September 2007 - Vol 67, No. 1 - International Technology and ...

September 2007 - Vol 67, No. 1 - International Technology and ...





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

September 2007

Volume 67 • Number 1


It’s in the Numbers


The Status of Technology in the U.S.

A Triennial Report of the Findings from the States

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A Model Technology Educator:

Thomas A. Edison

Provides evidence of Thomas A. Edison as

being a remarkable visionary and exceptional

role model for today’s problem-solving and

design-focused technology educator.

William S. Pretzer, George E. Rogers,

and Jeffery Bush


Resources in



It’s in the


page 6





Web News


4 Calendar



in Technology

23 Classroom


5 Editorial

Katie de la Paz

The Status of Technology Education in the United States


Results of current research on the status of technology education in the U.S. in 2006-07.

William E. Dugger, Jr., DTE




Model Program: Brillion High School:

Innovation in Education

steve mEyer

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


The Technology Teacher is listed in the

Educational Index and the Current Index to

Journal in Education. Volumes are available on

Microfiche from University Microfilm, P.O. Box

1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.

Advertising Sales:

ITEA Publications Department


Fax: 703-860-0353

Subscription Claims

All subscription claims must be made within 60

days of the first day of the month appearing on

the cover of the journal. For combined issues,

claims will be honored within 60 days from

the first day of the last month on the cover.

Because of repeated delivery problems outside

the continental United States, journals will be

shipped only at the customer’s risk. ITEA will

ship the subscription copy but assumes no

responsibility thereafter.

Change of Address

Send change of address notification promptly.

Provide old mailing label and new address.

Include zip + 4 code. Allow six weeks for



Send address change to: The Technology

Teacher, Address Change, ITEA, 1914

Association Drive, Suite 201, Reston, VA

20191-1539. Periodicals postage paid at

Herndon, VA and additional mailing offices.


World Wide Web:


New on the

ITEA Website:

n The Status of Technology Education in the United States

See the complete data tables online at:



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


Editorial Review Board


Dan Engstrom, DTE

California University of PA


Stan Komacek, DTE

California University of PA

n ITEA Membership is easier than ever! You can now join or renew ITEA

memberships through the new ITEA e-Store. The e-Store will let you look

up your ID number, remember your information, change/update your

account, view your history, and print invoices.

The first 25 members to join or renew using the e-Store will receive the

"Standards Poster" with a complete list of the STL standards in the left

column and an overview of the basic concepts students should learn from a

standards-based curriculum in technology education on the right. This will

be a great, FREE addition to your classroom.

Go to

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

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

Katherine Weber

Des Plaines, IL

Eric Wiebe

North Carolina State Univ.

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 Maximum length for

manuscripts is eight pages. Manuscripts should be prepared

following the style specified in the Publications Manual of

the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition.

Editorial guidelines and review policies are available by

writing directly to ITEA or by visiting

Publications/Submissionguidelines.htm. Contents copyright

© 2007 by the International Technology Education

Association, Inc., 703-860-2100.

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007


Election Candidates

The 2007-2008 ITEA Board of Directors election ballot will be emailed to Professional and active Life

Members in September. The highly experienced field of candidates is pictured here. Exercise your right

to vote by completing your ballot promptly! Ballots must be completed electronically on or before

October 30, 2007.

President-Elect (Supervisor)

Ed Denton, DTE

Director of Technology

Neshaminy School District

Langhorne, PA

Melvin Lee Robinson

Technology and Engineering


Utah State Office of


Salt Lake City, UT

Region II Director (Supervisor)

Michael A. Fitzgerald, DTE

Technology Education


Indiana Department of


Office of Career and Technical


Indianapolis, IN

Lynn Bernard (Barney)


Assistant to the Career and

Technical Director

Hamilton County

Department of Education

Chattanooga, TN

Region IV Director (Classroom Teacher)

Brad B. Fleener

Industrial Technology


Eagle River High School

Eagle River, AK

Patrick McDonald

Technology Lab Facilitator -

Classroom Teacher

Bingham High School

South Jordan, UT

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007

ITEA Launches Inside TIDE

In June of this year, ITEA launched an entirely new

electronic newsletter—Inside TIDE! Its purpose is to bring

you all the “inside” information pertaining to the world of

TIDE—Technology, Innovation, Design, and Engineering.

Inside TIDE is a free service of ITEA, the International

Technology Education Association, in an effort to support

educators from around the world who share the belief

that technological literacy is a critical component of an

education in today’s world.

Inside TIDE recognizes the natural relationship between

the fields of technology, innovation, design, and engineering

and is designed to facilitate communication between all

those who support technological literacy.

Inside Tide will regularly bring you timely information

pertaining to professional development opportunities,

assistance with marketing your program, information

about legislative efforts, opportunities to connect and share

information with other technology educators, and MUCH


You won’t be losing the features of TrendScout that you’ve

grown to depend on: Inside TIDE will bring you the same

information and even more—another way that ITEA strives

to keep its members up to date with important information

geared to assist you in your professional endeavors.

If you have news or calendar items that you feel are

appropriate to share in a future issue of Inside Tide, email

them to We welcome your input!

Salt Lake City 2008

Watch your mail in the next several weeks for ITEA’s

70 th Annual Conference Preliminary Program, and,

as always, check the ITEA website regularly for the

latest conference information.


Free Resources for Technology Teachers

Colleague Connection is a new service intended to

allow potential professional or advocate members of

ITEA the opportunity to experience the benefits of working

together with current members to advance the teaching

of technology.

The importance of teaching TIDE (Technology, Innovation,

Design, and Engineering) in our schools is becoming more

and more evident. Increasing membership in ITEA is one

way we can make our voice stronger—greatly improving our

ability to advocate the advancement of technological literacy

in our society.

Through Colleague Connection, a current ITEA member

can invite a colleague to experience ITEA membership

for a limited period at NO CHARGE. After signing up,

the potential member is permitted to share in listserv

discussions, receive up-to-date news regarding the field

and association, and have increased access to other existing


To share this unique opportunity with someone you feel

would be a good candidate in our efforts to bring technology

education into the spotlight, please visit the Colleague

Connection informational page at

cc.htm. From there you can also click on the Colleague

Connection card to view printable cards that can then

be shared.

The best way to strengthen the position of our field is to

increase the number of those advocating the teaching of

technology. This is a free opportunity for you to spread

the word to your colleagues and invite them to experience

ITEA, an association with the clear goal of advancing

technological literacy.

Connect YOUR colleagues today!

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007


September 14-15, 2007 The Leadership Conference on

Aviation and Space Education (LCASE) will be held at the

Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington VA. Information can

be obtained at

September 27-29, 2007 The Minnesota Technology

Education Association (MTEA) will hold its 2007 Fall

Conference, “Tech Ed – Back to the Future II,” at the

St. Cloud Holiday Inn. Visit or contact

Dr. Mike Lindstrom, Fall Conference Program Chair

(763-506-1115/W; 763-506-1003/Fax) or Dan Lundborg,

Registration Chair (763-506-5467/W; 763-323-7926/H)

for general information.

October 2-5, 2007 TENZ (Technology Education New

Zealand), along with Auckland University, will hold its

2007 conference at the Waipuna Hotel, Mt. Wellington,

Auckland, New Zealand. This year’s conference will focus

on technological learning communities. Registration is now

open. Visit for details.

October 11-13, 2007 The state of New Hampshire will

host the New England Association of Technology Teachers

(NEATT) Conference, “A NEATT Foundation to Build

Upon,” in Worcester, MA. For immediate updates, check the

NEATT website at

October 16-18, 2007 Save the date for the National

Conference on Aviation and Space Education, which will

be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.

More information will be coming soon.

October 18-20, 2007 The Florida Technology Education

Association will hold its 78th annual professional

development conference, “Inspiring today, applying

tomorrow,” at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Harbourside

in Indian Rocks Beach. Information is available at www.ftea.


October 19, 2007 The Technology Education Association

of Maryland will present its Seventh Annual Technology

Education TECH EXPO 2007 at the Baltimore Museum of

Industry. The theme this year is “TEAM’s All Star Line-Up:

CATTS, PLTW, STEM and VSC.” This is TEAM’s Annual

Conference for all technology education teachers and

supervisors in the State of Maryland. To help or present,

contact Will Johnson, EXPO 2007 Coordinator, at wdjwin@ Additional information can be found at

October 25-27, 2007 The Society of Women Engineers

will present its 2007 National Conference, Women IN

TUNE with TECHNOLOGY, at the Nashville Convention

Center in Nashville, TN. For complete conference

information, visit

October 27, 2007 The Ohio Technology Education

Association (OTEA) Fall Conference will focus on the

role of technology education as a STEM partner. Contact

Timothy Tryon at for


November 1-2, 2007 The 22nd 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

November 8-9, 2007 The Technology Education

Association of Pennsylvania (TEAP) will hold its 55th

Annual Conference at the Radisson Penn Harris Conference

Center in Camp Hill, PA. Visit the TEAP website at www. 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.

February 21-23, 2008 The 70th 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


List your State/Province Association Conference in TTT

and Inside TIDE (ITEA’s electronic newsletter). Submit

conference title, date(s), location, and contact information (at

least two months prior to journal publication date) to kcluff@

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007


By Katie de la Paz

Looking Back; Looking Ahead

Next month marks my ten-year anniversary with ITEA.

Naturally, such a milestone provides an opportunity for

reflection. For a full decade I’ve been a witness to the field

of technology education and have come to the realization

that, while certain aspects change and evolve with lightning

speed, others rarely change at all.

Let’s face it; this field is a moving target. It’s an enormous

challenge to keep up with constant innovations, a shifting

political landscape, and the advent of new measures such as

NCLB. Yet, ITEA members have done an outstanding job

of assisting one another in trying to stay on the cutting edge

of all this information as it hurtles towards us—through

The Technology Teacher as well as through more immediate

communications options such as the IdeaGarden listserv.

This brings me to my second point: that while some portions

of the field are ever-changing, there is one aspect that

remains steadfastly the same—the feeling of “community”

among ITEA members. Over the past decade, I’ve been

touched and impressed on numerous occasions by the

dedication, selflessness, and deeply held beliefs of teachers

and teacher educators in the field.

While we have made inroads into making members

understand that we simply don’t receive enough article

submissions from classroom teachers, we still can’t seem

to improve the ratio. To address that issue, we’ve worked

with PTC to create an authorship incentive program

for classroom teachers. See page 13 of this journal,

or go to

PTCSponsorship.pdf for more information.

