors. (Benchmark L)

3. Students will develop abilities to apply the design process.

(Standard 11)

a. Identify the design problem to solve and decide

whether or not to address it. (Benchmark M)

b. Identify criteria and constraints and determine how

these will affect the design process. (Benchmark N)

c. Refine a design by using prototypes and modeling to

ensure quality, efficiency, and productivity of the final

product. (Benchmark O)

d. Evaluate the design solution using conceptual, physical,

and mathematical models at various intervals of

the design process in order to check for proper design

and to note areas where improvements are needed.

(Benchmark P)

e. Develop and produce a product or system using a

design process. (Benchmark Q)

f. Evaluate final solutions and communicate observation,

processes, and results of the entire design process,

using verbal, graphic, quantitative, virtual, and written

means, in addition to three-dimensional models.

Lab Objectives:

1. You will be able to build a machine that will answer the

question from above.

2. You will be able to explain how gear ratios work and why

that is important for this lab.

3. You will be able to explain how the Tootsie Roll Pop® got

smaller. Was it friction, dissolving product, etc?

4. You need to write up your conclusions in a paragraph.

You must use data from at least three or more test runs of

your machine.

Two students make final revisions to their lollipop-testing machine.

24 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


and the scrap wood I gave them. After inventorying the

available materials, students realized they would have to

refine their sketches. Once they had an idea they thought

would work, they began making a prototype. This stage

took the longest. None of them had ever worked with saws

or drills, which meant that it was necessary for me to teach

them tool safety before allowing them to work with the tools

to finish their prototype.

Final design for a testing machine. This machine took 1,200 licks

on average to get to the center of the lollipop.

5. You must keep a log of your time spent on each part of

the design process.

6. Write a conclusion and evaluation of your end product.

Teacher Preparation

The amount of preparation depends upon the labs you have.

I had to gather material and machines the students would

need to solve the problem. I did not want my students

gathering stuff for this lab. However, if you are incorporating

this into a class that involved this type of work, your

students could gather materials on their own or from your

classroom supplies. I used the gears from the materials

provided in the Society of Automotive Engineers’ A World

in Motion II Design Challenge 2. Other materials you will

need are: materials the students can use for “tongues” like

sponges or paper towels, scrap wood for the frame of the

project, small fasteners, and, of course, plenty of Tootsie

Roll Pops®.

After you or your students have the materials, you must

teach the design process. My students knew nothing about

the design process, so I introduced the problem to them and

gave them the problem statement, “How many licks does it

take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop®?” Once they

understood what the problem was, they began investigating

previous attempts to solve the problem. This is where they

found out what other schools had done. They also found

solutions to the problem on the Tootsie Roll® website.

The students began to formulate their own solutions based

on the materials they had to use. They began with sketches,

and then started to rough out their solutions using the parts

Lastly, students tested and evaluated the product. Both

groups found flaws in their designs and had to modify at

least twice from what they thought would be their final

design. Once they had a good working model, they tested

the solution to the problem. One group found out that it

took about 535 licks, and the other group found out it took

1200 licks. After they did their testing I brought both groups

together to see why there was such a large difference in the

data. They discovered that the licking surface area of the two

devices was very different. One had a large area, while the

other was barely making contact with the Tootsie Roll Pop®.

This prompted the engineering students to try to figure out

the mathematical difference in the surface area of the tongue

from one group to the other. The final step was to write up

the lab and discuss their findings.

Content Outline

The content outline is intended to organize teaching strategies

to allow students to reach an intended outcome. This

is the information I wanted my students to be able to do.

A. Impacts of products/systems

1. Collection of information

a. The students must test the machine at least three

times and keep the results in a chart form. They

should keep the Tootsie Roll Pops® after they are

finished so the teacher can take pictures of them and

then measure the diameter of each Pop to see if there

are any differences.

2. Evaluation of collected information

a. Students are to write a paragraph about how they

think the Tootsie Roll Pop® got smaller. Was it

dissolved by the water, friction from the tongue, and

the Pop? If there were differences, why?

b. They must keep a log of the design process. They must

include who is doing what and for what period of time.

c. Students must write an evaluation of their design and

what they might do differently if they reworked the

solution again.

25 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Activities/Case Studies

This is the first time I have tried this lab. The final

determination of the lab design is up to each group of two

students. They must look at their research and then discuss

how they are going to build the lab.

Brian Lien is a technology teacher at

Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

He can be reached via email at blien@

princeton.k12.oh.us.

The actual time to make the project and test the

machine was two weeks. I had another group of

students from a different class at the same time. It

could probably be done in as few as five to seven

days if enough dedicated time was available.

