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November 2008 - Vol 68, No. 3 - International Technology and ...

November 2008 - Vol 68, No. 3 - International Technology and ...

Round three of the

Round three of the Delphi study consisted of a validation ofthe second round findings that received a mean score of 3.00or higher. Items that received a mean rating below M = 3.00were not considered to be a requisite soft skill of high schooltechnology education students. From the study’s thirdround, 16 nontechnical competencies and affective domainattributes emerged.FindingsTable 2 presents the mean ratings for the 16 validatednontechnical competencies/soft-skill attributes. Eleven ofthese competencies were rated at a mean of 3.50 or higher.The highest rated of these soft skills was the students’ abilityto communicate effectively through writing (M = 3.89, SD= 0.33). Next on the ratings were students possessing a highlevel of reading comprehension, demonstration of honesty,a willingness to learn, being open minded to new ideas,problem-solving skills, and the ability to follow directions(M = 3.78, SD = 0.44). A student’s ability to communicateeffectively through speech and their demonstration of astrong work ethic were both rated at 3.67 (SD = 0.50).Table 3 presents the soft skills that were mentioned aboveand how these skills align with current national standardsfor secondary education. It should be noted that all affectivedomain attributes or soft skillsthat participants indicatedwere desirable in engineeringand technology students at thepostsecondary level are currentlybeing included at the secondarylevel by either STL (ITEA,2000/2002/2007) or the Secretary’sCommission of AchievingNecessary Skills (SCANS): ASCANS report for America 2000(U.S. Department of Labor, 1999).This SCANS report divided thefoundation skills in to three skillsets: basic skills, thinking skills,and personal skills. In addition,some attributes are beingaddressed by both SCANS andSTL; for instance, that studentsshould demonstrate problemsolvingskills, and students shouldbe able to perform basic research.Implications for the Technology EducationClassroomAs noted by the U.S. Department of Labor (1999) andRogers (1995), affective domain personal attributes mustbe a key component of any technology education program.Communication skills were also noted as an essentialcompetency for high school graduates entering engineeringor technology programs. Programs must require in theirstudents competency in written communications, verbalcommunications, reading, honesty, strong work ethics, anda willingness to learn. Technology education teachers canstructure a design activity that requires the students to 1)work in teams, 2) organize their thoughts, 3) communicatewith team members, 4) solve a problem, 5) present theirfindings orally, and 6) evaluate their success through awritten document. This type of learning activity shouldalso cause students to work outside of their comfort zone,thereby stretching soft-skill development. These types ofproblem-based learning activities should also be formulatedacross discipline lines and must be an essential andintegrated expectation from day one through graduationand beyond.The ability to effectively present ideas to groups is a desired trait of incoming freshmen inpost-secondary engineering and technology programs.22 • The Technology Teacher • November 2008

Competency/Attributes and their Corresponding National K-12 StandardsCompetency/AttributeStudents should be able to communicate effectivelythrough writing (proper grammar).Students should possess a high level of readingcomprehension.Students should demonstrate honesty.Students should possess a willingness to learn.Students should be open-minded to new conceptsand ideas.Students should demonstrate problem-solvingskills.Students should be able to follow directions.Students should be able to communicate effectivelythrough speech (public speaking).Students should demonstrate a strong work ethic.Students should demonstrate effectiveinterpersonal communication skills.Students should possess a high level oforganizational skills.Students should be able to effectively communicatetechnical data.Students should possess a high level of computerliteracy.Students should have a basic understanding oftechnical terminology.Students should understand aspects of groupdynamics.Students should be able to perform basic research.StandardSCANS: Foundation Basic Skills WritingSCANS: Foundation Basic Skills ReadingSCANS: Foundation Personal Qualities Integrity/HonestySCANS: Foundation Thinking Skills How to LearnSCANS: Foundation Personal Qualities SociabilitySTL: Students will develop an understandingof the role of troubleshooting, research anddevelopment, invention and innovation, andexperimentation in problem solving.SCANS: Foundation Thinking Skills ProblemSolvingSCANS: Foundation Basic Skills ListeningSCANS: Foundation Basic Skills SpeakingSCANS: Foundation Personal QualitiesResponsibilitySCANS: Foundation Basic Skills ListeningSCANS: Foundation Basic Skills SpeakingSCANS: Foundation Personal Qualities SelfManagementSCANS: Foundation Basic Skills WritingSTL: Students will develop the abilities to use andmaintain technological products and systems.STL: Students will develop an understanding ofand be able to select and use information andcommunication technologies.STL: Students will develop an understanding ofthe core concepts of technology.SCANS: Foundation Personal Qualities SocialSCANS: Foundation Personal Qualities ReasoningSTL: Students will develop an understandingof the role of troubleshooting, research anddevelopment, invention and innovation, andexperimentation in problem solving.Table 323 • The Technology Teacher • november 2008

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