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Consolidating concepts of technology education: From rhetoric towards a potential reality
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Learning.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1993-683x
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis focuses on the relationship between international rhetoric and classroom realities in technology education. For some time there has been widespread recognition that the intended goals for learning in the subject area have failed to manifest in enacted practices as envisioned. As the intermediary between rhetoric and reality, the technology teachers and ways of understanding their enacted practices are the focus of this work.

 

The thesis is based on four research articles which adopt theoretical and empirical approaches to investigating the technology teacher as mediator of enacted practice. In Article I, technology education in the Irish national context is investigated through technology teachers’ reflections on enacted practice. In response to a variety of situational- and systemic- factors which impede classroom practice being identified, Article II and III theorise approaches to investigating enacted practice in technology. In acknowledging the epistemological basis of technology as depicted in the extant literature, a reconceptualisation of how to utilise pedagogical content knowledge research in explaining enacted practice is put forward. Article IV returns to the technology teacher in a transnational context, whereby teachers from the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and New Zealand are interviewed in constructing a grounded theory of teachers’ purposes for teaching technology.

 

The contributions of the research are twofold. Firstly, following the identification of evidence to support the existence of rhetoric-reality tensions in technology education, an ecologically situated framework of enacted practice is put forward. The framework acknowledges how subject matter is treated in technology education in striving for more comprehensive ways of investigating enacted practice. Secondly, in taking a preliminary step toward understanding enacted practices, a grounded theory of teachers’ purposes for teaching technology is put forward. This grounded theory offers a unified model for articulating the purposes of teaching technology that prevail in classroom realities today.

Abstract [sv]

Den här avhandlingen handlar om hur diskursen iteknikundervisning förhåller sig till den undervisning som bedrivs i klassrummet i en internationell kontext. Det är känt sedan tidigare att de mål som återfinns i styrdokument för teknikundervisning till stor del inte uppfylls genom rådande klassrumspraktik. I syfte att förstå bakgrunden till denna diskrepans fokuserar det här arbetet på lärarens roll i teknikundervisningen. Läraren betraktas här som den mellanhand som omvandlar retoriken till undervisningspraktik.

 

Avhandlingen bygger på fyra forskningsartiklar som använder både teoretiska och empiriska angreppsätt för att undersöka tekniklärarens roll som förmedlare av kunskap i teknikämnet. Artikel I undersöker teknikundervisning i en irländsk kontext genom att analysera tekniklärarnas reflektioner över sin praktik i klassrummet. Studien identifierar flera faktorer som påverkar klassrumspraktiken. Artikel II och III bygger vidare på det resultat som framkom i studie I genom att teoretiskt resonera kring lämpliga metoder för att undersöka teknikämnets klassrumspraktik.

 

Genom att använda den epistemologiska utgångspunkt för teknikundervisning som speglas i litteraturen, så utformades ett nytt sätt för att använda PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge, ett etablerat ramverk som beskriver lärarens kompetens) som förklaringsmodell för att beskriva klassrumspraktik. Artikel IV återvänder i en empirisk studie till tekniklärarnas roll men denna gång med ett transnationellt perspektiv i syfte att arbeta fram en grundläggande teori om lärares mål och syften med teknikundervisning. Studien bygger på intervjuer med lärare från Irland, Sverige och Nya Zealand

 