Assessment

Following completion of the lab class work,

students should assess their work. This

assessment will be based on the successful

completion of building the machine and the

write-up of the lab. They must include the

data from at least three tests as well as their

conclusion as to what process or processes made

the candy disappear. They must also include an

explanation of how they followed the design

process and what each partner did during each

part of the process. Finally, there must be a

summary of the process, problems encountered,

and what they would do again if they had a

chance to rework the process.

My students had a great time designing this

project, and I have taken the two machines to two

different exhibits. Engineers have seen the lab

and think it looks like a great way to discover the

concepts of mechanical engineering.

Resources

International Technology Education Association

(ITEA). (2000/2002). Standards for technological

literacy: Content for the study of technology.

Reston, VA: Author.

This lesson plan layout came from: http://

imagine101.com/. Once you are there, navigate

your way to http://imagine101.com/lesson-short.

doc.

www.tootsie.com/howmany-sb.html and http://

www.tootsie.com/memoriesLicksMachine.html

Pictures of previous attempts—both successful

and unsuccessful.

www.howstuffworks.com/gear.htm

A website about how gears work.

26 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


The Space Place

Designing for the Barely

Imaginable

By Diane Fisher

What is the weirdest, most alien,

eye-popping, nose-shocking,

skin-crawling place you can

think of?

Ponder these destinations:

1. Clouds rain gasoline, forming

huge lakes.

2. Volcanoes spew red-hot lava

and the sky is full of poisonous

sulfur gas.

3. As far as you can see in all directions is bright white ice,

broken only by dark, rough rivers of more ice.

4. It is far colder than Earth’s South Pole all the time.

5. It’s hot enough to melt lead, and the atmosphere weighs

down on you as if you were diving far beneath the ocean’s

surface.

These would not be healthy places for humans or just about

any other Earthlings.

But, believe it or not, all these environments are real places

in our own solar system.

They are, in order . . .

1. Titan (moon of Saturn)

2. Io (moon of Jupiter)

3. Europa (moon of Jupiter)

4. Mars, Pluto, and most places in the solar system

5. Venus

technological “spies” to investigate, and they have faithfully

reported back their often surprising findings.

Build ‘em Tough

We have sent light sensors, image makers, rock sniffers,

matter analyzers, magnetic field sensors, temperature

detectors, particle counters, pressure indicators, and sample

collectors. These instruments, for the most part, have given

us information that even our own five senses would not

be able to tell us had we gone to these places personally—

that is, if we could survive and operate in these harsh

surroundings, which we couldn’t.

All the instruments we have sent into space were designed

and built especially to operate in these harsh, alien

environments. They are tough enough to withstand huge

temperature extremes, intense radiation, and the vacuum

of space. They are sturdy enough to withstand the bonerattling

vibration of being blasted off the surface of Earth on

a rocket.

How do NASA engineers know what kinds of planetary

instruments to develop in the first place? Well, they ask.

What do scientists want to know about space and about

alien worlds? And, once engineers know the questions

to be answered, they use their know-how, ingenuity, and

imaginations to come up with the kind of “sense enhancer”

that will get the right kind of information and be tough

enough to survive its task.

No person has ever visited any of these places. Then how

do we know what they are like? Because we have sent our

27 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Expanding Our Senses

Here on Earth, we ordinarily get our information through

our five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and

touching. The instruments that give us information about

other worlds are, in a way, like our five senses, greatly

enhanced and made quite portable and autonomous. One

way to classify scientific instruments is by which sense

they are most like. Table one describes some examples of

instruments that are a bit like our eyes, ears, noses, tasting

tongues, and touching fingers.

Design an Alien World

Here is a space mission design activity your whole class

can do.

1. Divide the class into groups of three or four students.

2. In each group, one person is the recorder, ready with

paper and pencil.

3. Now, in each group, use your imaginations to create an

alien world. Brainstorm! Your world can be a planet, a

moon, or even an asteroid. Throw out wild ideas. The

recorder, in addition to offering his or her own ideas, will

write down everybody’s ideas as they come up.

It may be tempting to populate your world with strange,

intelligent creatures and maybe even civilizations.

However, for simplicity, stick to worlds with either no life

forms or only very primitive ones (like bacteria or onecelled

plants).

And don’t forget to give your world a name!

You could ask yourselves some of the questions below to get

your imagination going.

a. Does the world have a solid surface, or is it a gas ball

like Jupiter and Saturn?

b. How bright and what color is your world?

c. What is the material covering the surface?

d. Is there water on your world?

e. If so, is it frozen, liquid, or vapor? And where is the

water?

f. What is the surface texture like? (smooth, cracked,

cratered, mountainous, hilly, unusual formations, etc.)

g. How hot or cold is the surface?

h. How much does the temperature differ on the day

and night sides?

i. Does it have seasons?

j. Is there an atmosphere?

k. What kind of gases are in the atmosphere?

l. Are there clouds?

m. Is the surface hard packed or loose and dusty?

n. Is the same material under the surface as on top?

o. Does it have a magnetic field?

p. What is in the sky? One sun? Two? Any moons?

q. If your world is a moon of a bigger planet, what does

the planet look like in the sky?

