New Solutions for European Technology Teaching

“The European Union insists that young people need to understand technology, but do Europe’s curricula and teachers meet these demands sufficiently?

The European project UPDATE has recently published peer reviewed research papers on the current situation of technology and science education in European schools. The International Journal of Technology and Design Education presents noticeable outcomes: perceptions about technology are still strongly aligned with the concept of masculinity. The research also highlights a need for more in-service and pre-service training for teachers.

The UPDATE members and their partners recommend holistic, child-centered and creative technology teaching concepts that will satisfy both the needs of girls and boys and claim for technology education as a binding component of curricula. Here, as the UPDATE members state, policy makers need to recognize that technology education is an essential aspect of any modern curriculum. Then the UPDATE recommendations could be realized more efficiently.

Creative child pedagogy guarantees effective technology education, especially for girls

Since stereotypes about gender roles originate in early childhood, teaching concepts need to be integrated into early years’ curricula (3-7).

In their paper “A Conceptual Framework for Developing the Curriculum and Delivery of Technology Education in Early Childhood” Turja et al indicate that teachers attract both genders to technology when they follow child-centred, creative and playful concepts. For this the UPDATE project presents models of play that support the dismantling of gender stereotypes.

Neglected factors: teachers’ competence and the status of technology in curricula

Regarding technology and science classes, most European countries share the same problem: teachers’ do not feel confident about teaching technology education in a modern context. Therefore teachers must be provided with the didactical skills that link to the needs of children, especially to the needs of girls.
UPDATE suggests integrating technology and gender education into curricula as a binding component. The paper “Different School Systems, Similar Problems and How to Overcome Them” by Rasinen et al offers some solutions towards more effective teacher training in the field of technology and science education.

Studies, surveys and self-images

The UPDATE papers contain surveys among elementary and secondary students that reveal different perceptions about technology and science.

“De-Constructing Technology’s Masculinity: Discovering a Missing Pedagogy in Technology Education” by Dakers et al exposes the perceptual image that young women have in relation to the concept of technology: they still regard technology as too difficult and as a generally masculine field. This paper offers some examples of successful case studies in technology education that help to prevent the construction of these negative stereotypes.

All these research outcomes will be presented to the final conference to be held in Madrid.”

To register for the UPDATE Conference, please click

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