Technological Design for a Sustainable Society
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We are all technological designers -- whether we realize it or not. Every output that we generate has a consequence. Every action that we take has an impact. But interest in some key design-related fields -- and science and technology post-secondary education in North America in particular -- is declining[i]. One factor in this decline seems to be the confusing message that many young people receive about the nature of technology. Many youth seem to believe that "technology" refers only to the latest chip-equipped gadgets and toys. Virtually all youth are keen to use the newest technological gadgets and toys, yet their desire to learn the underlying fundamental principles and processes is receding.

The Integrated Technologies course is an introduction to the Broad-Based Technologies, with an emphasis on Technological Design in particular. Technological Design is the union of knowledge, good citizenship, thinking, communication, organization, time management, general employability and other skills across virtually all subject areas. Secondary School Technological Design courses are ideal opportunities to immerse students in well-scoped interdisciplinary views of real-world systems and real-world processes. Good Technological Design courses can prepare students for real-world work.

Technological Design is an evolving family of processes. Much content and knowledge is effectively “borrowed” from courses in other disciplines. This knowledge is applied in my Technological Design courses -- in Grades 10, 11 and 12 -- through the design process or Product Development Life Cycle, as it is sometimes known. Good Technological Design programs may well become the liberal arts of the 21st century, but with the future important dimensions of meeting goals for both business and environmental and social sustainability.[ii] As future sustainable design practitioners, graduates of my program will have an influence over the shaping of future socio-economic decisions. I will provide further detail in future Newsletters.

A Fundamental Purpose -- Attitude, Education and Work

Students must be introduced relatively early to the thinking processes, attitudes and skills that will enable them to succeed in life and to help them contribute to a better world.  The fundamental role of Technological Education is to prepare students to achieve success and fulfilment in the world of work. The Broad-Based Technologies (BBTs) are carefully selected abstractions of the complex and continually evolving world of work. The exploration of the BBTs begins in Grade 9 Integrated Technologies classes. A most fundamental purpose of my Technological Design program (Grades 10 through 12) is to clearly stress the importance of early development of sound attitudes toward education and work in the context of carefully considered applications in the Broad-Based Technologies.

[i]  See for example, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Global Science Forum Activity on Declining Interest in Science Studies Among Young People, "Objectives and Preliminary Report on the Qualitative Analysis", Dr. Frédéric Sgard, OECD Global Science Forum Secretariat,2665,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

[ii] D.B. McCowan, General Comments on the Ontario Curriculum For Courses in Technological Design and Integrated Technologies, Dec. 2005 pg. 23




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