The Grounding of a Discipline: Cognition and Instruction in Technology Education
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Technology education has long struggled to establish itself as an equal partner in general education and often struggled to gain recognition for the value of its instruction. Frequently technology educators tout the effectiveness of their programs based on anecdotal evidence gathered from their classroom experiences on how their instructional methods empower students to learn. Although technology education originated without any meaningful input from cognitive science research, it appears that technology education instruction methods are remarkably consonant with findings from cognitive science that define good instruction. Specifically, there is considerable accord between how instruction in technology education and cognitively based instructional models such as collaborative learning, socially distributed expertise, design/engineering, and project-based instruction can be connected. The role of the cognitive research findings on instruction could inform a long over-due theoretical grounding of instruction in technology education. The absence of research on learning and instruction in technology education could be attributed to a lack of theoretical grounding in this relatively new field. This paper examines four cognitively based models of instruction and reviews the relationships between research in the cognitive sciences on learning and instruction in technology education. The consonance between the research recommendations from the cognitive sciences and practice in technology education instruction could serve to stimulate debate on the theoretical grounding of an emerging field of study.
International Journal of Technology and Design Education
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