The role of information technology in supporting the development of science linked technology education
This study builds on my earlier 1983 Masters research at Cranfield, which was an investigation of early technology education in the UK and USA and a pilot evaluation of the introduction of technology education into the curriculum of Stantonbury Campus in Milton Keynes, England. This gave an indication of the international trends in technology education and showed some of the potential of a problem-oriented approach to learning in schools based around a new integration of subjects and skills. It also showed the challenge to existing school teaching staff who often had to learn new skills themselves, often had to teach in new ways, and had to broaden their orientation after being single subject specialists most of their careers. Teaching materials had to be developed from scratch. IT had to be got to grips with. In September 1984, I took the post of Co-ordinator of the Schools Science and Technology Centre at the University of Oxford and had to implement a policy for sciencelinked technology education through a fast-changing period. During 1987 the pace of change accelerated rapidly being driven by the demands of the emerging new National Curriculum. By that time technology education, including IT, seemed to have become accepted as an important theme in the school curriculum in its own right. The Oxford Centre was there to offer in-service support in the development of training and teaching materials. It was, therefore, a good base for a study which could document the challenge of implementing technology education on a wide scale. In the end the sheer pace of change enacted by the government between 1987 and 1992, and shifts of position over the place of technology education, made the study a harder task than I expected. I was aiming at a fast moving target. But I hope the work is of value in exploring the link between the aspirations of those who advocate 'technological capability and literacy' in our school population and what is currently being achieved. This thesis tries to explore the key areas of progress we need to make if technology education is to become a reality in our schools.