Academic journal article Journal of Technology Studies

The "Who, What, and How Conversation": Characteristics and Responsibilities of Current In-Service Technology and Engineering Educators

Academic journal article Journal of Technology Studies

The "Who, What, and How Conversation": Characteristics and Responsibilities of Current In-Service Technology and Engineering Educators

Article excerpt


The technology and engineering education in K-12 settings has drawn increasing attention from teacher educators, researchers, and historians regarding its classroom context, curricula, pedagogies, and paradigm shift. A considerable amount of research grounded in this area has been conducted discussing the historical foundations, current trends, needs, and issues. This research addressed K-12 technology and engineering education in various aspects of programs and practice (Dugger, 2007; Dugger, French, Peckham, & Starkweather, 1992; Meade & Dugger, 2004; Sanders, 2001), preparation, licensure, and endorsement (Moye, 2009; Volk, 1993; Volk, 1997; Zuga, 1991), and educator dynamics (Haynie, 2003; McCarthy & Berger, 2008; Zuga 1996). However, these pioneer efforts have left some inconsistencies and discrepancies. A more around representative description should be presented to reflect the overall state of K-12 technology and engineering education in the United States.

Several studies (Dugger, 2007; Newberry, 2001; Meade & Dugger, 2004; Moye, 2009; Ndahi & Ritz, 2003) have revealed vastly different conclusions regarding the landscape of technology and engineering education. For example, K-12 in-service educator count ranges from 25,258 teachers in 50 states (Dugger, 2007) to 38,537 teachers in 48 states (Newberry, 2001). Moye, Dugger, & Starkweather (2012) attributed such a variation to a number of factors: the lack of respondents to surveys, the different infrastructures of school systems, the lack of leadership of technology and engineering educators, and the lack of accurate data collection from the state.

A standardized reporting set could potentially provide a prevailing reporting format. The U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) employ standardized reporting mechanisms under federal educational funding clusters and guidelines, resulting in a comprehensive account of educators and their characteristics with each educational discipline. Data collected within this system spans the nation and results in an inclusive collection of metrics from educators within a range of educational disciplines. One instrument within this reporting complex is the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS).

Research Questions

Considering the variation and inconsistencies in reporting within technology and engineering education, this research was launched to assist in building a national profile of these discipline-based descriptors. Additionally, the research questions assisted in determining similarities and differences between technology and engineering education and the broader educational community. Specifically this research addressed the following:

1. What are the characteristics and credentials of technology and engineering educators and how do they compare to other in-service educators?

2. What student population features and characteristics are identifiable within technology and engineering classrooms, and how do they compare to other in-service educators?

Schools and Staffing Survey

SASS has been described by the Institute of Education Sciences as:

[a] large-scale sample survey of K-12 school districts, schools, teachers, library media centers, and administrators in the United States. It includes data from public, public charter, private, and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) funded school sectors. Therefore, SASS provides a multitude of opportunities for analysis and reporting on elementary and secondary educational settings. The Schools and Staffing Survey provides data on the characteristics and qualifications of teachers and principals, teacher hiring practices, professional development, class size, and other conditions in schools across the nation (Tourkin, Thomas, Swaim, Cox, Parmer, Jackson, Cole, & Zhang, 2010, p. 1)."

Data utilized within this study comes from five questionnaires within the 2011-12 SASS: a School District Questionnaire, Principal Questionnaire, School Questionnaire, Teacher Questionnaire, and a School Library Media Center Questionnaire. …

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