Technology plays an increasing significant role in our lives and it is important that students understand how it influences their lives and that of society and their own participation in it.
Mitcham (as cited in Jones & Moreland, 2003) states
First, technology is a major and, some would argue, a determining feature of the world we inhabit. In consequence, young people, as future citizens need to understand how it shapes the world and how they participate in it. If future citizens are to understand and participate in decision making, technology education must prepare them adequately by dealing with the technical, social, ethical, political and economic issues that underlie technological process and by ensuring that students recognize that technology is located within a philosophical, historical, and theoretical context.
In New Zealand in the late 1980s, early 1990s a curriculum review was undertaken which led (after much development) to technology being added as a separate subject area and as one of the seven essential learning areas that students need to acquire knowledge and understanding of. Technology was made mandatory in January 1999 thus making it compulsory for all students until the end of their tenth year at school. Technology was seen as a fundamental component of developing the economy of New Zealand and empowering students to deal with and participate in a technological society in the future.
As a relatively “new” curriculum area, gazetted at the end of 1998 (Curriculum Framework, Ministry of Education, 1993) it has been in a state of continual change. The curriculum has since been revised and a new edition was published in 2007.
In this paper some of the challenges faced by secondary school teachers will be discussed. I propose that until school administrators and teachers fully comprehend the importance of the nature of technology education then the subject “technology” will remain entrenched in sub cultures within secondary schools.
Some of the challenges faced by teachers include their preconceived ideas about technology and many teachers believe that they are already teaching the subject. The lack of acceptance of technology as an academic subject by some school administrators can hinder the development of the subject and the way in which it can be delivered in secondary schools.
To understand how technology and technology education have evolved and the importance of teaching technology as a subject we first need to define technology. Technology has been around since the beginning of man and has evolved through all cultures. It has been used to create change and meet needs of the people. “It is an organized way of creating purposeful change”. (Kimbell, Stables & Green, 1996, p.87).
For example, during the Stone Age, all humans had a lifestyle which involved limited use of tools and few, if any, permanent settlements. The first major technologies, then, were tied to survival, hunting, and food preparation...