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2019, Bigelow Middle School, Engineering Technology Department

 


Although the term technology is often used by itself to describe the educational application of computers in a classroom, instructional technology is a subset of the much broader field of technology. While important, computers and instructional tools that use computers are only a few of the many technological innovations in use today.

Technologies developed through engineering include the systems that provide our houses with water and heat; roads, bridges, tunnels, and the cars that we drive; airplanes and spacecraft; cellular phones, televisions, and computers; many of today's children's toys; and systems that create special effects in movies. Each of these came about as the result of recognizing a need or problem and creating a technological solution. Figure 1 below shows the steps of the engineering design process. Beginning in the early grades and continuing through high school, students carry out this design process in ever more sophisticated ways. As they gain more experience and knowledge, they are able to draw on other disciplines, especially mathematics and science, to understand and solve problems.

Students are experienced technology users before they enter school. Their natural curiosity about how things work is clear to any adult who has ever watched a child doggedly work to improve the design of a paper airplane, or to take apart a toy to explore its insides. They are also natural engineers and inventors, builders of sandcastles at the beach and forts under furniture.

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