4. The recorder will now make a legible listing or narrative

description of the agreed-upon characteristics of your

imaginary world, including its name! Someone may even

make a cool sci-fi drawing of it.

Describe Your Alien World

5. Now, pick one person to represent the group. This person

will describe the world you have designed to the rest of

the class.

6. Once all the groups have shared their “designs,” swap

worlds! Pass your group’s description to another group.

Design and Conduct a Space Mission

7. Put yourselves in the place of a team of scientists

(including different kinds of scientists, such as

astronomers, planetary geologists, or atmospheric

chemists) from Earth who would like to learn more about

this newly discovered world.

Use Table 2 at the end of this article as a guide for how to

design and describe your mission of discovery.

a. First, ask yourselves “What do we already know?”

Select one or two questions from the list above to

which you already know the answers.

b. Now, what do you want to know? Pick three to five

questions from the list above. Then think about

which type of instrument(s) (Table 1) would help you

find out the answers to these questions.

c. What would be the best type of mission that could

use these instruments to answer these questions?

• An orbiter that goes around and around a planet or

moon, studying it for several months or years?

• A lander, such as the Mars Rovers, that will explore

the surface?

• A flyby spacecraft that will study the planet or

moon for just a few days as it passes, perhaps on to

several more “flyby” destinations?

• A ground penetrator that burrows or drills under

the surface?

• Something else?

d. Now, assume the mission is accomplished. What did

you learn?

e. What didn’t you learn? Did the answers to the

original questions bring up more questions? (This

often happens in science!)

28 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Table 1. Kinds of planetary science “sensing” instruments

Viewers (“eyes”)

For example, imagers, infrared radiometers

These would include any kind of imagers (sort of like fancy

cameras) that detect light, including light our eyes cannot see,

such as infrared and ultraviolet light. Imagers tell us about surface

brightness, color, shape (topography), and texture.

One type of imager, an infrared radiometer, can measure the

temperature of a surface based on how much infrared light (which

we cannot see, but rather feel as heat) is being emitted.

Listeners (“ears”)

For example, sounding radar (or sounders), imaging radar, profiling

radar

There’s no sound in space, unless there’s an atmosphere to conduct

the sound waves. But instruments called sounders or radars do

listen, in a way. Sounders and imaging or profiling radars riding

on a spacecraft transmit radio waves downward and then “listen”

for echoes as the waves bounce off the clouds or surface, or even

penetrate beneath the surface. These “listeners” can measure

distances to different parts of the surface or heights of clouds based

on the strength of the echo or how long it takes to “hear” the echo.

Thus, sounder and radar data can be used to make 3-D maps of

the surface as the spacecraft passes over it. Profiling radar can also

measure depths of clouds, and sounders can measure depths of ice

layers or layers of different materials below the surface.

Sniffers (“noses”)

For example, spectrometers

Your nose detects even tiny amounts of substances in the air. A spectrometer,

although it works more like an imager than a “sniffer,” can analyze the

composition of a gas, a liquid, or a solid.

Here’s how: Light travels in waves. Light is a combination of many different

wavelengths, or colors. Combined, they make white light. If you shine light

through a gas (such as water vapor), the gas will absorb some wavelengths

(colors) of the light and let others pass through, depending on the gas. Each

substance has a unique “fingerprint.”

An absorption spectrometer separates the wavelengths of light (as a prism)

that has passed through a gas, making a kind of rainbow. The spectrometer

then detects which wavelengths are missing. They are missing because they

were absorbed by the gas they passed through. The spectrometer matches

this pattern of missing wavelengths, or “fingerprint,” with those of known

substances, thus identifying the unknown gas.

An emission spectrometer analyzes the light coming from (being emitted by) a source, such as a star, and identifies

the source material (that is, what is burning or glowing) by the wavelengths (colors) of light it emits.

Tasters (“tongues”)

For example, x-ray spectrometers

Your tongue works with your nose to identify what you are eating or drinking.

So, spectrometers might also be considered tasters, since they can analyze

what’s in a substance that has emitted light or a substance that light has

passed through. Other special x-ray spectrometers can directly bombard with

x-rays solid things, such as rocks, and then detect the rock’s composition

based on the energy “fingerprint” that echoes back into the instrument. In

this pictured model of the Pathfinder “Sojourner” rover that explored Mars in

1997, the x-ray spectrometer is helping Sojourner “taste” a rock.

