Technology Education in South Africa: Evaluating an Innovative Pilot Project

Stables, Kay; Kimbell, Richard
March 2001
Research in Science Education;Mar2001, Vol. 31 Issue 1, p71
Academic Journal
Researchers from Goldsmiths College were asked to undertake an evaluation of a three year curriculum initiative introducing technology education, through a learner-centred, problem solving and collaborative approach. The program was developed in a group of high schools in the North West Province of South Africa. We visited ten schools involved in the project and ten parallel schools not involved who acted as a control group. We collected data on student capability (demonstrated through an innovative test activity) and on student attitudes towards technology (demonstrated in evaluation questionnaires and in semi-structured interviews). Collectively the data indicate that in areas of knowledge and skill and in certain aspects of procedures (most notably problem solving) the project has had a marked impact. We also illustrate that greater consideration could have been given in the project to developing skills in generating and developing ideas and in graphic communication. Gender differences are noted, particularly in terms of positive attitudes illustrated by both boys and girls from schools involved in the project. Attention is drawn to the critical impact the project has had on transforming the pedagogy of the teachers from a teacher-centred didactic model, to a learner-centred, problem solving model. Some wider implications of the successes of this project are debated.


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