President's Message: Investing in People as Educational Change Agents-75 Years and Counting: While ITEEA Strengthens the Profession through Leadership, Professional Development, Membership Services, Publications, and Curricula, Its Real Strength Comes from Its Members

By Bertrand, Bill | Technology and Engineering Teacher, March 2012 | Go to article overview

President's Message: Investing in People as Educational Change Agents-75 Years and Counting: While ITEEA Strengthens the Profession through Leadership, Professional Development, Membership Services, Publications, and Curricula, Its Real Strength Comes from Its Members


Bertrand, Bill, Technology and Engineering Teacher


One hundred years after its founding, our great nation was nearing the end of the Industrial Revolution. Advances in energy, manufacturing, communication, and transportation technologies during the 19th century led to exponential growth of the American economy and changed society forever. It was during this era that Edison invented the incandescent bulb, Morse invented the telegraph, and Bell invented the telephone, to name a few. The United States and much of the world had changed, and the education system would soon follow suit.

By the end of the 19th century, all states in the U.S. had free, public elementary schools, many had compulsory education laws, and public high schools had opened in many cities (Lingwall, 2010). It is also at this time that Calvin M. Woodward, Dean of the engineering department at Washington University, and John D. Runkle, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coincidentally introduced similar "shop" training programs for engineering students as an essential component of engineering education (Sanders, 2008 in NAE & NRC, 2009). However, by the early twentieth century, there was a shift in secondary schools away from manual arts as vocational training to one of industrial arts as part of the general education program for all students in order to prepare good citizens (Herschbach, 1997, p. 25).

The field of industrial arts education endured with little change for over half a decade. It was during this time that a group of like-minded individuals attended a meeting in Cleveland, OH and decided to form an association with the common purpose of promoting the profession and field of industrial arts education: the American Industrial Arts Association (AIAA). Technological progress in the United States following World War II continued at a rapid pace, and by the 1970s, when the personal computer was invented, the Digital Revolution marked the start of the Information Age. This shift from mechanical technology to digital technology brought about swift changes to society, the economy, and education. In February of 1985, the AIAA became the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) in response to societal changes that had been developing for nearly 40 years.

The professional organization that has served teachers for nearly 75 years underwent yet another name change in March 2010 to become the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA). In response to societal changes and the ever-evolving role of education to meet the needs of the American citizenry, it is likely that this will not be the final name change. Some schools continue to refer to their programs as industrial arts and their facilities as "shops." Other programs, with robust courses in graphic design, CADD, and video production, may continue to use the moniker technology education. Still, there are schools throughout the United States that have quickly embraced the notion of engineering education at the K-12 level and have adopted the title of technology and engineering education to reflect the most recent refinements to the field. No matter what the name of the program, the fundamental goals remain the same--for students to develop an understanding of the designed world and abilities to use, assess, and manage technologies. So, perhaps it is time to shift the focus away from what the professional organization is called, to what the professionals within the organization can do to focus their collective efforts around the advancement of the field.

As the professional association for technology, innovation, design, and engineering educators, ITEEA is poised to provide the leadership to advance the profession in the 21st century. After all, its mission is to advance technological capabilities for all people and to nurture and promote the profession of those engaged in these pursuits. However, it is only able to do this to the extent that its members engage not only in the changing conversation, but also play an active role. …

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President's Message: Investing in People as Educational Change Agents-75 Years and Counting: While ITEEA Strengthens the Profession through Leadership, Professional Development, Membership Services, Publications, and Curricula, Its Real Strength Comes from Its Members
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