29 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Table 1. (Continued)

Feelers (“fingers”)

Examples are drillers, scrapers, corers, sample collectors, rock crushers, ice scrapers, particle detectors

If you wanted to know about a substance, you would probably touch it directly. You would feel its texture,

hardness, temperature, wetness, etc. “Feeler” instruments might be mechanical devices such as drillers or scrapers

or corers. Or, maybe even rock crushers to find out how hard the material is and get it ready for the spectrometer

(sniffer/taster) to analyze it. This sequence of pictures shows a rock (of Earthly origins) being crushed for analysis

by a spectrometer.

Other types of “feelers” are sample collectors (as if they are grabbing or

trapping something with their hands) or particle or dust detectors (which

sense when, say, an electrically charged particle strikes a surface, or the

instrument’s “skin”). This picture shows how a human-made substance called

“aerogel” can trap particles for later analysis.

“Sixth” sensors

An example is a magnetometer.

Some scientific instruments directly detect things that none of our

five senses can detect. Magnetic fields fall into this category (although

some birds and other animals may sense Earth’s magnetic field and use

it to navigate). If not for a compass, we humans might not know about

Earth’s magnetic lines of force. An instrument that detects and measures

magnetic fields is called a magnetometer. As on the Voyager spacecraft in

this picture, a magnetometer is often placed at the end of a long boom so

magnetic fields from the spacecraft itself do not interfere.

f. What would be a good follow-up mission for the

future?

8. Get together as a whole class again, and have someone

from each group present your team’s space science

mission, its findings, and what kind of mission should be

done next.

New Instruments for New Worlds

The worlds that nature has made may be even stranger than

anything your imagination can dream up. It is important for

NASA to keep developing new instrument technologies so

that missions of exploration can gather information never

before captured and in places never before visited.

NASA’s Planetary Instrument Definition and Development

(PIDD) Program has the job of picking and developing likely

technologies that will help scientists to learn new things

from future missions to explore the solar system. Some of

the instruments are meant to be part of a spacecraft that will

orbit or fly by a planet or moon or asteroid. Some are meant

to be part of a spacecraft that will land on the surface of a

mysterious world or penetrate beneath the surface.

Developing a scientific instrument technology is, in a way,

a mission on its own. Besides coming up with an idea, or

a “new and improved” idea, for gathering needed science

information, engineers try to make the technology as small,

power-efficient, and low cost as possible. With computers

and electronics shrinking in size and growing in capability

all the time, spacecraft can be smaller and, therefore, less

expensive to build and

launch. But that means

everything else that goes into

the spacecraft, including the

science instruments that are

the “payload,” must shrink

too.

Here are some of the new

instruments and technologies

the PIDD Program has

developed so far:

Ice penetrating radar: Could

be used on a mission to

30 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Jupiter’s moon Europa, as shown in the artist’s rendering, to

find out the depth of the ice covering the surface and learn

whether a liquid ocean lies below it.

Rock crusher and sorter: Could be used to prepare a rock

or a core sample of the ground (drilled out by a different

instrument), crushing it into fine particles for an x-ray

spectrometer to analyze. Table 1 showed this instrument

under “feelers.”

New Aerogels: Aerogel is the lightest solid material ever

made. It is 99.9% air. So far, the only material used for the

other .1% has been silicate, which is like sand. This aerogel

material was used by the Stardust mission to capture

comet particles and return them to Earth for analysis. The

trouble is, some of the comet particles were very similar

to silicate and therefore hard to separate from the aerogel.

So the PIDD program is developing some aerogels made of

different materials not likely to be found in such samples.

Table 2. Summary of a mission to an alien world

Name of Mission:

Destination (name of planet,

moon, asteroid, etc.):

Known characteristics of

destination:

Questions (3 to 5) to be

answered, plus science

instrument needed for each

investigation:

1.

2.

Question:

Instrument:

Question:

Instrument:

Question:

Instrument:

The photo above shows samples of some new aerogels under

development.

Imaging spectrometer: This is a special instrument that

can take a picture of something and analyze what substances

are in it at the same time. This instrument has already found

a use right here on Earth in diagnosing human eye disease.

Without engineers working hard on these new kinds of

instruments for planetary exploration, our knowledge and

understanding of the solar system—and all the other solar

systems out there—could not advance.

You can read about another new kind of spectrometer that

uses a laser and find out how laser light is different from

ordinary light. Visit http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/kids/

laser.

Type of Mission:

What we learned:

What we didn’t learn:

Proposal for a future mission?

l Orbiter

l Lander

l Flyby

l Other

If “other,” describe.

This article was written by Diane Fisher, writer and

designer of The Space Place website at spaceplace.nasa.

gov. The article was provided through the courtesy of the Jet

Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology,

Pasadena, California, under a contract with the National

Aeronautics and Space Administration.

31 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Classroom Challenge

The “No Trucks” Design

Challenge

By Harry T. Roman

Encourage your students to dream

first and challenge the boundaries

before they settle down to developing

a single idea.