As part of the most recent readership survey, we also asked

if you would like to see the addition of a regular feature

that highlights model technology education programs. You

resoundingly answered “yes” (91%), and so we hope you’ll be

pleased to see the introduction of this new, ongoing feature

on page 32.

It has been both an honor and a privilege to work alongside

you as well as on your behalf for the past decade, and I look

forward to many more years spent together in the effort to

champion technological literacy.

Katie de la Paz is Editor-in-Chief of

the International Technology Education

Association. She can be reached at

So it is with a keen sense of responsibility each summer that

we undertake plans to “roll out” each new publishing year of

this journal. We pay very close attention to survey results in

an effort to bring you the journal that best suits your needs.

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Resources in Technology

Statistics: It’s in the Numbers!

By Mary M. Deal and Walter F. Deal, III

Mathematics offers a language with

which to express relationships in

science and technology and provides

useful analytical tools for scientists

and engineers.


Very few people would argue that mathematics and statistics

are not important tools in business and industry. Much

the same in middle and high school technology education

programs, teachers and students use math skills in solving

technical problems, testing, measurement, and calculating

resistance, current, and voltage in electrical and electronic

circuits. Many of the machines, testing equipment, and

tools that are commonly found in technology labs require

math skills.

When we consider learning activities in manufacturing and

construction, we can readily see the role that math skills

play in estimating material quantities and costs. Further,

in construction, we can see examples such as calculating

area for framing, sheathing, roofing, and floor materials,

calculating cubic measure for soil and fill materials as well as

concrete and block estimates. In manufacturing, we can see

applications in material lists, material costs, and inventory

and quality control.

Figure 1. The fuel economy labels found on new vehicles provide

statistical information about city and highway fuel consumption.

However, new government regulations require that a range of mileage

data be provided that reflects more realistic and achievable fuel

consumption. The figure shown here presents a comparison of old

and new Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mile-per-gallon

data (

Mathematics offers a language with which to express

relationships in science and technology and provides useful

analytical tools for scientists and engineers. As we look

at the larger picture, mathematics is used by engineers,

scientists, and technicians to describe process, products,

theories, and models. But wait! People in wholesale

and retail distribution, service companies, medical

professions, and many other areas also use many of these

same skills and knowledge in mathematics, statistics, and

probability to market products, inventory, provide services,

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007

conduct research, and provide health care. Two notable

organizations associated with statistics are The Nielsen

Company and the United States Census Bureau.

By the numbers: We see numbers in the daily weather

forecast, reflecting the average temperature and rainfall over

periods of time; car manufacturers promote the fuel mileage

of their vehicles as shown in Figure 1; we see beverages by

the liter, frequency of accidents at intersections, test grade

averages, cell phones per capita, and many other numberreferenced

data. Here, we are looking at statistics and

how numbers can show the analysis of data, quantitative

relationships, and interpretation of data to provide useful


A day does not pass that people are not bombarded with

statistical information in news reports (presidential and

congressional poll numbers), advertisements (four out of

five dentists prefer sugarless gum, and choosy moms choose

Brand X peanut butter), and a consumer survey by The

Nielsen Company found that two in five (42%) global online

consumers believe governments should restrict companies’

emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Two in

five online consumers also said governments should invest

in research to find environmentally friendly and energysaving

solutions (Nielsen).

As consumers, we need to be aware that statistical

methods and data must be used correctly and accurately

to present information in a meaningful and useful way.

Frequently, statistical information may be misrepresented

or incompletely presented inadvertently or on purpose.

The result is an inaccurate use of the data and perhaps false

and misleading conclusions. Having a basic understanding

of statistics can be helpful in interpreting much of the

statistical data that we encounter almost on a daily basis.

Advertisers rely heavily on statistical data to reach

consumers with their advertising messages. Advertisements

may appear in a mix of print media, broadcast radio and

television, cable, outdoor advertising, the Internet, and

other media. The top ten advertisers, according to The

Nielsen Company, are shown in Table 1 (page 8).

One of the newest advances in advertising is the digital

display billboard. Lamar Advertising has introduced fullsized

Light Emitting Diode (LED) billboards like the one

shown in Figure 2 that you may see along an Interstate

or major highway. These displays change ads about every

ten seconds. The digital images are bright and sharp as

compared with typical poster media. Advertising rates are

Figure 2. Businesses rely on advertising to promote their products

and services and brand recognition. Advertising agencies use

statistical data to set ad rates and fees. Outdoor advertising is a

very popular form of advertising, and the digital panel shown here

represents the newest technology.

determined by the number of impressions or views for a

period of time, where the rate may be expressed as cost

per thousand. The analysis of statistical data is used to

determine advertising rates. The time of day and days of the

week affect advertising rates.

Another example of statistical information in the news

indicates that hospital visits are up 20 percent over the

last five years. A survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention also found that most people who

visited emergency rooms had health insurance, but the

uninsured were almost twice as likely to use emergency

services as compared to those with insurance. Many health

care experts are worried that the 43 million people who

lack health insurance in the United States must rely on

emergency rooms for care—not the best way to prevent

serious conditions. The survey suggests this is true. “People

with no insurance are twice as likely to use the emergency

department as the privately insured,” said Catharine Burt

of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Nearly

28 percent of all doctors’ visits by uninsured people are to

emergency rooms, compared to 6.6 percent of visits made

by people with insurance. As we approach a presidential

election year, the significance of statistics takes on a new

meaning and may make a difference in an election outcome

(Center for Diseases and Control).

A leading online rating service, Nielsen/Net Ratings, will

change the way it rates web page traffic and activity. In the

past, Nielsen/NetRatings used “page views” as a measure of

how many times a page had been viewed and the number

of visitors. However, changes in web-page formats, with

increased video content and techniques that update data

automatically, reduce the number of page views and increase

the time spent on a page. This reduces the number of page

views but increases the number of minutes, making this a

better measure of site traffic (Jesdanun).

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the principal factfinding

agency for the Federal Government in the broad field

of labor economics and statistics. The BLS is an independent

national statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes,

and disseminates essential statistical data to the American

public, the U.S. Congress, other federal agencies, state and

local governments, business, and labor. The BLS also serves

as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor.

BLS data must satisfy a number of criteria, including

relevance to current social and economic issues, timeliness

in reflecting today’s rapidly changing economic conditions,

accuracy, consistently high statistical quality, and

impartiality in both subject matter and presentation.

The U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for conducting a

census every ten years for the reapportionment of the House

of Representatives. Additionally the Census Bureau collects

other data such as housing, income, state median income,

health insurance, an economic census that features leading

economic indicators, maps, and other kinds of information

that describe the United States and its people. An interesting

feature of the Census Bureau is the Population Clock, which

shows the current population at 303,307,238 people. The

population count will literally change as it’s watched (Bureau

of Labor and Statistics)!

There are many cases where statistical information can

best be presented in a graphical format. The U.S. Census

Bureau provides many different kinds of tables and graphs

to provide a wealth of information that describes many

dimensions of America’s people. The demographics of the

United States are shown in a pyramid chart, (Figure 3) that

describes the population distribution by age and sex for

the year 2030. You can readily see that distribution by age

and sex is fairly close through age 70. If you were to go back

in time to 1900, or even 1950, you would see significantly

different patterns, with a larger number in the younger

population and fewer in the older populations. Why would

this be? You may wish to visit the Census Bureau’s website at to explore the many kinds of data that

are available.

Defining Statistics

Statistics have many roots and may be defined as the

collection, analysis, interpretation or explanation, and

presentation of data. It is applicable to a wide variety of

academic disciplines, from the physical and social sciences

to the humanities. Statistics are also used for making

informed decisions.

Statistical methods can be used to summarize or describe

a collection of data; this is called descriptive statistics. In

Table 1

Rank Parent Company Total Ad Dollars Spent Product/Service

1 Proctor and Gamble Company $1,037,597,571 Household Products

2 General Motors Corporation $657,909,756 Cars/transportation

3 AT&T $619,780,062 Communication/Data Services

4 Ford Motor Company $579,628,558 Cars/Transportation

5 Johnson and Johnson Company $464,009,529 Household Products

6 Daimler-Chrysler AG $454,861,243 Cars/Transportation

7 Time Warner, Inc. $454,575,152 Entertainment/Information

8 Verizon Communication, Inc. $450,911,521 Communication/Data Services

9 Walt Disney Company $406,875,654 Entertainment/Information

10 Toyota Motor Corporation $393,626,600 Cars/Transportation

The top ten advertisers spend millions of dollars per year to promote their products and services. Their advertising dollars purchase

a variety of media buys that target demographic groups with the anticipation that the viewers will purchase products and services.

Advertisers and ad agencies make extensive use of statistical methods and data to arrive at costs and reach of advertising messages

January 2007–April 2007 (Adapted from Nielsen Monitor-Plus).

Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Based on spending estimates in the following media: Network TV, National Cable TV, Spot TV, Syndicated TV,

Hispanic TV, National/Local Magazine, Network/Spot Radio, Outdoor, FSI (Free Standing Inserts - CPGs only), National/Local Newspapers

(display ads only), National/Local Sunday Supplement.

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Notable Figures in the Field of Statistics

Historically, one of the most notable and influential

statisticians was Dr. William Deming. He is widely credited

with improving production for the war effort during World

War II. However, he is probably better known for his work

in Japan where he introduced innovative management

practices to improve design, product quality, testing, and

sales through statistical methods such as the analysis of

variance (ANOVA) and hypothesis testing. Dr. Deming

made a significant contribution to Japan’s moving into

global markets and becoming renowned for high-quality

products. Additionally, Dr. Deming is regarded as having

had more impact on Japanese manufacturing, production,

and business than any other individual who was not of

Japanese heritage.

Figure 3. Charts and graphs can be used to display complex information

clearly and emphasize relative measures between the data.

This pyramid graph shows the population distribution by age and

sex for the year 2030. You can readily see that distribution by age

and sex is fairly close through age 70.

addition, patterns in the data may be modeled in a way

that may account for randomness and uncertainty in the

observations, and then used to draw inferences about the

process or population being studied; this is called inferential

statistics. Both descriptive and inferential statistics are

a part of the larger field that is called applied statistics.

There is also a discipline called mathematical statistics,

which is concerned with the theoretical basis of the subject

(Wikipedia: Statistics).

