Rigor and Relevance in the Modern Technology Education Classroom*
As the prevalence of technology in modern society continues to grow so does the need for more rigorous and relevant Technology Education programs. It is a common misconception that the term “technology” addresses the sphere of computers and computational science. In an increasingly fast-paced and complex informational environment, this could be no farther from the truth. Technology Education is the study of technology as a holistic system – one that permeates everything the student might become involved in. Whether their interests direct them down paths that are athletic, academic, creative or business oriented, technology will impact their lives constantly on a daily basis. For the sake of accuracy we define technology as “Any way that humankind modifies the natural world.” By this definition everything from Computers to the lowliest sheet of typing paper are to be considered technology. By using a definition such as this we are able to address career and technical education from the standpoint of an engineer. That is to say that the world is replete with problem solving and life-long learning activities. From drafting to video production the Technology Education classroom is designed to prepare students to be conscientious consumers and users of technology in all facets of both their personal as well as professional lives.
Cross-Curricular by design
Subject matter in all core areas is addressed. The following are a few examples of the broad reaching nature of the Technology Education class:
-Essays are written on a regular basis in situations such as unit tests.
-Math is covered daily as a part of the modular “RCA’s.”
-Science concepts in all three middle-grades areas of study are covered from experimenting with the physical characteristics of materials and construction to the extraction of DNA from plant cells.
-Geography and Social studies are covered when discussing “appropriate technology” and sustainability.
The Take-away: All middle-grades subject matter is addressed at some point in each nine-weeks grading period. The student’s learning in other areas is bolstered and enriched by their experience in Technology Education
Day-To-Day Rigorous instruction
The importance of active participation on a daily basis cannot be stressed enough where technology education is concerned. Nearly all of the activities completed by students while in the Tech Ed environment can only be completed while in the technology lab. This is due to many factors, not the least of which is avoiding conflict with other class projects and to allow students to focus on their core material during their at-home study time. Not only do the lab actvities require the use of equipment found only within the Tech Lab, the Synergy system is supported on the local ethernet and is not available outside of class.
As a Career and Technical Education class, time management and work ethic are a part of the performance standards addressed by our class structure. It is imperative that all students remain focused and on task throughout the class period as they will be expected to do so at any type of career they aspire to work within later in life. For this reason, students are expected to perform all required tasks within their allotted (and ample) class time.
The take-away: Students are expected to keep up with and complete their daily assignments. They are given ample time and multiple attempts to do so. The more a student is able to accomplish, the greater their resultant successes will become. No assigments that are to be completed in class will allowed to be made-up, retaken or re-assessed due to a student’s inability to manage their time and resources.
Enrichment and Make-Up Work
Enrichment work is offered As a part of the rotational module curriculum. At the end of each session, students are challenged to apply what they have learned to real world situations. They are also required to research various fields of study and work within their module subject matter and report on their findings. These activities not only help students to tie their class work into their other core subject matter, they can take their learning as a whole and connect it to inspiration for future pursuits
The Take-Away: Technology education offers challenges that go far past offering students “extra-credit points.” Enrichment and challenge activities actively connect what the student is doing at school to real world decision-making present and future.
*This page is currently under construction, please check back for an update soon!