An exploratory evaluation of a South African project-based curriculum module focused on authentic technological practice utilizing student portfolios and an open-ended questionnaire
Learners today need more than the core subjects offered at school to be successful in the twenty-first-century. By involving technology student teachers in activities that are authentic to technological practice, as teachers, they should be able to provide stimulating and relevant learning for learners (Turnbull in Int J Technol Des Educ 12(1):23–40, 2002), which include twenty-first-century skills that enable them to develop minds and responsibility for the future (Snape and Fox-Turnbull in Int J Technol Des Educ 23:51–68, 2013). Previously, a fourfold set of criteria, developed by Ankiewicz (Proceedings of the PATT 29 conference, Marseille, France, 2015b), was applied to the first four semester modules of the academic major Engineering Graphics and Technology Education. It is found that there was a strong emphasis on conceptual knowledge with little time spent on practising procedural knowledge. Ankiewicz (2015b) anticipated that the final module might address these concerns as it was designed as a project-based module aimed at aspects of authentic technological practice. Students are expected to solve real-world technological problems. However, after the first year of offering the module the module’s success is unclear. The purpose of this study was to explore the extent to which the module succeeds in developing technology student teachers’ procedural knowledge. A qualitative study (Merriam in Qualitative research and case study applications in education, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1998) was conducted in which students’ portfolios and open-ended questionnaires were analysed. Indications are that the module contributed positively to enhancing the procedural knowledge of the students enrolled for this module.
KeywordsTechnology education Technological process Procedural knowledge Authentic learning Twenty-first-century skills
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