Statistical Literacy

There are a number of excellent documents that describe the

need for a technologically literate citizenry. One of these is

Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study

of Technology (ITEA, 2000/2002). Here we can see that

these standards address the knowledge and skills needed to

assess the impact of technology, measurement, testing and

analysis, interpretation of data that support decision-making

processes, problem solving, and critical thinking. These

kinds of skills and knowledge are similar to those skills and

expectations found in the standards for mathematics. These

expectations include understanding the differences among

various kinds of studies and which types of inferences

can legitimately be drawn from each, recognizing the

characteristics of well-designed studies, including the role of

randomization in surveys and experiments, understanding

the meaning of measurement data and categorical data, and

computing basic statistics and understanding the distinction

between a statistic and a parameter (NCTM).

Early in Dr. Deming’s career, he was introduced to Walter A.

Shewhart of the Bell Telephone Labs by Dr. C. H. Kunsman

of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He found great

inspiration in the work of Shewhart, who was the originator

of statistical process control and the related technical

tool of the control chart. Dr. Deming moved toward the

application of statistical methods to industrial production

and management. Accordingly, he saw that statistical

methods could be applied not only to manufacturing

processes but also to processes by which businesses may be

led and managed. This insight made possible his significant

influence on the economics of the industrialized world

after 1950.

Deming advocated that all managers need to have what he

called a System of Profound Knowledge, consisting of four

parts (Wikipedia: W. Edwards Deming):

• Appreciation of a system: understanding the overall

processes involving suppliers, producers, and customers

(or recipients) of goods and services.

• Knowledge of variation: the range and causes of

variation in quality, and use of statistical sampling in


• Theory of knowledge: the concepts explaining

knowledge and the limits of what can be known (see also:


• Knowledge of psychology: concepts of human nature.

Dr. Deming’s principles support the global success of

Toyota, Proctor & Gamble, The Ritz-Carlton, Harley-

Davidson, and many other leading organizations. His

teachings are essential for the effective application of

Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Loyalty/Net Promoter

and other quality improvement, customer retention, and

business-growth methods (

• The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Another notable figure in the field of statistics was John W.

Tukey (1915-2000), a chemist who became a mathematician

and then a statistician. During the Second World War,

Tukey worked on the accuracy of range finders and gunfire

from bombers. After the war, he continued to work

with government agencies and joined the mathematics

department at Princeton University and Bell Laboratories.

Tukey remained concerned that mathematical statistics

were ignoring real-world data analysis. He developed

exploratory data analysis using modern computer methods.

As a result of his studies, he developed two entirely new

graphic designs: the stem-and-leaf plot and the box-andwhisker

plot (commonly called the box plot). The stem-andleaf

plot simply arranges a series of data points in rows and

columns. From this plot, judgments can be made about the

data, similar to actual bar plots.

Among Tukey’s most far-reaching contributions was

his development of techniques for “robust analysis,” an

approach to statistics that guards against wrong answers

in situations where a randomly chosen sample of data

happens to poorly represent the rest of the data set.

Tukey also pioneered approaches to exploratory data

analysis, developing graphing and plotting methods that

are fixtures of introductory statistics texts, and authored

many publications on time series analysis and other aspects

of digital signal processing that have become central to

modern engineering and science.

Key 3 | 1 means that there are 31 computers.

The numbers are now listed from smallest to largest and

the median can quickly be located. With 21 data points,

the 11th number is the median. The median for this

example is 27.

The mean is the sum of the numbers, 554, divided by

the number of data points, which is 21. The mean equals


Box Plot Example

Box plots are based on a five-number summary:

the median, the first quartile, the third quartile, the

maximum, and the minimum.

An example of a box plot—given 14 quiz grades: 86, 84,

91, 75, 78, 80, 74, 87, 76, 96, 82, 90, 98, 93.

First, rearrange the numbers in order from smallest to


74 75 76 78 80 82 84 86 87 90 91 93 96 98

Then locate the median. The median is the number in the

middle. In this case, with an even number of data, there is

no number in the middle. The two numbers in the middle

must be averaged; this gives 85 as the median. The first

While there are many notable individuals in the field of

statistics, W. Edwards Deming and John W. Tukey especially

stand out because of their work in developing statistical

methods and tools and their significant influence on other

individuals, governments, and corporations.

Stem-and-leaf example:

Assume that a group of students has been assigned to

determine the number of computers used in the city

government offices. The students prepared a “contact person

call list” to collect the data shown below.

Given the data set (numbers of computers in each


20, 15, 23, 29, 23, 15, 23, 31, 28, 35, 37, 27, 24, 26, 47, 28,

24, 28, 28, 16, 27

1 5 5 6

2 0 3 3 3 4 4 6 7 7 8 8 8 8 9

3 1 5 7

4 7

Figure 4 shows an example of a box plot using an online Java

applet. This screen illustrates the concept of a Box Plot. Additional

data is shown that includes the following statistical measures:

median, upper and lower quartiles, minimum and maximum

data values. The box plot was originally published by John Tukey

(National Library of Virtual Manipulatives).

10 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

quartile number is found by locating the middle number

of the seven numbers below 85, it is 78. The third quartile

number is found by locating the middle number of the

seven numbers above 85, it is 91. The maximum number

is 98; the minimum number is 74.

A box plot can be easily illustrated using a “Nutrition Facts”

panel from a box of breakfast cereal. Each student brings to

class the “Nutrition Facts” panel from their favorite cereal.

Students collect the data for calories per serving from each

cereal and make a box plot of the data. Students then write

a summary about the results, including how their favorite

cereal ranked.

Statistics Activity in the Technology Lab

There are many local, regional, and global issues that

technology students can identify and study that parallel

technology and statistics. Examples of study topics and

issues may include global warming, renewable energy

resources and conservation, food and nutrition, food origins

and distribution, mass transportation attitudes and use,

attitudes toward recycling materials, and many other topics.

Study topics may be addressed as class- or team-project

studies. For example, the class teams would select a study

area in the context of the current unit of study, such

as communication, biotechnology, manufacturing and

construction, transportation, etc. The study teams would

identify a research area and title for the project, state the

objectives of the study and its purposes, identify the survey

population and sample, and identify the study limitations.

Each of the teams would plan and prepare survey questions

that address its topic, objectives, and purposes (Figure 5).

Students would conduct their surveys according to the

population and sample they identified and analyze the

collected data using statistical tools such as mean and

median. The teams would report their findings to the class

in a presentation format using appropriate graphs and


The evaluation of the research activity should focus on team

skills, planning and conducting the survey, analyses of the

data and use of statistical methods, formatting of the data

for presentation, and presenting the data to the class.


Mathematics and statistics play important roles in our lives

today. A day hardly passes that we are not bombarded with

many different kinds of statistics. As consumers we see

statistical information as we surf the web, watch television,

listen to our satellite radios, or even read the nutrition facts

Figure 5. Team skills are an important dimension in planning,

designing, and preparing a survey project. These same skills are

desirable and applicable in the workplace.

panel on a cereal box in the morning. Learning how to

recognize and interpret mathematical and statistical data

is an increasingly important skill toward technological and

quantitative literacy. We should be aware that statistical

information is sometimes misrepresented, and we should

carefully consider the facts being presented and how they

are being presented.

Applying statistical methods and analyses in technology

activities can provide new insights in using technology

and information. As we look at statistics, the messages and

meanings are all in the numbers!


Burt, C. W., McCaig, L. F., & Rechtsteiner, E. A. (2007).

Ambulatory Medical Care Utilization Estimates for

2005. Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics,

Number 388. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Retrieved June 29, 2007 from


Jesdanun, Anick. (2007). Nielsen to rank Web sites by visit

lengths. Retrieved July 9, 2007 from www.msnbc.msn.

com/id/19680567/. (2007). What Deming Taught

Toyota: Every 21st Century Manager Needs to Know.

Retrieved June 25, 2007 from www.managementwisdom.


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000-2004).

Data Analysis and Probability Standards for Grades 9

– 12. Retrieved July 5, 2007 from


11 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

The Nielsen Company. (2007). Global Nielsen Survey:

Consumers Look to Governments to Act on Climate

Change. Retrieved June 30, 2007 from


The Nielsen Company. (2007). Top Tens and Trends.

Retrieved June 30, 2007 from


U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

(2001). Mission Statement. Retrieved July 8, 2007 from

Glossary of Common Statistical Terms

Population: the entire group of people or products that

we want information about.

Sample: a part of the population that we actually

examine to gather information.

Random: a method of selection of the sample

members in such a way that every set of data is a true

representation of the population.

Central Tendency: measures that reflect averages such

as the mean or median.

Data: numerical information that is collected.

Mean: add the data values and divide by the number of


Median: the mid-point of the distribution.

Range: the differences between the maximum (largest)

value and the minimum value. For a distribution with a

continuous random variable, the range is the difference

between the two extreme points on the distribution

curve, where the value of the function falls to zero.

Stem and Leaf: A stem-and-leaf plot is a display that

organizes data to show its shape and distribution. In a

stem-and-leaf plot each data value is split into a “stem”

and a “leaf.” The “leaf” is usually the last digit of the

number, and the other digits to the left of the “leaf”

form the “stem.” The number 123 would be split as stem

12 and the leaf 3.

Box Plot: an efficient method for displaying a fivenumber

data summary. The graph is called a box plot

(also known as a box and whisker plot) and summarizes

the following statistical measures: median, upper and

lower quartiles, minimum and maximum data values.

The box plot was originally published by John Tukey.

Utah State University, National Library of Virtual

Manipulatives. (1999-2006). Data Analysis & Probability:

Box Plot. Retrieved July 5, 2007 from


Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2007). W. Edwards Deming.

Wikipedia. Retrieved June 25, 2007 from en.wikipedia.


Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2007). Statistics. Wikipedia.

Retrieved June 30, 2007 from


Mary M. Deal, M.A., is a mathematics

teacher and chairperson of the mathematics

department at York High School, Yorktown,


Walter F. Deal, III, Ph.D., is an associate

professor at Old Dominion University in

Norfolk, VA. He can be reached via email at

12 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Classroom teachers whose submitted manuscripts are accepted and published by way of The

Technology Teacher’s peer-review process will receive the following:

Your Classroom is Already Full of Good Ideas!

A Free Teacher Certification Workshop from PTC—upon completion, you will receive 300

seats of PTC’s Pro/Engineer Schools Edition software, classroom materials, project-based activities,

student certification and assessments, discussion groups, and web-based resources.

