Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Change* is hard, but it happens – sometimes imperceptibly. Sometimes I have to remind myself to see the change around me.
Yet, change is hard to notice when it takes place via revolutionary rather than evolutionary processes. Sometimes we are fooled with new labels but old, very old, substance.
Foster (1994) laments the lack of change as technology education tried to commandeer industrial arts. I was impressed that industrial arts education had for nearly a century noted the importance of helping students understand the socio-cultural implications of technology. Of course, the author made clear that noting the importance of something is very different than actually doing it.
Foster also noted that some scholars argued that the reason technology education needed to separate itself from industrial arts is to make a clean break, to start fresh. Yet, we are several decades into these efforts and over a century if we combine the two efforts (industrial arts and tech ed) and I’m not yet convinced we’ve made much progress – other than the infiltration of engineering into the science curriculum via the Next Generation Science Standards.
Perhaps separating itself from industrial arts was not enough. Maybe technology education should have separated itself from the K-12 school system altogether. Maybe some of that is starting to happen with the professional learning programs and community partnerships we’re seeing. Of course, the utilitarian perspective in that context is sure to crush any sociocultural connections we hope might be made.
Foster, P.N. (1994). Technology Education: AKA Industrial Arts. Journal of Technology Education, 5(2), 15-30.
*I am not a huge Bowie fan, but I recognize the significance of his passing. While this post was not initially inspired by his lyrics, I do hope you’ll “turn and face the strain”.