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Technological knowledge and technology education
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7778-2552
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.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831 ; 48
Keyword [en]
philosophy of technology, epistemology of technology, technology education, technological knowledge, rule of thumb, explanation
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-144875ISBN: 978-91-7595-078-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-144875DiVA: diva2:715009
Public defence
2014-06-03, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20140512

Available from: 2014-05-12 Created: 2014-04-30 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. Knowing how, knowing that, knowing technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowing how, knowing that, knowing technology
2015 (English)In: Philosophy & Technology, ISSN 2210-5433, E-ISSN 2210-5441, Vol. 28, no 4, 553-565 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A wide variety of skills, abilities and knowledge are used in technological activities such as engineering design. Together, they enable problem solving and artefact creation. Gilbert Ryle’s division of knowledge into knowing how and knowing that is often referred to when discussing this technological knowledge. Ryle’s view has been questioned and criticised by those who claim that there is only one type, for instance, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson who claim that knowing how is really a form of knowing that and Stephen Hetherington who claims that knowing that isknowing how. Neither Ryle himself nor any of his critics have discussed technological knowledge. Exposing both Ryle’s and his critics’ ideas to technological knowledge show that there are strong reasons to keep the knowing how–knowing that dichotomy in technological contexts. The main reasons are that they are justified in different ways, that Stanley’s and Williamson’s ideas have great difficulties to account for learning of technological knowing how through training, and thatknowing that is susceptible to Gettier problems, which technological knowing how is not.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2015
Keyword
technological knowledge, epistemology of technology, knowing that, knowing how, Gettier problem
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-144615 (URN)10.1007/s13347-014-0178-3 (DOI)2-s2.0-84945254261 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20160222

Available from: 2014-04-28 Created: 2014-04-28 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. How technology teachers understand technological knowledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How technology teachers understand technological knowledge
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.

Keyword
technology education, epistemology of technology, technological knowledge
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-122495 (URN)10.1007/s10798-013-9243-y (DOI)000331770700002 ()2-s2.0-84877736835 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20140224

Available from: 2013-05-23 Created: 2013-05-23 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. 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
5. Explanation and prediction in technology education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Explanation and prediction in technology education
2013 (English)In: Technology teachers as researchers: Philosophical and Empirical Technology Education Studies in the Swedish TUFF Research School / [ed] Inga-Britt Skogh, Marc J. de Vries, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2013, 33-51 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

An explanation improves understanding. In technology education, explanations are needed to increase pupils' understanding of for example technical mechanisms, artefact functions, and how technology affects society and the sciences. Explanations in technology differ from those in science due to the great importance of intentions and normative characteristics in technology. In this article, a classification system for explanations in technology education is sketched. Explanations are classified according to the characteristics of their explananda (what they are to explain), how they are presented, and what kinds of models they utilise. They are evaluated according to whether their contents fulfil their purpose, and how well they suit their audience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2013
Series
International technology education studies, 12
Keyword
technology education, epistemology of technology, modelling, explanation
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136233 (URN)978-94-6209-441-3 (ISBN)978-94-6209-442-0 (ISBN)978-94-6209-443-7 (ISBN)
Note

QC 20140224

Available from: 2013-12-04 Created: 2013-12-04 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved

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