A Technology Teacher authorship pin

A Technology Teacher authorship certificate

For more information about submitting a manuscript to The Technology Teacher, go to for support materials to help you get started.

Questions? Ready to submit an article? Contact Katie de la Paz at

This offer is brought to you by ITEA and PTC, who recognize the importance of classroom

teachers sharing their experiences with others. To learn more about PTC’s educational outreach,

visit: This offer is currently extended to the first 10 classroom

teachers whose manuscripts are accepted.

The Status of Technology Education

in the United States

A Triennial Report of the Findings from the States

By William E. Dugger, Jr., DTE

The increase in the number of

states that include technology

education in the state framework

may indicate that, as a nation,

we are placing increasing

importance on technology

education as part of the overall

learning experience.

The International Technology Education Association

(ITEA) conducted research on the status of technology

education in the United States in 2006-07. This was

the third study conducted by ITEA on the condition of

the study of technology in all 50 states. The previous studies

were completed by ITEA’s Technology for All Americans

Project in 2000-01 and 2003-04. The reports of the previous

two studies were published in The Technology Teacher

(ITEA, 2001), (ITEA, 2004).

Survey Methodology

Questionnaires were sent via email in October, 2006 to all

50 state technology education supervisors. In cases where

no supervisor was available, alternate contacts in the state

education departments were used. Two additional follow-up

surveys were emailed in January and March 2007 to those

states that did not return their responses. Telephone followup

calls were conducted in April and May 2007 to attempt

to gather unreported data from those states that had not

responded and to clarify responses as necessary.

ITEA utilized the services of Zoomerang, an online webbased

firm, to provide the respondents a questionnaire

to complete on their computer screen and return

electronically. The survey consisted of 10 questions.

Questions 1, 2, and 4 were duplicated from the Newberry

2000-2001 study (a total of three questions) and questions

5 and 6 were added in the 2004 survey (a total of five

questions). Questions 3 and 7 through 10 were added to the

2006-07 instrument. The specific questions were:

1. Is technology education in your state framework?

(Yes or No)

2. Is technology education required in your state?

(Yes or No)

3. If you answered Yes to question #2, is it:

__ Under local control

__ An elective

__ A requirement that is pending/proposed

__ At what grade level? _______________________

4. How many technology education teachers are in your

state? _______________

5. Have you used Standards for Technological Literacy:

Content for the Study of Technology (STL) in any of the

following ways? (Select all that apply.)

__ Not used at all

__ Placed in your state standards

__ Adopted “as is” for your state standards

__ Used in your curriculum guides

__ Conducted workshops using the standards

__ Other, please specify _________________

6. Have you used Advancing Excellence in Technological

Literacy: Student Assessment, Professional Development,

14 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

and Program Standards (AETL) in any of the following

ways? (Select all that apply.)

__ Not used at all

__ Placed in your state standards

__ Adopted “as is” for your state standards

__ Used in your curriculum guides

__ Conducted workshops using the standards

__ Other, please specify _________________

7. Are you doing Standards for Technological Literacy

assessments in your state at this time? (Yes or No) (If

Yes, please share how used). _____________________

8. What course title(s) best describe the secondary school

level technology education curriculum being taught in

your state? ___________________

9. Do you have a technology education state curriculum

guide(s)? (Yes or No)

10. What best describes where technology education

program funding comes from in your state (i.e.,

relationships to local, state, national programs)?


The data tables that follow this report are abbreviated. (See

Figures 1-9 and Tables 1A and 1B. The full data tables with

comments are viewable online at


Who Responded

Forty-six (46) states responded to the 2006-07 survey, which

represents a 92 percent response rate. The states that did

not respond were: Montana, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and


Question 1: Technology Education in State Frameworks

In 2006-07, the data indicate that 40 states (87%) include

technology education in their state framework. This is an

increase of two states from 2004 and an increase of 10 states

(57.7%) over what states reported in the study done by

Newberry in 2001 (See Figure 1).

In 2007, six states (13%) reported that technology education

was not included in their state education framework. Four

states did not respond to this question.

Question 2: Technology Education Being Required

in States

In the 2006-07 survey, the same question from the ITEA/

TfAAP 2004 study was used: “Is technology education

required in your state?” There were 12 states (26% of those

reporting) that responded “Yes” to this question. This is

similar to the results from the 2004 study in which 12 states

(23.1%) reported that technology education was required.

Both the 2007 and 2004 data were slightly lower than the 14

states (27%) that were reported in 2001. See Figure 2 for a

comparison of data from these three surveys.

The probable reason why there were very few “No

responses shown in the 2004 data is that most states

reported technology education as an elective. Another

reason could be that the requirement for technology

education could be a local school district decision rather

than a state one.










2001 2004 2007

30 38 40 18 12 6 3 1 4 1 0 0 0 1 0

Yes No No Response No Answer Proposed

Figure 1. Summary of 2001, 2004, and 2007 responses to, “Is technology education in your state framework?”

15 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007










2001 2004 2007

14 12 12 10 0 34 3 1 4

Yes No No Response

Figure 2. Summary of 2001, 2004, and 2007 responses to, “Is technology education

required in your state?”

Question 3: Further elaboration on Question 2

In the 2006-07 status survey, ITEA wished to find out more

details to Question 2. Question 3 was created to do this and

stated “If a state answered ‘Yes’ to Question 2, it is:

• Under local control

• An elective

• A requirement that is pending/proposed

• At what grade level? _______________”

Results from the 2006-07 survey showed, from the limited

data being reported, four states (24% of those reporting) said

that requiring technology education was under local school

district control. Five states (29%) reported technology

education as an elective. Only two states (12%) answered

that technology education is being proposed as an elective

and that this action is pending.

When asked at what grade level technology education

is required, there were 13 responses. One state reported

that technology education was required at the elementary

through middle school levels. Five other states responded

that it was required at the middle school level only, while

four other states indicated that technology education was

required for graduation at the high school level.

Question 4: Number of Technology Teachers in States

Question 4 was “How many technology teachers are in

your state at the secondary (MS and HS school) level?”

Several states indicated that the data they submitted about

the number of technology education teachers was an

approximation. The number of teachers reported by 40

states (86.9% of those reporting) in 2006-07 was 25,258

teachers. This number is much lower than was reported

in 2004 and 2001. This number is partly attributable to

the fewer number of states that provided data. A graphic

comparison of the 2006-07 data is given in Figure 3,

and state-by-state data is found in Table 1A, which

can be accessed online at


In 2003, Hassan Ndahi, DTE and John Ritz, DTE reported

on follow-up research conducted by Old Dominion

University based on the study conducted by Shirley Weston

in 1997. The Weston research focused on technology

teacher demand. The Weston figures for 1997 estimated that

there were 37,968 technology teachers who were employed

in the United States, with one state unreported. Ndahi and

Ritz reported that there were 36,261 teachers employed in

2001. This is different from the results from the 2000-01

academic year findings of Newberry, which reported 38,537

technology teachers. Potentially this inconsistency is due

to the sources used: the Weston and Old Dominion studies

used state supervisors and state boards of education for

their figures, while the Newberry study reportedly made use

of alternative sources. In any case, the 2004 study, which

relied upon state supervisors and state boards of education

similar to the methods used in the Weston and Old

Dominion studies, indicated 35,909 technology education

teachers with one state unreported. This 2006-07 study

relied on data reported by state supervisors of technology


16 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007












• •


1997 Weston Study 2000-2001

Newberry Study

2003 Ndahi and Ritz


2003-2004 ITEA-

TfAAP Study

2006-2007 ITEA

Study (*only 40

states reporting)

Figure 3. Summary of 1997 Weston study, 2001 Newberry study, 2003 Ndahi and Ritz study, 2004 ITEA-TfAAP study, and the ITEA 2006-

2007 study on the number of technology education teachers in the United States.

Question 5: Utilization of ITEA’s Standards for

Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of

Technology (STL) in States

Question 5 stated “Have you used Standards for

Technological Literacy, Content for the Study of Technology

(STL) in any of the following ways? (Select all answers

that apply).”

In response to Question 5, there were 42 states (91.3% of

those reporting) in 2006-07 that reported using STL either

at the state or local school district level. Two states (4.3%)

stated that they did not use STL; two states reported they

were not sure whether they used it or not; and four states

did not report. In 2004, 41 states (78.8%) reported using

STL, with two states reporting “unknown.” This compares

very favorably to the Ndahi and Ritz 2003 findings that 43

states (83%) were using STL. Both the 2004 survey and the

Ndahi and Ritz survey showed that seven states (13.5%)

were not using STL. Averaging these data indicates that STL

is used by over four out of every five states across the nation.

Refer to Figure 5 for a description of how STL was used in


Only one state (2%) reported that STL was not used at all.

There were 14 states (30%) that said that STL was placed in

their state standards. When asked if STL was adopted “as

is” for their state standards, 11 states (24%) reported that it

was. There were 22 states (48%) that reported that STL was

used in their state curriculum guides. When asked if they

conducted workshops using STL, 18 states (39%) answered

that they had.

State supervisors were also asked other ways that STL

was used in their states. There were 13 responses (28%)

provided, and STL was used primarily as a resource or

reference and as a guideline for technology and engineering.

STL Used?


STL Used?


STL Used?


AETL Used?


AETL Used?


Yes 41 43 42 22 29

No 7 7 2 23 13

Unknown 2 0 2 5 2

No Response 1 0 4 1 4

No Answer 1 0 0 1 2

* Data from Ndahi & Ritz report in 2003.

Figure 4. Summary of this 2007 study, the 2004 ITEA-TfAAP study, and the 2003 Ndahi and Ritz Report on the usage of national

technological literacy standards in the United States.

17 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

5. Have you used Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology in any of the

following ways?

Not used at all 1 2%

Placed in your state standards 14 30%

Adopted “as is” for your state standards 11 24%

Used in your curriculum guides 22 48%

Conducted workshops using the standards 18 39%

Other, please specify 13 28%

Figure 5. Responses from state supervisors on Question #5.

0% 50% 100%

Question 6: Utilization of Advancing Excellence in

Technology Education: Student Assessment, Professional

Development, and Program Standards (AETL) in States

State supervisors were asked in Question 6: “Have you used

Advancing Excellence in Technology Education: Student

Assessment, Professional Development, and Program

Standards (AETL) in any of the following ways? (Select all

answers that apply.)”

As one may expect, Advancing Excellence in Technology

Education: Student Assessment, Professional Development,

and Program Standards (AETL) shows less usage than STL.