Introduction

This activity is certainly multi-dimensional and likely to

cause some interesting reactions among students. It deals

with a transportation system, and changing it, so a certain

class of vehicle is literally removed from the roadways.

Large tractor-trailers have a reputation of being involved in

rather horrific accidents, often involving death and carnage

among smaller passenger vehicles. The giant rigs, according

to some transportation experts, may have outlived their

usefulness on crowded highways, and perhaps it is time we

rethink their presence on the America roadways.

The Challenge

The job of your students is to create unique new ways to

move the goods that are now moved via automotive tractortrailers.

And in this endeavor, the students may not develop

ideas where conventional tractor-trailer containerized

trailers are delivered in any way over the existing highway

system. This cargo cannot be simply loaded onto another

class of highway vehicle. They may not add more containerized

cargo to the railroads either.

Large tractor-trailers may have outlived their usefulness on

crowded highways.

They must develop a completely new way to move truck

cargo. They are free to pursue any other alternatives they

wish. This challenge is completely open-ended, with just the

constraints mentioned above.

Getting Started

In developing their ideas, students should be mindful of how

their new routes for transporting large amounts of goods

may affect:

• Environment

• Air quality

• Land use

• Communities

• Cost to the consumer and businesses

• Human safety

• Existing infrastructures like bridges, pipelines, power

lines…etc.

32 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Students should be encouraged to work in teams on this

design challenge and develop a variety of alternative ways

to move the goods, and then choose the one(s) that seem to

best minimize impact on the parameters listed above.

It would be most helpful for students to consider the use of

aerial maps, plot plans, and perhaps even GPS-type maps to

plan out alternate ways to move the goods to customer locations.

How do they know where the goods need to be delivered?

How can they identify other land routes for this cargo?

Does it have to be limited to land routes? What other kinds

of routes and rights-of-way already exist that may be built

upon or used to deliver cargo and get it off the highways?

The students might find it helpful, if time permits, to

research this issue or to discuss the problem with highway

planners, local city planners, businesses, and storeowners.

Perhaps they should be surveyed to obtain some of their

ideas and thoughts. It might be possible to consider a whole

new type of infrastructure that is dedicated to moving goods

and services to densely populated areas directly without the

need for roadways, conventional railroads, and large trucks.

Another thing to keep in mind: If the students can conceive

of ways to bulk-deliver the goods to cities, how would the

goods make their way to customers who may live in suburban/rural

areas?

This certainly raises the question of how such a new infrastructure

would be built and financed…and then integrated

into an already densely populated area like a city surrounded

by mature suburban communities. This challenge is not unlike

the situation where urban renewal brings in a completely

new concept for land use, something local citizens have

never seen before in their community. Might there be some

insight to be gained by having representatives from your local

community stop by and talk to your class about how past

large-scale projects have been handled in the community?

Don’t forget the

impacts on the

trucking and transportation

industry.

How do utility companies create new corridors for

electric power through existing communities?

Your local electric utility company is also involved in these

kinds of problems. How do you think they plan to put a new

high-voltage transmission line through many communities

when they need to make new corridors for electric power

delivery? Do they put the lines on those big steel towers

or do they bury them underground? This seems similar to

the kind of problem your students are facing in this design

challenge. Utilities have a long record of working with teachers

and schools, with many of their engineers often visiting

classrooms and schools to discuss a wide variety of subjects.

Perhaps you can give your local utility a call to find out if

someone can speak to your students. Also worth looking

into are other utility-type organizations like water companies,

sewer companies, natural gas utilities, and telephone

companies.

Here is one to think about—how do oil companies locate the

routes for oil pipelines? There must be some information

there of use to your students.

And don’t forget the obvious. How are new roads themselves

planned and routed through communities? What are

the concerns, impacts, and issues that need to be dealt with?

Lots of good information is here to help move this project

along and get those creative juices flowing.

Don’t forget the impacts on the trucking and transportation

industry. What happens here? How do their workers and

industry transition during this changeover to a new way to

move bulk cargo?

This a very interesting design challenge, and likely to generate

some fascinating ideas. Encourage your students to

dream first and challenge the boundaries before they settle

down to developing a single idea. And make sure they think

in three-dimensional space as well.

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 htroman49@

aol.com.

33 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Model Program:

Conestoga Valley School District, PA

Submitted by Len S. Litowitz

Gary Landis is in his 36 th and final year as a teacher and

program supervisor for technology education in the

Conestoga Valley School District. The district earned

a High School Program Excellence Award from ITEA

in 2003 and a Middle School Program Excellence Award

in 2007. During that time Mr. Landis and his colleagues

have expanded curriculum, staff, and facilities at a time

when many other programs have leveled off or contracted.

With that in mind, Mr. Landis reflected on all that has

gone right at CV over the course of his career during this

interview.

