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Technology education and non-scientific technological knowledge
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7778-2552
2011 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of two essays and an introduction. The main theme is technological knowledge that is not based on the natural sciences.The first essay is about rules of thumb, which are simple instructions, used to guide actions toward a specific result, without need of advanced knowledge. Knowing adequate rules of thumb is a common form of technological knowledge. It differs both from science-based and intuitive (or tacit) technological knowledge, although it may have its origin in experience, scientific knowledge, trial and error, or a combination thereof. One of the major advantages of rules of thumb is the ease with which they can be learned. One of their major disadvantages is that they cannot easily be adjusted to new situations or conditions.

Engineers commonly use rules, theories and models that lack scientific justification. How to include these in introductory technology education is the theme of the second essay. Examples include rules of thumb based on experience, but also models based on obsolete science or folk theories. Centrifugal forces, heat and cold as substances, and sucking vacuum all belong to the latter group. These models contradict scientific knowledge, but are useful for prediction in limited contexts where they are used when found convenient. The role of this kind of models in technology education is the theme of the second essay. Engineers’ work is a common prototype for pupils’ work with product development and systematic problem solving during technology lessons. Therefore pupils should be allowed to use the engineers’ non-scientific models when doing design work in school technology. The acceptance of these could be experienced as contradictory by the pupils: a model that is allowed, or even encouraged in technology class is considered wrong when doing science. To account for this, different epistemological frameworks must be used in science and technology education. Technology is first and foremost about usefulness, not about the truth or even generally applicable laws. This could cause pedagogical problems, but also provide useful examples to explain the limitations of models, the relation between model and reality, and the differences between science and technology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011. , vii, 31 p.
Keyword [en]
rule of thumb, technical knowledge, technological knowledge, technology education, epistemology of technology, design process, modelling
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48237ISBN: 978-91-7501-143-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-48237DiVA: diva2:457064
Presentation
2011-12-08, Room 231, KTH, Teknikringen 78 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20111118

Available from: 2011-11-18 Created: 2011-11-16 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Technological know-how from rules of thumb
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technological know-how from rules of thumb
2011 (English)In: Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, ISSN 1091-8264, E-ISSN 1091-8264, Vol. 15, no 2, 96-109 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Rules of thumb are simple instructions, used to guide actions toward a specific result, without need of advanced knowledge. Knowing adequate rules of thumb is a common form of technological knowledge. It differs both from science-based and intuitive (or tacit) technological knowledge, although it may have its origin in experience, scientific knowledge, trial and error, or a combination thereof. One of the major advantages of rules of thumb is the ease with which they can be learned. One of their major disadvantages is that they cannot easily be adjusted to new situations or conditions.

Keyword
rule of thumb, heuristics, functional rules, technical knowledge, technological knowledge
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48236 (URN)2-s2.0-84875355113 (Scopus ID)
Note
Updated from submitted to published 20120328. QC 20120328Available from: 2011-11-16 Created: 2011-11-16 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. Engineers' non-scientific models in technology education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Engineers' non-scientific models in technology education
2013 (English)In: International journal of technology and design education, ISSN 0957-7572, E-ISSN 1573-1804, Vol. 23, no 2, 377-390 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Engineers commonly use rules, theories and models that lack scientific justification. Examples include rules of thumb based on experience, but also models based on obsolete science or folk theories. Centrifugal forces, heat and cold as substances, and sucking vacuum all belong to the latter group. These models contradict scientific knowledge, but are useful for prediction in limited contexts and they are used for this when convenient. Engineers’ work is a common prototype for the pupils’ work with product development and systematic problem solving during technology lessons. Therefore pupils should be allowed to use the engineers’ non-scientific models as well as scientific ones when doing design work in school technology. The acceptance of the non-scientific models for action guidance could be experienced as contradictory by pupils and teachers alike: a model that is allowed, or even encouraged in technology class is considered wrong when doing science. To account for this, different epistemological frameworks must be used in science and technology.Technology is first and foremost what leads to useful results, not about finding the truth or generally applicable laws. This could cause pedagogical problems, but also provide useful examples to explain the limitations of models, the relation between model and reality, and the differences between science and technology.

Keyword
technology education, technological knowledge, epistemology of technology, design process, modelling
National Category
Philosophy Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48232 (URN)10.1007/s10798-011-9184-2 (DOI)000319065200013 ()2-s2.0-84878706271 (Scopus ID)
Note

QS 2011 QS 20120328

Available from: 2011-11-16 Created: 2011-11-16 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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