In response to Question 6, AETL was reported as being used

in 29 (63% of those reporting) of the states. Only 13 states

(28.3%) of those reporting have not used AETL yet. The

difference between STL and AETL usage is not unexpected,

considering that AETL had been published four years prior

to the time that that this survey was conducted. Refer to

Figure 4 to see how AETL was used in 2004 and 2007.

Refer to Figure 6, which provides some of the ways that

AETL may be used in states. Eleven states (25% of those

reporting) said that they did not use AETL at all. Five states

(11%) reported that they were using AETL in their state

standards. Three states (7%) stated that AETL was adopted

“as is” in their state standards. Eight states (18%) reported

that AETL was used in their state curriculum guides,

while nine other states (20%) said that they had conducted

workshops for teachers on AETL.

When asked what other ways AETL was being used, 15

(34%) of the state supervisors stated that it was used as

a reference or resource and as a document to provide

guidance to local school districts.

Question 7: Assessments Based on STL in States

Question 7 asked “Are you doing Standards for

Technological Literacy (STL) assessments in your states at

this time?” The responses are presented in Figure 7.

Seven states (15% of those reporting) stated that they were

doing STL assessments in their state at this time. There

were 39 states (85%) that reported they were not doing STL

assessments in their state currently.

6. Have you used Advancing Excellence in Technological Literacy: Student Assessment, Professional Development,

and Program Standards (AETL) in any of the following ways?

Not used at all 11 25%

Placed in your state standards 5 11%

Adopted “as is” for your state standards 3 7%

Used in your curriculum guides 8 18%

Conducted workshops using the standards 9 20%

Other, please specify 15 34%

0% 50% 100%

Figure 6. Responses from state supervisors on Question #6.

18 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

7. Are you doing Standards for Technological Literacy assessments in your state at this time?

Yes 7 15%

No 39 85%

Total 46 100%

0% 50% 100%

Figure 7. Responses from state supervisors on Question #7.

State supervisors were asked to provide elaborations to their

responses on assessments, which were:

• We have code that indicates all non-standardized tested

areas by standards have to be assessed at the local level

and results available for public inspection.

• We test technology/engineering at Grades 5, 8, and high


• Assessment is done at the high school level when

students complete a sequence of 3-4 courses in a career

pathway “Technology/Pre-Engineering.”

• By April 2008, concentrator exams will be developed.

• Assessments are done at the individual school level.

• Some schools use STL assessments.

• This supervisor was concerned about this and needs

ITEA’s help on what to do in the future.

• Using Aims test.

No statewide assessments of TE. Local school districts

are working to develop their own assessments.

Voluntary assessments.

• We are working on this now.

Question 8: Descriptions of Secondary School Level

Technology Education Curriculum in States

When asked, “What course titles best describe the secondary

school technology education curriculum taught in your

state?”, state supervisors provided a wide variety of answers.

Many stated that the local school districts have the

responsibility to provide course titles. The most frequent

response was “technology education.” Some states reported

that they used the ITEA/CATTS course titles at the middle

and high schools. See Table 1B and the state “notes section”

after Table 1B for some state-by-state course titles.

Question 9: State Curriculum Guides in Technology


Question 9 was “Do you have a technology education state

curriculum guide(s)?” The responses provided are given in

Figure 8.

Twenty-seven states (59% of those reporting) answered that

they had technology education curriculum guides. There

were 19 states (41%) that reported they did not have any

curriculum guides for technology education.

Question 10: Sources of Technology Education Funding

in States

ITEA wished to determine the source(s) of funding for

technology education programs in states. Question 10 was

“What best describes where technology education program

funding comes from in your state (i.e., relationships to local,

state, and national programs)?”

All of the 46 state supervisors (100%) who responded

provided input to this question (four states did not respond).

The largest response provided, by a great majority, was

that states receive a combination of local, state, and federal

(Perkins) funds for their technology education programs

(20 states or 43.5% reported this). (See Figure 9.) Eight

states (17.4%) reported that they used local funds solely

for funding technology education programs. There were

9. Do you have a technology education state curriculum guide?

Yes 27 59%

No 19 41%

Total 46 100%

0% 50% 100%

Figure 8. Responses from state supervisors on Question #9.

19 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

10. What best describes where technology education program funding comes from in

your state (i.e., relationships to local, state, national programs?

Technology Education Funding Sources # %

Local (only) 8 17.4 %

Local and State 4 8.7 %

Local and Federal 1 2.2 %

State (only) 2 4.3 %

State and Federal 7 15.2 %

Federal (only) 4 8.7 %

Local, State, and Federal 20 43.5 %

TOTAL 46 100 %

Figure 9. Sources of funding for technology education programs in states.

seven additional states (15.2%) that reported using state

and federal funds for technology education programs. Four

states (8.7%) use local and state funds, while four other

states (8.7%) reported using only federal dollars to fund

technology education programs. There were two states

(4.3%) that reported using state funds only for technology

education programs. Finally, there was one state (2.2%)

that used local and federal dollars to fund its technology

education programs.


It was disappointing that all states did not respond to the

2006-07 ITEA Status Study. Even with 46 states (92%)

reporting, some questions were skipped or not fully


The increase in the number of states that include technology

education in the state framework may indicate that, as a

nation, we are placing increasing importance on technology

education as part of the overall learning experience. This

trend is likely instigated by research on the increasing need

for a technologically literate populace. (ITEA, 1996; ITEA,

2006; ITEA, 2000/2002; ITEA, 2003, ITEA, 2004; ITEA,

2005, ITEA, 2006; NAE & NRC, 2002; and the two ITEA

Gallup Polls: Rose and Dugger, 2002 and Rose, Dugger,

Gallup, and Starkweather, 2004).

As was stated in the 2004 article on this ITEA research,

requiring technology education is another issue. The

same number of states (12 in 2004 and 12 in 2007) require

technology education (either at the state level or the local

level). This is somewhat disappointing since ITEA has a

vision that the study of technology is important and vital for

all students. The bottom line is that technology education is

still an elective in most states.

The number of technology teachers in the U.S. reported in

this 2007 study was 25,258. This number was based on input

from 40 states. In the 2004 study, 49 states provided data

that there were 35,909 teachers. Naturally, with the data

missing from 10 states in 2007, the number of technology

education teachers was much lower than what was reported

earlier. An unofficial estimate of teachers, based on the data

provided by the states that reported in 2004, indicates that

probably we may have had approximately 30,500 technology

teachers in the U.S. in 2006-2007. Again, it was very

disappointing that 10 states could not or would not provide

a more accurate count of the number of technology teachers

in their state.

STL is being used by a majority (over 91%) of states as a

model for developing state technology education standards.

Additionally, 11 states reported that they had adopted STL

“as is” for their state technology education standards. It is

positive news that 22 states used STL in their curriculum

guides for technology education, and 18 states reported that

they had conducted workshops on STL. Only one supervisor

reported that STL was not being used at all in her/his state.

AETL is not being used as widely as STL at the state level.

There were 29 states (63%) that reported using AETL in

2007. STL was published in 2000 (and reprinted in 2002)

and AETL was published in 2003. Only 13 states reported

that they were not using AETL at all in their state.

Assessing technological literacy based on STL is only

being done by seven states. There were 39 states reporting

20 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

that they were not doing standards-based assessments at

this time. Several states said that they were working on

assessments currently.

There were a myriad of responses on course titles for

technology education curriculum at the secondary school

level. The most frequent “umbrella” name given was

“technology education.”

Twenty-seven states reported that they have technology

education curriculum guides. There were 19 states that said

they did not have curriculum guides.

Regarding sources of funding for technology education

programs in states, 20 states out of the 46 reporting stated

that they use a combination of funding from the local,

state, and federal (Perkins) levels. The next most frequent

listing (by eight states) was the use of local (only) funding.

Additionally, two other states use state (only) funding for

their technology education programs. The other sources of

funding are presented in Figure 9.

Another replication of this research needs to be done in


This 2006-07 survey data and the implications of that

data reinforce the need for continued dissemination and

implementation of STL and AETL, with an emphasis on

professional development and outreach efforts. There

are now valuable new tools available to help the states

in the implementation of STL and AETL. These are the

four “Addenda” for the ITEA standards on assessing

students, professional development of teachers, structuring

standards-based technology education programs, and

developing standards-based technology education

curriculum. (See References.) Additionally, ITEA has

developed a new video series on STL, AETL, and the

Addenda, available at


ITEA. (1996). Technology for all Americans: A rationale and

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

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

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

ITEA. (2003). Advancing excellence in technological literacy:

Student assessment, professional development, and

program standards. Reston, VA: Author.

ITEA. (2004). Measuring Progress: A Guide to Assessing

Students for Technological Literacy. Reston, VA: Author.

ITEA. (2005) Developing Professionals: Preparing Technology

Teachers. Reston, VA: Author.

ITEA. (2005) Planning Learning: Developing Technology

Curricula. Reston, VA: Author.

ITEA. (2005) Realizing Excellence: Structuring Technology

Programs. Reston, VA: Author.

ITEA. (2006). Technological literacy for all: A rationale and

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

Meade, S. & Dugger, W. E. (2004). Reporting on the status of

technology education in the U.S. The Technology Teacher,

64(2), pp. 29-35.

National Academy of Engineering (NAE) & National

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

Why all Americans need to know more about technology.

(G. Pearson & T. Young, Eds.). Washington, DC: National

Academy Press.

Ndahi, H. B. & Ritz, J. M. (2003). Technology education

teacher demand, 2002-2005. The Technology Teacher,

62(7), pp. 27-31.

Newberry, P. B. (2001) Technology education in the U.S.: A

status report. The Technology Teacher, 61(1), pp. 1-16.

Rose, L. C. & Dugger, W. E. (2002). ITEA/Gallup poll reveals

what Americans think about technology. The Technology

Teacher, 61(6) (Insert).

Rose, L. C., Gallup, A. M., Dugger, W. E., & Starkweather,

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

poll and what it reveals as to how Americans think about

technology. The Technology Teacher, 64(1) (Insert).

William E. Dugger, Jr., Ph.D., DTE is the

Senior Fellow at ITEA and was formerly

Director of ITEA’s Technology for All

Americans Project from 1994-2005. He

can be reached via email at wdugger@

Special thanks to Catherine James at ITEA for her

considerable work in utilizing Zoomerang, sending out

questionnaires, and compiling data for this research.

Complete data tables may be accessed at: www.