About the District

The Conestoga Valley School District is located in historic

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The district covers 56

square miles comprising a population of approximately

29,000 people in an area that is best described as agricultural

and rural-residential. Situated near the heart of

Pennsylvania Dutch country, the district included the only

publicly funded Amish school in the country for many

years. Conestoga Valley High School graduates between 250

and 300 students yearly. The district employs two full-time

technology teachers at its middle school and seven full-time

technology teachers at its high school including Mr. Landis,

who has release time for program supervision.

The “Big Picture” Look at Technology Education

The goals of the Conestoga Valley Technology Education

Department are to provide all students with:

1. The technology skills they need to be technologically

literate.

A CV technology classroom.

2. The ability to make smart career choices.

3. A solid preparation for post-secondary schooling or for

the world of work.

4. The knowledge and skill to perform well on standardized

assessments.

One element that has helped to improve the growth and

image of the program at CV is a five-year curriculum review

cycle to determine if state standards are being met. This

review is conducted by a joint committee made up of technology

education faculty, district students, local industry

representatives, and members of the community. A full report

is provided by the committee to the school board. Using

the findings of the curriculum review, recommendations

for changes to the curriculum and course offerings are made

in the third year of each five-year cycle. Another unique

34 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


the program can offer so many courses is that each course

is only nine weeks long. This allows for a greater variety of

technology education offerings than traditional half-year

courses. Course subjects range from those traditionally associated

with the field of technology education to many contemporary

offerings such as Engineering, Aviation, Control

& Power Technology, and three levels of videography. Even

those courses with traditional titles have moved toward

contemporary content. For instance, traditional materials

courses include CNC experiences, tours of local industry,

and estimating skills. Teachers also include related reading

and math content in an effort to help students’ performance

on state-mandated tests.

CV offers three levels of videography.

element of the Conestoga Valley curriculum is that it has

shifted from a teacher-centered methodology to a studentcentered

methodology over time. This change is in keeping

with current literature about preparing students for future

employment. An example of this change would be dividing

topics in the electronics curriculum into three different

units and then preparing instructional materials, supplies,

website resources, videos, etc. for inclusion into various instruction

manuals that clearly direct the students’ research,

reading, and activities. Students in groups of two are assigned

to one of the three units. At the end of the “module”

students may be asked to make a class presentation or write

a summary of their experiences. Students then rotate to a

new unit and repeat the technology learning activities. This

approach is a slight modification to the “turn key” modular

approach used by many vendors. In this lab the instructor

facilitates learning in three different units with perhaps

three or four groups in each unit at the same time.

Course Offerings

The technology education program offerings within the

Conestoga Valley School District are varied and extensive.

Descriptions are provided for a few of the courses that are

more unique to the district. Technology education at CV

begins with required coursework for all students at the

middle school level, a state requirement in Pennsylvania,

and continues throughout the high school years. In ninth

grade a General Technology Education course is taken by

all students within the district. A description of this course

follows. Note within the description that this course can

be taken for honors credit as well. Beyond the ninth grade

required course, approximately 30 additional courses are offered

by the department at the high school level. One reason

Conestoga Valley Middle School

Grade 7: Technology Education

Technology education is required of all students. Basic skills

instruction in materials production, engineering, drafting/

CADD, and technology education (including 12 different

technologies in a module lab such as—Lasers, Construction,

Digital Video, Control Tech, Robotics, Aviation, Biotechnology)

are presented. Technology education is taught every

other day for one semester (three 40-minute periods per

cycle for one half-year semester).

Grade 8: Technology Education (elective)

Technology education is available to all students on an elective

basis. Additional study in areas of interest in the module

lab, CAD, and materials lab is available. All students participate

in a Technology/Math/Science integrated boat-building

A student learns about digital photography.

35 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Technology Learning Activity (TLA) activity as well (three

40-minute periods per cycle, one year).

Conestoga Valley High School

Grade 9: General Technology Education (required for all

9 th grade students.)

This course is required of all ninth grade students and

includes studies in three different areas, each lasting onethird

of the time. Studies are in energy, graphics, power

and transportation, and include projects in aerodynamics,

power, electronics, and MAGLEV. Career Development/

Exploration is also part of this class. Earned Honors credit is

available.

Ninth graders study transportation.

A programmable logic controller.

Grades 10 -12: (elective courses)

• CADD 1 Technology

• CADD 2 Technology

• Advanced CADD Technology

• Architectural CADD

• Electronics Technology 1

• Electronics Technology 2

• Control & Power Technology

This nine-week course is designed to give students a basic

knowledge of man’s prime movers, the power and force

behind all that is done, including how they work and

the problems frequently involved. Students interested in

mechanics or engineering will be introduced to power, its

generation, control, and transfer. Students will understand

how power is applied in today’s ever-changing world.