Resultatet i denna avhandling bidrar med kunskap på två sätt

För det första, efter att ha identifierat faktorer som stärker tidigare belägg att det finns spänningar mellan målen beskrivna i styrdokumenten och klassrumspraktiken, så togs det fram ett teoretiskt ramverk för forskningsstudier om teknikundervisning. Ramverket utgör en modell som på ett nytt sätt beskriver förhållandet mellan de faktorer som påverkar klassrumsundervisningen. Modellen ger möjligheter att på ett mer omfattande sätt än tidigare studera och förstå klassrumsundervisningen utifrån lärarens perspektiv. För det andra, som ett första steg mot att förstå den rådande undervisningspraktiken presenteras en grundläggande teori kring lärares syften med undervisning i teknik. Denna grundläggande teori erbjuder en sammanhållen modell för att formulera, lyfta fram och tydliggöra syften med att undervisa teknik i den verklighet som råder i klassrummen idag.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2020. , p. 54
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2020:13
Keywords [en]
Technology education; enacted practice; Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK); teacher conceptions; and; Nature of Technology.
National Category
Educational Sciences Didactics Learning Pedagogical Work Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-272837ISBN: 978-91-7873-479-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-272837DiVA, id: diva2:1427616
Public defence
2020-06-09, https://kth-se.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bXnSCrT6Qk-qOk7GYGyIBw, http://Vid fysisk närvaro eller Du som saknar dator/ datorvana kan kontakta service@itm.kth.se (English), Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic - this defence will be partly conducted via Zoom. Information will be published online in advance of the defence. 

Available from: 2020-04-30 Created: 2020-04-30 Last updated: 2020-05-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Agendas, influences, and capability: Perspectives on practice in design and technology education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Agendas, influences, and capability: Perspectives on practice in design and technology education
2017 (English)In: International journal of technology and design education, ISSN 0957-7572, E-ISSN 1573-1804Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A philosophical shift in policy now situates the development of technological capability as the focus of Irish technology education. Internationally, the effectiveness of curricular reform in the discipline has previously been called to question, as the legacy of the preceding vocational craft subjects has been seen to throttle the evolution of practice in aligning with emergent policy. As Irish technology education shares this vocational heritage, this research seeks to explore the effectiveness of policy change through an investigation of current practices in the discipline. Specifically, this research seeks to explore the alignment of teachers’ perceptions of practice in terms of the focus of learning activities and educational outcomes as prescribed by curricula. A methodological framework was developed to explore teachers’ (n = 15) perceptions, ecologically rooted in the tasks and activities they use to teach in their classrooms. The results suggest a misalignment between what teachers conceive as important to the discipline, and their enacted practices. The paper unpacks the contentions surrounding this misalignment and discusses factors which appear to influence teachers’ perceptions, forming a greater understanding of what influences practice in the discipline.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2017
Keywords
Influences on practice, Perceptions of practice, Technological capability, Technology education
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-219602 (URN)10.1007/s10798-017-9433-0 (DOI)000456950800008 ()2-s2.0-85034211121 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20171214

Available from: 2017-12-10 Created: 2017-12-10 Last updated: 2020-04-30Bibliographically approved
2. Reconceptualising PCK research in D&T education:proposing a methodological framework to investigateenacted practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reconceptualising PCK research in D&T education:proposing a methodological framework to investigateenacted practice
Show others...
2018 (English)In: International journal of technology and design education, ISSN 0957-7572, E-ISSN 1573-1804Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Since first conceived, the concept of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) hasattracted much attention. Despite being lauded by educationalists as the unique knowledgebase of teachers, research on the concept over the past 30 years has yet to result in a universallyaccepted definition being presented. Much of the contentions surrounding the lack ofan agreed upon conception appear to have stemmed from difficulties in understanding therelationship between PCK, other areas of teacher knowledge, teacher beliefs, and enactedpractice. This paper considers the application of PCK frameworks to design and technology(D&T) education, through an analysis of the nature of the discipline from an ontologicaland epistemological perspective and contemporary perspectives on the construct of PCK.It is theorised that the volition afforded to teachers in D&T through weakly framed subjectboundaries negates the effective application of PCK frameworks, as teachers’ beliefs have agreater impact on enacted practices. In an attempt to better understanding enacted practicein D&T education, the paper proposes a methodological framework centred on the interactionsbetween teachers’ beliefs and knowledge in the discipline, through synthesising theconcept of amplifiers and filters of practice with the nature of D&T education. The proposedframework outlines the need to recognise individual teachers’ conception of capabilityas a critical influence on enacted practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2018
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-229453 (URN)10.1007/s10798-018-9456-1 (DOI)000465597500003 ()2-s2.0-85047791409 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20180611

