In 1994, Kirkwood, Foster, & Bartow replicated a 1983 study about the history of industrial arts. In their study, the authors concluded that industrial arts and technology education share a rich history. Given that technology itself comes out of the practical arts, I suppose this should not be surprising.
What is a bit surprising is that the authors seem to imply that the technology education movers and shakers at the time were trying to separate themselves from industrial arts education. Perhaps the technology folks wanted to claim their ideas as new when they were just putting new skins on old wine (nothing ever changes, does it?).
I am a firm believer in using historical perspectives to guide our decision-making. Yet, we have to avoid using historical perspective to view any new ideas as simply a pendulum shift. Instead, look for the funnel effect. While new ideas might look like old ideas, they should be circling ever closer to the target.
The article also made me wonder about if our continued focus on using technology for learning (educational technology) might be causing us to miss the long-held goals of industrial arts and technology education. Sure the kids are using technology, but are they thinking about technology?
Kirkwood, J.J.; Foster, P.N.; & Bartow, S.M. (1994). Historical Leaders in Technology Education Philosophy. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education. 32(1). Online.