Features of Textbook
CCfT is developing a comprehensive text developed for use by Technology Education students in grades 9-12. The book is unique in that is has been developed by a writing team comprising nationally known leaders in engineering and technology with exceptional credentials and name recognition. These individuals include content specialists and educators who direct National NSF Centers in Information Technology and Biotechnology, the Hofstra University Center for Technological Literacy, and a NASA Center for Spatial Information Technology.
The text is explicitly driven by the national Standards for technological Literacy (STL) developed by the International Technology Education Association and validated by the National Academy of Engineering. Co-author Michael Hacker served as a member of the STL development team.
Woven throughout the text are passages that will acquaint students with the requirements, responsibilities, necessary personal attributes and attitudes, and educational pathways that will promote academic and career success in various technological areas. This science, technology, and engineering career development material is keyed to each chapter.
This text includes readings, student "informed design" activities, assessment items, ideas for further investigations, and a compelling set of design features in each chapter. These include (1) an Engineering Quick Take that presents chapter ideas within an engineering context and provides mathematical and scientific analyses that are appropriately grade-level related; (2) Technology and People that introduces the readers to charismatic women and men who have made meaningful and interesting technological contributions; (3) Technology in the Real World articles that showcase interesting innovations and trends, fun facts, extreme engineering, and socio-technological impacts; (4) Careers in Technology that are designed to encourage student to pursue further study leading to viable and promising careers in engineering and technology. The items are significant because they exemplify current "best practice" in text design and they allow learners to reach further than the printed page.
The book will be underpinned by the most contemporary pedagogical practices. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061 Textbook Analysis Procedure has informed the development of this text and its ancillary materials. Following this procedure has ensured that the materials:
- Align content to important technological ideas (as defined by the standards)
- Provide a sense of purpose
- Take account of student ideas
- Engage students with relevant applications
- Develop and use technological ideas
- Promote students' thinking about technological impacts, experiences, and knowledge
- Assess progress formatively and summatively.
Informed Design Activities
The text and the accompanying Student Activity Guide (SAG) include a set of avant-garde design activities using an "informed design" pedagogy. This design pedagogy was developed and validated during the conduct of several large-scale National Science Foundation-funded technology education projects managed by co-authors Burghardt and Hacker. The procedure was created with knowledge gleaned from works in engineering, cognitive science, and human learning.
Informed design enables students to enhance their own related knowledge and skill base before attempting to develop design solutions. The procedure prompts research, inquiry, and analysis; fosters student and teacher discourse; and cultivates language proficiency. Student design teams will clarify specifications and constraints; conduct research; generate alternatives; justify the optimal design; test, evaluate, and modify the solution; and communicate achievements in a class presentation and final design report.
To provide the foundation for informed design activity, the student activities engage groups of learners in a progression of knowledge and skill builders (KSBs) - short, focused activities designed to teach salient concepts and skills. KSBs prepare students to approach the design challenge from a knowledgeable base and provide evidence for assessing understanding of important ideas and skills. As background for design activity, KSBs enable students to reach informed design solutions, as opposed to engaging in trial-and-error problem solving where conceptual closure is often not attained.
Coupled with the features previously mentioned, the Student Activity Guide allows students to be scaffolded through each of the activities. The SAG includes space for students to write about the design challenge; their research into design ideas; proposed solutions; pre-design tasks (Knowledge and Skill builder Activities); testing and analysis procedures: design modifications; and communicating their results.