Available from: 2018-06-04 Created: 2018-06-04 Last updated: 2020-04-30Bibliographically approved
3. Operationalising pedagogical content knowledge research in technology education: Considerations for methodological approaches to exploring enacted practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operationalising pedagogical content knowledge research in technology education: Considerations for methodological approaches to exploring enacted practice
2019 (English)In: British Educational Research Journal, ISSN 0141-1926, E-ISSN 1469-3518Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Like many areas of curricula internationally, technology education has encountered difficulties in achieving continuity between the rhetoric of prevailing policy and the reality of enacted practices. In technology education, the conceptually oriented nature of curricular goals is theorised to play a significant part in influencing this relationship. One way in which investigations of this relationship have been approached is considering the application of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) frameworks as a mechanism to understand the interaction of teachers’ knowledge and enacted practices. However, understanding from the philosophy of technology, and the technology education literature, suggests that technology education treats knowledge differently to many other disciplines. As a result of this, the interactions between teachers’ beliefs and knowledge are theorised to play a more significant role in influencing enacted practice in technology education. Building on this perspective, this article considers the need to investigate the roles of teachers’ knowledge and beliefs, and the interactions between these, in the investigation of enacted practice. Further to this, the article problematises the potential for a dominance of exploratory research, though acknowledging the need for research within different paradigms; a common frame of reference is advocated. In advocating a more holistic approach to investigating enacted practice, and the factors which may influence teachers’ enactment of teaching practice, it is envisioned that this article takes a step towards methodological coherence regarding the study of enacted practice in technology education.

Keywords
enacted practice; pedagogical content knowledge (PCK); teacher beliefs; methodological approach; technology education
National Category
Pedagogical Work Pedagogy Learning
Research subject
Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-252432 (URN)10.1002/berj.3524 (DOI)000478640200005 ()2-s2.0-85066010435 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190603

Available from: 2019-05-28 Created: 2019-05-28 Last updated: 2020-04-30Bibliographically approved
4. Subject(s) matter: A grounded theory of technology teachers’ conceptions of the purpose of teaching technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Subject(s) matter: A grounded theory of technology teachers’ conceptions of the purpose of teaching technology
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Technology education internationally has for some time struggled to achieve continuity between what is depicted in policy and curricular documents and the reality of day-to-day practices. With its focus often articulated through the nature of activity students are to engage with, technology teachers are recognised as having significantly more autonomy in the design and implementation of their practices than teachers of other subjects. From this, it is important to understand the role of teachers’ beliefs about technology education and subsequently, how their beliefs may influence enacted practices. As such, this study sought to investigate teachers’ conceptions of the purpose of teaching technology through reflection on their enacted practices. A constructivist grounded theory methodology was employed for the design of the study and analysis of data. According to our analysis, despite similarities between the nature of student activity that interviewees designed and implemented, interviewees represented the purpose of the subject in different ways. Three different conceptions of the purpose of teaching technology were identified; obtaining knowledge and skills for application, ability to act in a technological way, and ability to think in a technological way. Central to the three conceptions were contentions in the representations of what constituted subject matter knowledge in the subject, and the role that different application cases played in teaching technology. Without consideration and explicit articulation of the purposes for teaching technology, this lack of clarity and differences in rationale for teaching technology are likely to continue.

Keywords
Teacher conceptions; technology education; enacted practice; Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK); constructivist grounded theory.
National Category
Educational Sciences Didactics Learning Pedagogical Work Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-272836 (URN)
Available from: 2020-04-30 Created: 2020-04-30 Last updated: 2020-04-30Bibliographically approved

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1415161718192017 of 40
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