Units covered include: harnessing energy for work, mechanical

power, fluid power (principles and theory), fluid

power systems, electrical power systems, the energy man

uses, controlling energy for power, small engines, and automotive

technology. Practical experience: small engines

and experimental projects, as facilities permit. This class

includes various field trips to relate subject matter to realwork

application.

• Engineering/Applied Technology 1

This nine-week course is primarily a hands-on problemsolving

course. Students will work in groups, as well as

individually, to design and build a variety of projects that

include motors, gears, structural engineering, computer

control, etc. This is an excellent course for students who

like to let their hands work through their minds to solve

problems. Many of the challenges will incorporate classroom

competitions, as well as possible state and national

competition. This course is designed to educate students

on what exactly engineering is and how the system by

which everything in the world is made works.

• Engineering/Applied Technology 2

• Aerospace Technology

• Aviation Technology

This nine-week course will explore the history of man’s

desire to fly and the technology used to accomplish it. The

course will look at the aspects of flight from lighter-thanair

aircraft to the jet age. The class is about 50% classroom

time and 50% lab time. Some lab time will be spent on

required experimentation and problem solving. Other

project assignments will include dirigibles, model air-

36 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


planes, work on a full-size airplane, and a variety of other

projects. Some flight training is done on a simulator, and

there may be an opportunity to fly a plane. Studies will include

basic flight principles, airplane instruments, reading

aeronautical charts, and planning a flight course. Courses

will include reading and writing assignments, computer

use, and problem solving. Students will be expected to

adhere to required safety rules and pay for materials used

in the course.

• Graphics Technology 1

• Graphics Technology 2

• Advanced Graphics Technology

• Metal Manufacturing Technology1

• Metal Manufacturing Technology2

• Advanced Metal Manufacturing

• Photography Technology 1

• Photography Technology 2

• Plastics Technology 1

• Plastics Technology 2

• Video Production Technology 1

• Video Production Technology 2

• Video Production Technology 3

• Wood Technology 1

• Wood Technology 2

• Advanced Wood Technology

• Furniture-Making Technology

• Construction Technology

Keeping Pace with Changes in the Curriculum

As a result of the curriculum review cycle and the representation

of people from the community serving on that

committee, we have been able to change our facilities to

keep pace with the curriculum. An example of these changes

would be the addition of 20 computers with appropriate

software in the graphics/photography lab. Also in that

lab we added a Xante plate maker that is capable of making

plates for the press from electronic proofs. Computers

now include AutoCAD and Chief Architect software in the

drafting lab, and CNC equipment has been added including

a router, lathe, and mill. Some items, such as the laser

engraver and automated carousel screen printer have been

the result of grants.

Funding Advice

The important part of the process to update curriculum and

equipment is to include key people from the community

on the curriculum review committee—people who represent

parents, students, alumni, and business and industry

representation who have an interest in the technologies

being taught. Keeping the community informed of student

accomplishments is also important. TSA and TEAP can play

an important role in helping to create periodic news releases

on what is happening in the Tech Ed department. Locating

funding either from district funds or grants is much easier

after the groundwork and justification for purchases has

been completed. As you might suspect, TE staff, supervisor/

department chair, and administrators need to be involved in

supporting the program and promoting it beyond the time

spent in the classroom.

Programmatic Innovations

The curricular review process described earlier is one innovation

that has served to move the CV curriculum in a

positive direction and to keep the technology education program

in the forefront with the administration and the community.

Program Supervisor Gary Landis points out that the

district has a public relations person on staff, and it is his

job to constantly feed that person with information about

the technology education program. Mr. Landis takes it as a

personal responsibility to promote each and every success

story. To that end, CV has active TSA chapters at the middle

school and high school levels that result in numerous public

relations opportunities. He has also promoted the program

through local civic organizations like the Lions Club, Rotary

Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and with local leaders in

business and industry, local legislators, and even state senators.

Mr. Landis describes making connections as vital to a

successful program. In his words, it has taken him 30 years

to get to know most of the community and the local school

board. These are connections he feels are necessary to creating

and growing a successful program. Lastly, he recommends

that all technology educators be politically astute and

get involved at all levels. His final comment: “Think about

the big picture in education and make your program a part

of it!”

Ad Index

Autodesk.........................................................C-4

CarveWright Woodworking System........... 22

CNC Mastercam...........................................C-2

The College of New Jersey............................ 39

Goodheart-Willcox Publisher.........................8

Kelvin Electronics........................................... 26

Millersville University.................................... 39

National Association of Home Builders..... 39

Pearson............................................................. 38

University of Wisconsin................................ 38

37 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Up-to-date coverage of the latest technology developments

New program features:

NEW!

