Problem Solving in Real-Life Contexts: An Alternative for Design in Technology Education

Hill, Ann Marie
October 1998
International Journal of Technology & Design Education;Oct98, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p203
Academic Journal
This article focuses on one way to study technology, through technological problem solving situated in real-life contexts. In problem solving for real-life contexts, design processes are seen as creative, dynamic and iterative processes that engage exploration; join conceptual and procedural knowledge-both thought and action; and can encourage considerations to technology, human and environmental interactions. This approach is a demarcation from what is typically found in schools; design, make and appraise cycles based on closed design briefs that are teacher assigned and unrelated to the students' world. An interpretation of technology education as problem solving for real-life contexts using design processes as tools for creation and exploration offers an alternative approach to design in technology education. Alternative curriculum and instruction then emerge. Elementary and secondary school programs in technology education and teacher education can all be seen through this kind of design lens. Episodes from case studies are reported with the intent to briefly describe technology education programs in elementary and secondary schools that interpret technology education in this way. Educational implications of this approach are offered.


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