Date: 06 Nov 2008

Toward sustainable practices in technology education

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This paper discusses the problematic relationship between technology education, consumption and environmental sustainability. The emerging global sustainability crisis demands an educational response that moves beyond mere ‘tinkering’ with classroom practices, toward technology education which embraces life cycle thinking and ‘eco-innovation’. It will argue that the urgent transformation to technology education for sustainability citizenship must begin with a critical examination of existing practices and assumptions which underpin unsustainability. The initial context for this discussion will be technological education in Canada and the United States, in particular a recent national report on the assessment of technological literacy. The paper concludes by suggesting several ‘new paths’ forward to move technology education toward more sustainable practices and more relevance for young people.