Understanding Engineering byDesign[TM] Perceptions: Despite Leadership Efforts to Provide for the Improvement of Education, [Local Supervisors] Must Realize How EbD[TM] Courses Deal with Both Content Standards and STEM Concepts

Article excerpt

Technology education transitions and trendsetting changes have occurred in the past two decades. Despite strong support from leadership, technology education curricular offerings continued to follow societal norms in terms of preparing students to be productive members of society. Research has shown that many innovative educators have created and implemented viable technology programs (Ritz, Dugger, & Israel, 2002). Yet, in some areas of the United States, district administrators viewed technology education programs as having little or no purpose toward academic excellence (Pearson & Young, 2002).

Although technology education as a school subject has gained relevance in recent years given its inherent tie to engineering, technology education continues to be relegated to the discretion of individual states. Today, 19 states claim participant status in the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association's STEM Center for Teaching and Learning consortium, which includes access to Engineering byDesign[TM] (EbD[TM]) curricula as a benefit of membership. Since ITEEA took action to develop curricula based on content standards for consortium states to use, the question of implementation remained unanswered. The goal of this study was to become aware of district supervisors' intent toward EbD[TM] implementation within five years.

Purpose and Rationale

This study emerged from a need to understand the importance that local supervisors of technology education placed on EbD[TM] courses as a means to increase the technological literacy of their students. This research examined the perceptions of technology education supervisors regarding integration of EbD[TM] courses in their local programs. The purpose behind writing this article was to share the results of a recently completed master's research paper that intended to determine what public school district supervisors needed in order to implement EbD[TM] courses and curriculum.

Problem Statement and Research Goals

The problem of the study was to determine the perceptions of one state's technology education supervisors toward implementation of EbD[TM] courses in their public schools. Three research goals guided this study. One goal would determine whether district supervisors of technology education programs were aware of EbD[TM] courses and curriculum. Another goal would determine which EbD[TM] courses the supervisors could implement in five years. A final goal would determine what needed to occur for these school systems to implement the EbD[TM] courses.

Research Protocol

The population for this study consisted of 19 technology education supervisors within respective local public school districts in one state. Their perceptions were analyzed to determine intentions toward implementation of EbD[TM] curricula. Follow-up methods (email and phone calls) were needed to achieve a 95 percent response rate. The aggregate data were compiled, analyzed, and interpreted using frequency of responses, percentage of answers, and mean. The method of data collection used a questionnaire that contained eleven items designed to allow the respondents to reveal their EbD[TM] awareness and intentions toward implementation. Empirical evidence gained from this study intended to support data-based decision-making with an expansion of the current body of knowledge.

Literature Review

The review of literature revealed a relationship that exists between Standards for Technological Literacy (ITEA/ITEEA, 2000/2002/2007): Content for the Study of Technology and EbD[TM], (ITEA/ITEEA, 2003). This relationship not only made it possible for one to define what technology education was, but more importantly, provided an example of how it could be taught. Considering the rigorous nature of EbD[TM] curricular materials, experiences in technology education include innovation, design, and engineering, as well as emphasis in design engineering approaches toward creation, combination, repetition, and presentation of design solutions. …