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How technology teachers understand technological knowledge
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7778-2552
2014 (English)In: International journal of technology and design education, ISSN 0957-7572, E-ISSN 1573-1804, Vol. 24, no 1, 19-38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Swedish technology teachers’ views of technological knowledge are examined through a written survey and a series of interviews. The study indicates that technology teachers’ understandings of what constitutes technological knowledge and how it is justified vary considerably. The philosophical discussions on the topic are unknown to them. This lack of a proper framework for what constitutes technological knowledge and how it is justified might affect both how curricula are interpreted and how pupils’ knowledge is assessed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 24, no 1, 19-38 p.
Keyword [en]
technology education, epistemology of technology, technological knowledge
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-122495DOI: 10.1007/s10798-013-9243-yISI: 000331770700002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84877736835OAI: diva2:622731

QC 20140224

Available from: 2013-05-23 Created: 2013-05-23 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Technological knowledge and technology education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technological knowledge and technology education
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Technological knowledge is of many different kinds, from experience-based know-how in the crafts to science-based knowledge in modern engineering. It is inherently oriented towards being useful in technological activities, such as manufacturing and engineering design.

The purpose of this thesis is to highlight special characteristics of technological knowledge and how these affect how technology should be taught in school. It consists of an introduction, a summary in Swedish, and five papers:

Paper I is about rules of thumb, which are simple instructions, used to guide actions toward a specific result, without need of advanced knowledge. One off the major advantages of rules of thumb is the ease with which they can be learnt. One of their major disadvantages is that they cannot easily be adjusted to new situations or conditions.

Paper II describes how Gilbert Ryle's distinction between knowing how and knowing that is applicable in the technological domain. Knowing how and knowing that are commonly used together, but there are important differences between them which motivate why they should be regarded as different types: they are learnt in different ways, justified in different ways, and knowing that is susceptible to Gettier type problems which technological knowing how is not.

Paper III is based on a survey about how Swedish technology teachers understand the concept of technological knowledge. Their opinions show an extensive variation, and they have no common terminology for describing the knowledge.

Paper IV deals with non-scientific models that are commonly used by engineers, based on for example folk theories or obsolete science. These should be included in technology education if it is to resemble real technology. Different, and partly contradictory, epistemological frameworks must be used in different school subjects. This leads to major pedagogical challenges, but also to opportunities to clarify the differences between technology and the natural sciences and between models and reality.

Paper V is about explanation, prediction, and the use of models in technology education. Explanations and models in technology differ from those in the natural sciences in that they have to include users' actions and intentions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. vi, 52 p.
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831 ; 48
philosophy of technology, epistemology of technology, technology education, technological knowledge, rule of thumb, explanation
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-144875 (URN)978-91-7595-078-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-03, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

QC 20140512

Available from: 2014-05-12 Created: 2014-04-30 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved

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