Reprints may be ordered by calling 703-860-2100 or by


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21 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Think You’re Prepared?

Think Again.

If you don’t have THE technological literacy standards document for

student assessment, professional development, and programs, you’re

not fully prepared to implement standards-based learning in your K-12


Advancing Excellence in Technological Literacy is the companion document

to Standards for Technological Literacy and, like STL, is based on the

vision that all students can and should become technologically literate.

For the month of September, when you

order AETL, you will receive a copy of the

accompanying Executive Summary, FREE!

Advancing Excellence in Technological Literacy: Student Assessment,

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Shipping fees apply.

Classroom Challenge

Ms. D. and Harry and the “Single

Sheet of Paper” Challenge

By Ginny D’Antonio and Harry T. Roman


Ms. D. and Harry have been working together for seven

years. She is an eighth grade science teacher at Abington

Avenue Grammar School in Newark, NJ, and he is a retired

research engineer and inventor who went to the school back

in the 1950s. Together they motivate students to stretch

beyond the normal classroom activities into the realm of

open-ended problem solving, hands-on demonstrations, and

team-based design challenges.


Nothing sticks in the mind of a student like a topically

relevant example of how to use what was just learned.

Several times a year, we team up to drive educational points

home in an unforgettable fashion. Over the last five years a

variety of special two-hour programs have been conducted

with the students:

• Measuring and analyzing the output of a solar-electric


• Statistical analysis of student physical dimensions

• Design of a new board game

• Design of an anti-theft car system

• Design of a robot to assist the handicapped

• Famous NJ inventions and inventors and their impacts

on life

However, the all-time favorite activity of the students is the

“single sheet of paper challenge,” which is the main subject

of this article. Here is an account of the activity as we most

recently conducted it in May 2007.

Getting Started

This team activity is best served with four to five members

per team. Make sure to divide your students into equally

balanced teams with both head- and hand-learners on each

team, so they can learn from each other.

It’s a simple design challenge…

Each team may do whatever it wants to a single sheet of

paper, just so long as it supports their history book one inch

off the table.

We suggest using some Xerox-machine-quality paper for

the exercise and also have some scissors, a little tape, and

some things like rulers, pencils, and other readily available

objects. It will be okay for them to use a little tape, but not

excessive amounts of it. The key is to get the paper to do

the work.

Making It Happen

All teams usually begin by trying to manipulate the paper

so as to increase its strength. There is not a great deal of

deductive reasoning at this point as most teams are anxious

to crumple, fold, twist, and bend paper to get the challenge

underway. The teams are running on instinct at this point

and flying by the seat of their pants. In almost all cases,

students ignore the “one inch” criteria…but for now that

is okay.

23 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Team prepares to start stacking books. Two students dream of setting a record. Author steadies book-stacking student.

Generally, students end up crumpling the paper and trying

to see if that will let them support the book. We usually

walk around with a ruler, doling out the bad news about that

pesky “one inch” request. It seems most students are much

more concerned with simply supporting the book, rather

than meeting the “one inch” requirement.

Students also often fold the paper into a long strip and

usually tape it into a cylindrical form and then attempt to

balance the book on this shell of paper. Again, our trusty

ruler reveals a continued lack of respect for the “one inch”

criteria. Some students, at this stage, will try to add more

books to their paper foundation to see how many books they

can support. The urge to compete is great. We keep pushing

them to meet that “one inch” criteria.

A team or two may, just by luck, hold a book off the table at

one inch or maybe a bit more—but purely by luck. They may

also become adept at balancing about four to eight books

on a shell of paper. Here is where they resort to the tape to

make the paper immune to crumpling. Eventually they fail

at maybe 10-12 books. At this point we call a breather and

inject some tips about thinking the problem through…

“All teams….listen-up! That ‘one inch’ request is

important. You need to pay attention to it. We notice

that many of you are having trouble balancing the

books on your single paper support. Think about

how you can make that book more stable. How are

things supported in the real world? What makes a

table so strong? We said you must use no more than

a single sheet of paper. We set an upper limit on

what you can use—not a lower limit. Now let’s resume

our challenge.”

Trying Even Harder

At this point some lights go on, and the students realize they

can cut the single sheet of paper to make supports for the

corners of their book. Some teams choose a triad design as

well, using three supports instead of four.

Away we go again with the urge to pile books up. Alas, the

“one inch” request still gets little serious play. Teams are

back to crumpling and folding paper furiously. Now they

might by luck get 12-18 books off the table, but they are far

from the “one inch” criteria. Frustration starts to set in as

teams bend the rules, trying to force a solution. Lots of

tape will be used in a vain effort to make the paper very

strong. Or some students will try using more than one sheet

of paper.

It’s now time for Harry’s talk on engineering. Tearing a piece

of cardboard, students see why the cardboard is so strong.

The inside is a rolled and glued column-like structure.

We discuss how this type of construction provides great

strength—emphasizing that the columns of paper running

through the sheets of cardboard perform the same function

as columns in a building. Engineers have built cardboard

structures so strong that they can hold up battle tanks.

Surely, this class can design some paper structure that can

hold up some books…one inch off the table.

We now focus hard on the “one inch” criteria. This is where

engineers start—with the specifications about exactly

what is needed. The “one inch” is what gets the planning

process started, because planning comes before building

anything. In fact, more than 50% of any project is analysis

and planning. The rest is pretty straightforward. But here in

class, it seems to be all building and no planning.

Soon the teams are experimenting with columns, and

eventually they begin constructing columns from one inch

strips of paper they measure and cut from a single sheet of

paper. As they learn how to make the columns nice and tight

and seal them with a little tape, the number of books they

can support radically increases…all while meeting the

24 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Uh-oh. Things are getting a bit wobbly! Teamwork in progress. A new record is set!

“one-inch” criteria. Flushed with success, the kids now

scramble for books; and if they don’t get over-anxious—and

load them up carefully…we’re talking something like 25-

40 books nicely piled up and still exactly “one inch” off the

table. We use the floor at this point for the column test,

as it is much easier to stack the books that way. Desks can

wobble under the weight of the books.

In the pictures accompanying this article, readers can

see that the enthusiastic students were able to support

a new record of 52 books. The old record was 42 books,

established back in 2004 by an all-girl team. In establishing

this new record, we almost ran out of books, so innovative

students figured out how many five-pound history books

equal the weight of a small student, and up that student

went onto the existing pile of books—with several more

books in hand as well!

The Summing Up

This exercise reinforces the following points:

1) The key to success is in the details and the specifications

given about what the solution must satisfy.

2) Those specification details drive the design challenge, and

hence the analysis and planning for a successful project.

3) We all want to “do” the challenge, and get caught up

in the excitement. The right thing is to step back and

understand the problem.

4) Jumping around, trying one thing and then another, just

wastes time and makes for frustration.

5) Real creativity starts with understanding exactly what the

specifications are and innovating around them.

This is an exercise where hand-learners can often shine—

able to see solutions before their book-learner counterparts.

In the challenge activity discussed here, one student almost

immediately started making columns. When asked what

made him think of that, he replied, “I saw a TV show about

how buildings are built, and that is the first thing I thought

of when you challenged us to support a book.” In his mind,

the activity was akin to building a structure, an exact

analogy. This is why it is so important to have both headand

hand-learners on each team.

Have fun with this activity, and remember…the key is in the

details and that one-inch specification; and have plenty of

books on hand!

Book-stacking champs pose for a picture.

Ginny D’Antonio Livingston grew up

in East Orange, NJ and attended Kean

University. She is the mother of four children

and has coached boys baseball and soccer.

She is a former president of the Livingston

Babe Ruth League and Big L Booster Club.

Ginny has taught eighth grade science and

social studies at Abington Avenue for 12 years. Additional

hobbies include running, kickboxing, bicycling, and hiking.

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.


25 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

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States’ Career Clusters Initiative, 2006

A Model Technology Educator:

Thomas A. Edison

By William S. Pretzer, George E. Rogers, and

Jeffery Bush

Recognizing Edison’s

incorporation of team-based,

cooperative learning into his

development process is essential

to appreciating his success and

his influence today.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, there is a software design firm

called Menlo Innovations. Rich Sheridan, the founder,

has modeled his firm’s operations after Thomas Edison’s

practices at his Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory

between 1876 and 1882; thus, the firm’s name. Sheridan

was inspired, he says, by visiting the installation of Edison’s

Menlo Park laboratory in Greenfield Village in Dearborn,

Michigan. He has gained further insight by closely reading

Working at Inventing: Thomas A. Edison and the Menlo Park

Experience (Pretzer, 1989), a collection of essays on Edison’s

work practices. Sheridan walks around with copies of Edison

biographies and excitedly points out where he has marked

ideas, practices, events, or experiences that his firm shares

with Edison’s.

The firm is housed in a single-room storefront, with walls

festooned with posters and insightful quotes from various

inventors. A small library with comfortable chairs faces the

street. Workers sit at long tables stretching the length of the

room in full view and hearing of others. Pairs, sometimes

trios, of young programmers share a single computer,

batting ideas back and forth as quickly as a Pong machine.

Students from the University of Michigan wander in and

are invited to sit in on work sessions. Sometimes they show

up repeatedly, taking advantage of the informal internship

opportunity. More than one has been contacted months

later and offered work. The three-year-old firm now does

more than $3 million a year in business and is expanding

from its one-room storefront space to a large, open loft that

Sheridan calls his “West Orange” (Edison’s second and much

larger laboratory established in West Orange, New Jersey in

1886). Sheridan himself has been featured on the cover of

Fortune magazine. Are there lessons in this Edison-inspired

environment for today’s technology educators?

Thomas Edison: role model for today’s technology educator.

Edison: An Inspirational Role Model

Reflecting back over a century ago to the small village of

Menlo Park, New Jersey provides insight into a remarkable

27 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

visionary and an exceptional role model for today’s problemsolving

and design-focused technology educator: Thomas A.

Edison, inventor, innovator, and model technology educator.

Since Edison could not simply apply existing knowledge

to industrial ends, he was forced to develop a system for

creating new knowledge, disseminating it amongst his team,

and then discovering how to apply that new knowledge. His

was not just a research and development operation, it was a

learning community.

The key to capitalizing on Edison’s success as an inventor

and educator is to recognize that he pioneered a systematic,

but flexible, team-based approach to inventing, designing,

and problem-solving. Edison was famous for once

commenting about his Menlo Park facility, “We don’t have

any rules here; we’re trying to get something done.” Edison

nevertheless followed a general pattern in his work.