©2008

• Hardware including iPhone, Zune,

gaming consoles and storage devices

• Software including Windows Vista

and digital photography

• Wireless Networks including voice over IP

• 3D Virtual Reality

• Nanotechnology

• Knowledge and Skill Building Activities

Includes

activities

to reinforce

Math and

Science

Skills

Contents in brief:

• The Nature of Technology

• Design for a Technological World

• Materials, Manufacturing, and Construction

• Communication and Information Technology

Grades 6 – 9

• Energy, Power, and Transportation

• Biological and Chemical Technology

• The Future of Technology in Society

FREE Samples Available for Technology Education Teachers!

Visit www.PearsonSchool.com/teched or call 866-326-4259 for more information.

First of its kind scholarship.

Only at UW-Stout.

Anyone planning to enroll in the technology education

program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout during

the next two years has a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Qualified applicants could be awarded a $10,000

scholarship unique among technology education

programs in the nation.

Recipients of this scholarship will graduate with

credentials to teach Project Lead The Way, Inc.

courses, a new engineering curriculum that is

sweeping Wisconsin and the entire country.

Graduates of UW-Stout with a background in

Project Lead The Way, Inc. will be very desirable

candidates for teaching positions in schools that

are implementing Project Lead The Way, Inc.

For more information contact Dr. Brian McAlister,

mcalisterb@uwstout.edu

www.uwstout.edu/programs/bste/

(715) 232-5609

For more information about UW-Stout scholarships and applying

www.uwstout.edu/foundation/scholarships_home.aspx

For more information about Project Lead The Way, Inc. visit

www.pltw.org


Two Tenure-Track Assistant or Associate Professors

(Mechanical Engineering and Technology Education)

Technological Studies/School of Engineering

The Department of Technological Studies in the School of Engineering at The College of New Jersey

invites applications for two tenure-track faculty positions starting September 2008.

The Department of Technological Studies has created one of the first majors in technology education with a pre-engineering focus and is establishing

a national dialog between engineering and education. Our vision is to graduate the next generation of educational leaders with pedagogical

and pre-engineering content knowledge and capabilities necessary to create technologically and pre-engineering literate children. Graduates of

the program will be able to gain qualifications to teach in Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programs. The Department consists of 5 faculty members,

a Center for Design and Technology with 3 Ph.D. researchers and 6 supporting staff members ($13 million in research over the past 12 years),

publishes TIES Magazine http://www.tiesmagazine.org/, and offers four year programs that lead to Bachelor of Science degrees in Technology Education/Pre-Engineering,

M/S/T Elementary Education, M/S/T Early Childhood Education, M/S/T Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education, M/S/T Special

Education, and an M.A.T. in Technology Education. There are currently 140 students enrolled in these programs.

We seek broadly trained candidates who have the potential to collaborate in the national dialog between engineering and education, participate in

creating pre-engineering curriculum and related interdisciplinary efforts in the Department and School of Engineering. Successful candidates will

have teaching responsibilities as indicated below and each is expected to be an effective teacher, prepare curriculum and laboratory experiences,

provide service, and develop a program of scholarship.

• Mechanical Engineering – an earned doctorate in engineering or education with at least a baccalaureate in mechanical engineering is required.

Each successful candidate must present evidence of experience and capabilities in P-12 education with a preference for pre-engineering

and successful industrial experience.

Technology Education – an earned doctorate in Technology Education or a closely related field is required. Each successful candidate must

present evidence of experience and capabilities in Technology Education with a preference for P-12 pre-engineering education.

Enrolling 6,000 students, the College is a highly selective public institution and is ranked the number one public regional university in the North

by US News and World Report. The College is located on a beautiful 265-acre suburban campus setting approximately 10 miles south of Princeton

within easy commuting distance of New York and Philadelphia. Applicant screening will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Applicants must submit a vita, a letter clarifying their experience in P-12 education and professional goals, student evaluations or other evidence

of teaching ability, and three references to: Dr. John Karsnitz, Chair, Department of Technological Studies, The College of New Jersey, P.O. Box

7718, Ewing, NJ 08628. To enrich education through diversity, The College of New Jersey is an AA/EOE employer.

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INDUSTRY & TECHNOLOGY

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39 • The Technology Teacher • November 2007


Aspire to

Inspire.

Everything, no matter how big and spectacular, starts out as just an idea. Inspire your students to turn their ideas

into the next big thing. Help them advance in the key areas of science, technology, engineering and math by

integrating powerful Autodesk 2D and 3D design software and innovative curriculum into your classroom. Learn

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Build Something.

Download free*software at autodesk.com/edcommunity

Image of the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park courtesy of dbox. Architecture by Cook+Fox Architects.

Education

Image of the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park courtesy of dbox. Architecture by Cook+Fox Architects.

*Free products are subject to the terms and conditions of the end-user license agreement that accompanies download of the software. Autodesk is a registered trademark of Autodesk, Inc., in the USA and/or other countries.

All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or

graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2007 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.

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