The field of technology education over the last twenty or so years has made fundamental changes at both middle and high school levels especially in the United States. Many schools have developed curriculum that is responsive to the needs of the students and that is distinctive in nature to the characteristics of students in elementary school. The standards of education of education have improved significantly for most grades in many states and many of them have developed circular frameworks to allow for technology education at secondary level. The greatest challenge in implementing technology education in elementary schools has been the shortage in the number of elementary teachers who can teach technology education and this has remained a monumental problem (Foster, 1997).
However, at elementary schools, even though there has not overabundance of curriculum touching on technology due to scarcity of resources, a number of models have been developed in the past twenty years for the implementation of a successful elementary school technology education (ESTE) (Kirkwood, 2000). However, careful examination of the perceived changes in the elementary schools indicates an impressive array of interest in what is regarded as the rubric of change because a number of the changes have been short lived and failed to realize the intended goal of allowing students to choose what they wanted to do at school. Many subjects still have remained to be compulsory for all students.
However, it is important to note that the introduction of computers in particular has made it easier for both teachers and students because there is too much work to be covered in the classroom and as a result the integration of technology into the regular curriculum has become a tool or an assistant to the teachers and students as well. There are many courses that have tailored to suit the needs of the students to educate themselves through automatic multiple intelligence assessments without necessarily having to go to the classroom (Foster, 1997). The technology has also made it easier to reformat all courses the taught in college so that elementary students can learn the basics of any topic they desire.
The use of such technology in elementary school has assisted students to be intrinsically motivated so as to educate themselves and more importantly in self-actualization and this has removed the bureaucratic inefficiencies that used to be in education system. The quality of education has improved significantly because teachers are now able to upload their courses online for the students to choose the relevant courses offering highest quality. Kieft (1997) noted that “one survey of exemplary elementary school programs indicated that just about every elementary school teacher at every grade level implemented some type of hands-on activity each day” (p. 254).
Nevertheless, despite the fundamental developments made in the elementary schools in terms of technology, there has been lack of understanding of how students learn about technology education and other design skills. It is worthy noting that technology education does not only involve hands on activities but there is need for teachers to involve even the development of technological literacy which should involve capacity to use, to manage, to understand and more importantly to assess the technology for the students to appreciate what they are learning (Kirkwood, 2000). The examination of the ultimate fate of many of these changes reveals that they have been short lived an indication that the publicized changes in elementary schools have been of limited consequence due to limited resources and lack of qualified teachers who can teach technology education implying that it may not be possible to realize the lasting changes unless some intangible bases of substance are developed.
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