Green issues in the technology curriculum
conference contributionposted on 08.05.2006, 14:39 by Mike Lloyd
Despite social, economic and political pressures, green issues play an embarrassingly small role in the technology curriculum in schools. This paper puts forward O2's vision for the future of technology education. Questions about the current practice of technology education in schools are raised and proposals for are made for developing the technology curriculum to take advantage of the growing importance of environmental factors. The environment issue is widely perceived as a threat; but is this really the case ? Changes in the wealth creation process that are less damaging to our ecology are already beginning to happen and this is making the environment, as an education issue, impossible to ignore. In this paper a number of proposals are presented: Firstly, children should be educated to consume intelligently and for sustainable futures. Secondly, the technology cycle, or design loop, should be extended to include "Impacts". Thirdly, design methodologies for sustainable futures should be taught - some examples are proposed and described. A spirit of "respect and responsibility" for the environment also needs to be engendered in young people, but before this can happen a more human centred approach to education needs to be developed. An education system on a more human scale pioneered in the USA is described. "Eco-technology" education is in its infancy, but some case studies from secondary and higher education are given. We live on a small planet with finite resources and a growing population and we all have our parts to play in developing sustainable futures. The final proposal in this paper calls on all those involved in education, and technology education in particular, to meet the greatest challenge of this age.
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