Choosing to tackle a technological project, Edison first

determined that there was indeed public demand for a

solution. Early in his career, he learned that there was no

need to invent something that no one was willing to pay

for. Market research was still unheard of, so Edison gauged

interest from the public reactions to other inventors’

activities and the level of support from investors.

He then researched what was known and previously

attempted in addressing the issues at hand. Often this

entailed sending a young associate to the library he

maintained at Menlo Park to research a topic in technical

literature and public media, with instructions to report

directly to Edison everything the associate had learned

about a topic in two weeks or so. Many technology

educators today employ a similar, project-based system

for directing student research.

Next, Edison determined a general research direction—a

mental model—that seemed, based on his own and others’

experience, to offer the most promise. Breaking the

problem down into discrete pieces but never losing sight

of the systemic character of technology, Edison’s team

members learned from each investigational experiment and

narrowed their approach as they went. Edison organized

space at the laboratory to facilitate this process. The first

floor was segmented into specific rooms for specific

analytical processes: chemistry, ore assays, photometric

measurements, etc. The second floor utilized open-space

architecture, with tables and equipment organized so that

his dozen or so closest associates were constantly seeing and

hearing what others were doing. Edison moved from table to

table discussing progress and offering ideas.

Once solutions were developed and proven, Edison

investigated methods of manufacturing the product and

redesigned the product for manufacturability. He was never

interested in the unique scientific finding but rather in

the ubiquitous use of his inventions. He refined the initial

invention to simplify and standardize its parts as much as

possible, often using ideas developed during work on other

inventions. He often developed and patented innovative

mechanisms for the mass-production of his breakthrough

technologies: the telephone microphone, the phonograph,

and the electric lighting system. Students using design

journals in class will find this practice very familiar. They

also may find additional methods for making the most of

their journals by studying Edison’s actual journals, available

on the web from The Thomas A. Edison Papers Project at

Rutgers University (

Finally, Edison recognized from the beginning that

he needed to promote his projects through the use of

appropriate language and other symbols in exhibitions and

demonstrations, technical journals, the popular press, and

the artifacts themselves. He modeled new technologies,

such as the electric lighting system, after well-known and

widely accepted systems, such as the gas lighting system. He

described his inventions in idioms that mirrored commonly

understood language. He insisted on high levels of visual

fit-and-finish (craftsmanship), even when the item was

for display purposes only and, of course, his recognizable

signature became the brand icon for his innovations.

In all of this, Edison seldom acted alone. In fact, Edison’s

insights into the diverse resources needed for competitive

inventing were as important as his technical virtuosity.

Edison’s role was to articulate the opportunity and the

obstacles, acquire the financing, procure the equipment,

materiel, and skilled labor, provide technical insights at

critical times, and orchestrate the entire process. It was a

bravura performance over a 50-year career of productive

innovation. And it not only produced technological

innovations, but completely new industries (such as electric

utilities and equipment manufacturers) and an entire

generation of electro-mechanical technologists.

Recognizing Edison’s incorporation of team-based,

cooperative learning into his development process is

essential to appreciating his success and his influence

today. Edison’s attention to communicating clearly about

his inventions in a variety of technical and popular media

established a pattern that continues to this day. Steeping

students in professional design journals, technical and

marketing manuals, and patent office records as well

28 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

as other technological literature is an effective method

of illustrating different communication systems and

introducing learners to contemporary technological

issues. As leader of his learning community, Edison saw to

it that his associates had access to an unending series of

challenging projects and intriguing questions. He also made

sure that they had sources of reliable information as well as

the tools and equipment and raw materials they needed to

address those questions.

Just as technology continually evolves, so do the

characteristics of effective technology educators. From

their beginnings as unit shop teachers in Victor Della Vos’s

Imperial Moscow Technical School to Lois Mossman’s

vision of industrial arts as a social science to the multiactivity

teachers of the Industrial Arts Curriculum Project

to facilitators of problem-solving-based contemporary

technology education, technology educators have adjusted

to the dynamic content of the discipline and the changing

needs of their students. In today’s world of rapid innovation,

technology education programs are emphasizing process

skills as much as content knowledge. Accordingly, the

technology education curriculum and instructional

methodology increasingly focus on developing capability

in knowing how to design and develop an idea to satisfy

a need.

One characteristic of technology education teachers

throughout these various curricular changes has been the

teacher’s focus on allowing his or her students to expand

their knowledge and skills via creative and innovative

activities and projects. As technology teacher educators

strive to develop “highly qualified” teachers for the twentyfirst

century, it may serve the profession well to learn from

the past rather than focus on the current challenges posed

by legislative mandates.

Long considered the “inventor’s inventor,” Edison has

become a role model for various other “real world”

activities. As Brown (1985) documented in Inventors at

Work, many contemporary inventors and technologists have

drawn inspiration and lessons from Edison’s work. More

recently, Edison’s “invention factory” has been redubbed a

“solution factory.” Jack Harich, a former computer systems

analyst, is developing social and political ideas in support

of environmental sustainability. On his organization’s

website, Harich proposes a complex but creative application

of Edison’s work processes at Menlo Park as a model

for developing emergent ideas responding to issues of

sustainability and social decision-making (Harich, 2006).

Business consultants have found Edison to be a bountiful

source of ideas and approaches, useful in the everyday

world of companies, high or low tech, large or small,

technologically innovative or not. In The Edison Effect:

Success Strategies for the Information Age, Ploof (1995)

focused on the speed of information flow and processing

engendered by modern electronic systems, which he traces

back to Edison’s discovery of the flow of electrons across a

vacuum. In this context, Ploof asserts that individual workers

need to learn what to learn and what to filter out, how to

learn quickly, how to use the scientific method to problemsolve

and how to “use technology, rather than being used

by it” (Ploof, back cover). In Edison in the Boardroom: How

Leading Companies Realize Value from Their Intellectual

Assets, on the other hand, Davis and Harrison (2001)

examined the process of corporate intellectual asset

management. They rightly suggest that Edison’s image as

a technical genius working alone on little sleep should be

replaced with the image of Edison, the originator of profitdriven,

team-based, corporate “research and development”

labs. They focus on the issues that Edison’s career brought to

the fore in terms of business strategy and practice: the utility

of developing and controlling intellectual property, especially

technological knowledge, through patents, trademarks, and

copyright. Edison was a master at using these techniques to

his advantage.

Effective Teacher Characteristics

The U.S. Department of Education (2004) noted that “highly

qualified teachers matter” (p. 1). Through its legislative

channels, the U.S. Department of Education has provided

a definition of a highly qualified teacher as one who has

earned a bachelor’s degree, demonstrated a high level of

competency in the subject matter, and has passed a rigorous

state licensing examination. While these characteristics may

be easily quantified for statistical purposes, are these the

descriptors of technology education teachers who truly have

an impact on students?

Ryan (1992) noted that effective teachers engaged

students actively in the learning process, provided creative

environments conducive to learning, encouraged students to

learn independently, and provided problem-solving learning

experiences. Meanwhile, McEwan (2002) noted that

highly effective teachers were creative, open to new ideas,

empowered their students, collaborated with colleagues,

and expected the best from each student. An additional

education study indicated that human characteristics of

teachers, such as the ability to show understanding, were

rated at the top of effective teacher characteristics by high

school students (Koutsoulis, 2003).

29 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Is it a coincidence that the characteristics noted by both

Ryan (1992) and McEwan (2002) coincide with Edison’s

effective characteristics as noted by McCormick and Keegan

(2001)? McCormick and Keegan indicated that lessons

learned from Edison’s style included: innovators must be

prepared to fail; environments must encourage creativity,

stretching intellectually but not to the point of burnout;

and that play is to the innovative process as rules are to


Strangely enough, where Edison’s role as technological

inventor had once occupied a significant place in American

history texts, he now barely merits a mention. In part,

at least, this disinterest is encouraged by the national

history standards’ focus on the broad social impacts of

technological change rather than the causes and creators

of technological innovation. This is another reason to be

cautious in allowing national standards to unilaterally drive

teaching and learning. Edison continues to inspire scholarly

and popular works of history, but these generally fail to find

their way to middle school and high school students. This is

unfortunate, for understanding Edison’s experience clearly

has much to offer individuals interested in technology and


Implications for the Profession

The overlapping themes in Edison’s disposition and style

depict highly desirable characteristics of technology

education teachers. Ideally the technology education

teacher will have the mindset that he or she is not

satisfied with repeating the same activity, but rather,

is continuously seeking different contexts to enhance

the realism and authenticity of the learning experience.

The practicing teacher should strive to set parameters that

cause the journey through the process to be as unique as

possible for each learner. The instructional approach and

methods should reflect patterns of proven strategies and

techniques, but the intimacy of the learner’s experience

should be as unique for each student as possible.

Teachers should allow, even encourage, failure in the design

and innovation process. By allowing failure, technology

education teachers are encouraging creativity and critical

thinking. They are positioning their students to develop

an understanding of the characteristics and nature of

technology, the rationale for science, and the need for

mathematics so well that innovative applications develop

when circumstances demand it. Technology education

teachers should establish learning environments that

promote student creativity and imagination, and include

real-world problems related to their community.

Table 1

Characteristics of an Edison-Inspired Technology

Education Teacher

• Encourages cooperation and teamwork

• Provides open communications

• Provides a non-restrictive learning environment

• Provides reference and resource materials

• Supports, even encourages, failures in order to

analyze and learn from them

• Involves analytical analysis

• Emphasizes quality and craftsmanship

• Incorporates lateral thinking and comparisons

between technological systems

• Insists on prototyping and authentic testing of

potential solutions

Technology education teachers are versed in

design, problem-solving, invention, innovation, and

experimentation, plus research and development

(International Technology Education Association, 2003).

In order for the discipline to take the lead in educational

reform, technology education might benefit by mentoring

its future educators on the experiences of innovators like

Thomas A. Edison. This standard for the profession will

overshadow the current legislation’s definition of a “highly

qualified teacher” and provide the nation’s students the

environment to develop the requisite skills for today’s

technological society.


Brown, K. A. (1988). Inventors at work. Buffalo, NY:

Microsoft Press.

Davis, J. L. & Harrison, S. S. (2001). Edison in the

boardroom: How leading companies realize value from

their intellectual assets. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Accessed March 27, 2007 from


Harich, J. (2006). Analytical activism: A new approach to

solving the sustainability problem. Clarkson, GA: Thwink.


