These guidelines are designed to help you:
- structure the development of quality resources for technology education; and
- evaluate the suitability of such resources for use in specific situations.
There seems little argument that the better the quality of resources (both human and material) used in teaching technology, the better the outcome for students. While general guidelines for the development and evaluation of teaching resources have been written by the Ministry, very little is available on aspects specific to the teaching of technology. This document aims to fill this gap.
What is a quality technology education resource?
A quality technology education resource:
Quality technology education resource materials are:
- linked with the technology curriculum in The New Zealand Curriculum in a valid and correct manner;
- technically accurate;
- culturally appropriate;
- flexible in approach;
- balanced in the content;
- user friendly and functional; and
- correctly aligned with the National Qualifications Framework where appropriate.
The technology education context
Development, evaluation and implementation of any technology education resource can only be successfully achieved with a deep understanding of the nature and intent of technology education itself. Central to this is the understanding that technological literacy is dependent on the interlinking of the three strands of the technology curriculum:
- The Nature of Technology – with a focus on developing student understanding of the key characteristics of technology as discipline, and of Technological Outcomes as a result of technological developments;
- Technological Knowledge – with a focus on developing student knowledge particular to the discipline of technology and including understandings of how and why Technological Outcomes function as they do;
- Technological Practice – with a focus on enabling students to undertake Technological Practice and examining the practice of others.
Activities in technology education should allow students to develop, enhance or explore a range of components of technology, including:
- The Characteristics of Technology – to understand technology as a purposeful intervention-by-design human activity with the potential to enhance the capability of humans to transform materials, energy and information.
- The Characteristics of Technological Outcomes – to understand such outcomes as material products and systems developed through Technological Practice to be fit for purpose.
- Technological Modelling – to understand the purpose and methods of functional modelling for the ongoing evaluation of design concepts for yet-to-be-realised Technological Outcomes and prototyping for the evaluation of the fitness for purpose of the Technological Outcome itself.
- Technological Products – to understand the relationship between the properties of materials and their performance capability in the development of technological products and the concepts underpinning material evaluation, formulation and disposal.
- Technological Systems – to understand the interconnected parts (technological products and processes) that serve to transform, store, transport or control materials, energy and/or information and the concepts underpinning systems development and maintenance.
- Brief Development – to develop practices that allow for the defining of a desired outcome to meet a need or realise an opportunity and therefore provide purpose and guidance for Technological Practice.
- Planning for Practice – to develop effective and efficient organising practices and therefore support successful Technological Practice.
- Outcome Development and Evaluation – to develop idea generation, trialling and production practices that lead to 'fit for purpose' outcomes from Technological Practice.
For explanatory papers based on each of these components – please see www.Techlink.org.nz/curriculum-support/papers/index.htm
Quality technology education resources can help teachers:
- build a positive learning environment which encourages diversity and innovation and lays the foundations for future learning in technology;
- structure tasks which motivate students to engage in and complete learning processes so that learning in technology is internalised;
- use combinations of teacher-directed groupings, co-operative groups, structured peer interaction and individual work to enhance learning cycles and encourage, scaffold and enable informed, managed learner-mentor dialogue;
- make learning processes in technology transparent, to support students in setting specific learning goals;
- reinforce the use of inclusive technological language and practices that respect cultural and gender identity;
- build constructively on students' experience and knowledge;
- make explicit links between the learning in technology and out-of-classroom situations
- increase alignment between classroom technology programmes and accepted best practice in technology education;
- enhance student motivation by providing clear information about the desired learning outcomes through effective, specific, timely, positive and responsive feedback.
- extend and improve the sustainability of school/community partnerships in technology education; and
- promote self-regulation and reflection and the use of higher order critical thinking strategies by all students.
Alton-Lee, A (2003) Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
Ministry of Education (2002) Guidelines for Developers of Curriculum Materials. Learning Media.: Wellington.
Ministry of Education (2007) The New Zealand Curriculum. Learning Media.: Wellington.