Academic journal article Technology and Engineering Teacher

A Proposition to Engineer a Bridge: Reconnecting with the Industry-Based Educators: Now Is a Time for the Association to Make an Organized Effort to Engineer and Construct a Bridge between the Two Communities of Technology and Engineering Education and Industrial Education

Academic journal article Technology and Engineering Teacher

A Proposition to Engineer a Bridge: Reconnecting with the Industry-Based Educators: Now Is a Time for the Association to Make an Organized Effort to Engineer and Construct a Bridge between the Two Communities of Technology and Engineering Education and Industrial Education

Article excerpt

Even thirty years after the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) retired its discipline name as industrial arts (Foster & Wright, 1996), there are still a significant number of educators who refer to themselves as industrial arts or industrial technology teachers (Spencer & Rogers, 2006). Even more importantly, there are still a significant number who currently teach a traditional industrial-based curriculum within their programs--with full support

from their administration and community (Kelley & Wicklein, 2009). However, in terms of representation within ITEEA, there are very few who identify themselves as industrial educators, and since the 1980s there has been a significant decline in the number of industrial-based presentations at the annual conferences (Reed & LaPorte, 2015).

Some may assume the majority of industrial educators have transitioned along with ITEEA away from an industrial-arts-based curriculum and migrated toward technology and engineering education. However, a careful examination of the literature and an even further look at the local school districts would demonstrate a very different story. The literature over the past three decades has confirmed:

* "This study's findings indicate that technology educators strongly support traditional industrial arts" (Kraft, 2001, p. 54).

* "Though no states reported using the term 'industrial arts' or 'industrial education' for technology education, when asked if traditional industrial arts and technology education operated concurrently, 34 of 39 states reported yes" (Akmal, Oaks, & Barker, 2002, p. 17).

* "The data seem to suggest that while many support technological literacy, design, and engineering as major components of an undergraduate program, an almost equal number resist this idea and prefer an undergraduate program that revolves around more traditional industrial curriculum organizers" (Daugherty, 2005, p. 57).

* "It appears that the field of technology education has not moved far from its industrial arts roots" (Kelley & Wicklein, 2009, p. 17).

So if the industrial educators are still in existence, why are they no longer well represented within ITEEA? Have the educators joined another association that more closely aligns with their beliefs and values of technical learning through skills development in using tools and machines? Or are they no longer connected with a national association and instead operating in isolation within their local communities?

ITEEA has made significant gains over the past two decades and should be commended for its work in technology and engineering literacy. Through its recent STEM initiatives, the discipline has made significant progress in its century-long effort to be incorporated into the general education program within school districts, especially at the elementary and middle school levels, This article is not a proposition to return back to the industrial heritage. It is, however, an effort to shine a light on the fact that, over the past three decades, ITEEA has failed to create a connection with its foundational core and in so doing has disenfranchised the very community upon which it was built and thereby limited its possible integration in the local school districts, especially at the secondary level.

There may have been a time when it seemed the industrial curriculum had lost its relevance, and in order to make a successful transition to technology education it was necessary for the organization to make a distinction between the two (Volk, 1996). But now, after 30 years, the realities of our society and the nationwide emphasis on college and career readiness have demonstrated that there are components of the former industrial arts curriculum that still hold significance to local communities. Additionally, the local industrial educators have found a way to persevere even without support at the national level. …

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