International Technology Education Association. (2003).

Advancing excellence in technological literacy: Student

assessment, professional development, and program

standards. Reston, VA: Author.

Koutsoulis, M. (2003). The characteristics of the effective

teacher in Cyprus Public High School: The students’

perspective. Paper presented at the annual meeting of

30 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

the American Educational Research

Association. Chicago, IL. (ERIC

Document Reproduction Service No.


McCormick, B. & Keegan, J. P. (2001). At

work with Thomas Edison. New York:


McEwan, E. K. (2002). Ten traits of highly

effective teachers. Thousand Oaks, CA:

Corwin Press.

Ploof, R. (1995). The Edison effect: Success

strategies for the information age.

Leawood, KS: Cypress Publishing


Pretzer, W. S. (1989, reprint 2002).

Working at inventing: Thomas A.

Edison and the Menlo Park Experience.

Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins

University Press.

Ryan, C. (1992). Advising as teaching.

Paper presented at the annual meeting

of the National Academic Advising

Association. Atlanta, GA.

U.S. Department of Education. (2004).

The secretary’s third annual report

on teacher quality: Meeting the

highly qualified teachers challenge.

Washington, DC: Author.

Jeffery Bush is the design

and technological studies

consultant for Oakland

Schools in Waterford, MI.

He can be reached at Jeff.

William S. Pretzer,

Ph.D. is associate

professor of History and

Director of the Museum

of Cultural and Natural

History at Central

Michigan University,

Mount Pleasant, MI. He can be reached at

This is a refereed article.

George E. Rogers,

Ph.D. is professor

and coordinator of


teacher education at

Purdue University in

West Lafayette, IN. He can

be reached at rogersg@

31 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Model Program:

Brillion High School, Brillion, WI

Submitted by Steve Meyer

The rebuilding proved

successful, as enrollment in

the program has tripled in the

past two years.

The Brillion School District is located in Brillion,

Wisconsin, approximately 20 miles south of Green

Bay in the heart of the Fox Valley. Brillion High School

(BHS) has approximately 330 students in Grades

9–12. Brillion is home to approximately 3000 residents.

Interestingly, Brillion also serves as the headquarters of

three major manufacturing companies (Ariens Company,

Endries International, and Brillion Ironworks). Collectively

these companies employ almost as many workers as the

entire city’s population. This, coupled with the proximity to

the manufacturing-rich Fox Valley Area (Neenah, Menasha,

Appleton, Kaukauna, Green Bay, etc.) and the extremely

innovative Fox Valley Technical College, lends itself to many

rich resources to use in the teaching of a contemporary

technology and engineering curriculum. According to

technology and engineering instructor Steve Meyer, the

community of Brillion is “a technology and engineering

teacher’s heaven.”

The driving force of the Brillion Technology and

Engineering Department is:

To Create Innovative Thinkers and Doers!

The goal of the program is to create technologically literate

young people who have the skills, knowledge, and innovative

ways of thinking that will allow them to be successful

in all future employment, citizenship, and education

opportunities. The curriculum and facility are continually

developing to meet this ever-changing goal.

Brillion High School’s entry at the Fox Valley Technical

College Supermileage Challenge.

In the past four years, the district has gone through a major

philosophical change. Just four years ago, the curriculum

was based mainly on traditional skill development in the

areas of auto mechanics and woods. The curriculum is

now based on design, engineering, and innovation, with

over two-thirds of the school population taking classes

32 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

in automation, invention, engineering design, computeraided

modeling and manufacturing, robotics, electronics,

material science, etc. The curriculum has been developed

and is continually improving with the aid of Standards for

Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology

(ITEA 2000/2002) as a guide. With the use of the content

standards, virtually all student experiences are based on the

following curriculum model:

Brillion School District Curricular Framework

Technology and Engineering Education

• Introduction to new content

• New content experience

• New content application: students given open-ended

design problem or opportunity to solve

• Research and modeling of solutions to the problem/


• Fabrication of a prototype

• Testing

• Presentation and Reflection

A typical student experience following this pattern may

include (example from automation class):

1. Students receive new content covering control

technology and the use of microcontrollers in society.

2. Students program microcontrollers to control a stoplight,

using computer simulation software.

3. Students are given the problem/opportunity to create a

new automated device.

4. Students research current automated devices, electronics,

etc. and invent a new device to solve a human need or


5. Students develop and test a working prototype of the


6. Students present the device to the class as though they

were proposing their product to a board of directors at an

automation company.

By following this pattern, students are continually

exposed to innovation and the integration of technology,

engineering, and other disciplines such as mathematics,

the sciences, English, and history. Examples of automated

devices invented by students include the examples listed


• Gas grill that weighs the cut of meat and cooks it for the

appropriate amount of time

• Guitar trainer

• Duck decoy system

• Parallel-parking vehicle

• Can crusher

• Vehicle lighting system

• Livestock feeding system

In order to meet the needs of this curriculum and the

number of students involved in the program, the BHS

Technology and Engineering Department is receiving a

Students present the flow process of their

product during an enterprise class.

Cardboard prototype of a supermileage


Automated devices

designed and fabricated

in the Robotics and

Automation class.

33 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Dan Ariens of Ariens Company sits on a chopper motorcycle

designed and built by BHS students.

major revamping and additional technology wing. A local,

award-winning manufacturing company, Ariens Company,

is playing a major role in developing the Brillion program

and promoting our field across the nation.

This spring, the Ariens Company Foundation is completely

funding the construction of a new, multimillion dollar

Technology and Engineering Education Center to be added

to Brillion High School. This is an incredible gesture and an

unbelievable addition to the Brillion community. Because

of the wonderful people at Ariens Company, young people

attending Brillion High School for years to come will have

the opportunity to use one of the most state-of-the-art

facilities in Wisconsin.

The BHS Technology and Engineering Department and the

school board have been working on this initiative for the

past three years. It began with the complete revamping of

the department to create a contemporary curriculum to

reflect the content standards for technological literacy. The

rebuilding proved successful, as enrollment in the program

has tripled in the past two years. A larger, more diverse

group of students take multiple classes and are continuing

their post-secondary education at local technical colleges

and engineering universities across the state. Students

in the Brillion Technology and Engineering program are

involved in numerous state and national initiatives including

the National Center for Technology and Engineering

Education (NCETE), MIT-Lemelson InvenTeams Grant

Program, Wisconsin Supermileage Competitions, Fox

Valley Technical College Mini-Chopper Program, and many

others. The number of students in the program, along with

the innovative curriculum requirements, have created this

need to expand the current facility.

The new facility will have a 58-seat tiered lecture room, a

design room that will house computers, CNC machines,

laser engravers, electronics and robotics stations, materialtesting

equipment, and a large 4-plex material processing

lab. The renovation and addition of this facility will allow

teachers to hold multiple classes at one time, and allow

students to work on larger, more complex activities and to

work on integrated class projects with other disciplines such

as mathematics and the sciences. The facility is designed

around the curricular framework described above, not the

types of equipment available. The improved arrangement

will also create a better environment for classroom

supervision and safety.

The new addition is on track for completion for the start

of the 2007-2008 school year. A grand opening ceremony,

including renowned technology speaker Dr. Jim Bensen, is

planned for late September. Key people from industry, postsecondary

education institutes, and government will partake

in the grand opening of the new facilities. “It is my hope

and dream that this facility and grand opening event will be

the catalyst for other industries to make commitments to

the development of technology and engineering education

programs across the country,” says Steve Meyer.

The philosophy of the technology and engineering program

is not to create craftspeople, but to create individuals who

are innovative thinkers and doers. “We want the young

people who go through our program to have the skills,

knowledge, and methods of thinking that will allow them to

be successful in any future career or education opportunity,”

says Steve Meyer. The future of manufacturing and

engineering in Wisconsin and the United States requires

all workers to continually be more efficient and innovative

than the competition. The Brillion School District, along

with its industry and post-secondary education partners,

is continuously striving to provide young people with an

innovative curriculum and exciting atmosphere to meet

this important need. A special thank-you is extended to

the International Technology Education Association for its

efforts and dedication towards helping the cause. For further

information, please contact Steve Meyer at smeyer@brillion.

To submit information about your program for

publication consideration, please email kdelapaz@

34 • The Technology Teacher • September 2007

Coming in the next issue of The Technology Teacher....

“The space shuttle Endeavour blasted

off August 7, carrying seven astronauts

to orbit on a complex flight to

continue the assembly of the International

Space Station and fulfill a longstanding

human spaceflight legacy.

The 119th flight in space shuttle

history and the 22nd to the station

is unique to ITEA because one of its

crew is one of our own, ITEA member

Barbara R. Morgan.”

In the October issue of TTT, we take

a closer look at Morgan’s career, the

STS-118 mission, and the design challenges

in which ITEA has taken part.

ALSO, make plans to attend ITEA’s

70th Annual Conference in Salt

Lake City, Utah, where Barbara

Morgan will address attendees

during a special keynote address.


for more details!

Photograph by Jason Mathis.

GEICO could save you $500

a year on car insurance.

Wouldn’t that

help your

bottom line?

Special member


ITEA members could receive a special discount on GEICO car insurance.

Visit for your free rate quote and be sure to select ITEA when

asked for your affiliation.

GEICO offers you:

• Outstanding, 24-hour service online or on the phone.

• Fast, fair claim handling.

• Guaranteed claim repairs at GEICO-recommended shops.

To find out how much you could save

visit or call 1-800-368-2734 today.

Average savings information based on GEICO New Policyholder Survey data through August 2005.

Discount amount varies in some states. Some discounts, coverages, payment plans, and features are not available in all states or in all GEICO companies. One group discount

applicable per policy. Government Employees Insurance Co. • GEICO General Insurance Co. • GEICO Indemnity Co. • GEICO Casualty Co. These companies are subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway

Inc. GEICO auto insurance is not available in Mass. GEICO, Washington, DC 20076. © 2005 GEICO

Image use courtesy of Korean Railroad Technical Corporation (KRTC), an Autodesk customer.

At Autodesk, we’re committed to preparing the next generation of engineers for successful, exciting careers.

We provide educators and students access to industry-leading software and curriculum resources.

Introduce middle school students to the design process through fun and motivating projects such as designing

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Download free* student editions of Autodesk 3D design software, use

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*Free products are subject to the terms and conditions of the end-user license agreement that

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Autodesk and DesignKids are registered trademarks 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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