Element 1 - Aspect 1: Understanding Technology
Describes why technology is a fundamental part of 'what it is to be human'. It allows humans to address issues of survival, well being, and improve their quality of life through the use of intellectual and practical resources (homo faber – humans who make things).
Aspect Purpose: To support student teachers to develop a broad view of technology as socially embedded, recognising that it is neither new nor exclusively 'high tech'.
Key words: Technology, socially embedded, 'high tech'.
de Vries, M. J. (2005). Teaching about technology: An introduction to the philosophy of technology for non-philosophers. Dordrecht, The Netherlands:
Available from: Springer. $129.00 (hardcover) pp. 170, ISBN 1-4020-3409-1
Teaching about Technology: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Technology for Non-Philosophers, provides a link between philosophies of technology and the technology curriculum education. It offers a well organized introduction to the nature of philosophy that assists readers to understand fundamental concepts like ontology and epistemology as they relate to the person and knowledge. This book also provides many examples of how various philosophers have viewed knowledge in the past, and a progression of the beliefs of technology philosophers' up to the present.
In the book de Vries uses philosophy as a "sieve" to sort technologies. He does this by characterising technology artefacts and discussing how these characterisations may differ due to philosophical points of views. Following a similar pattern de Vries goes on to describe technological knowledge, technological processes, technological ethics, and aesthetics; placing a focus on describing what they are, and what people believe about them. In this book de Vries also outlines several perspectives on technology curricula and their origins and includes portions of the Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology and other prominent curriculum perspectives. Finally, de Vries outlines several methods of instruction useful in helping students to understand technology.
Reviewed by: Cliff Harwood.
Chapter One: 'Philosophy of Technology: What and Why?' pp.1-12
Chapter one discusses what is meant by the philosophy of technology and why educators would want to know about it. It begins with an analysis of philosophy in general, identifying several fields of study before looking at technology specifically. In the final section de Vries argues why educators should care about philosophy citing Socrates as an example.
Reviewed by: Gary O'Sullivan.
Keywords: philosophy, ontology, epistemology, nature of technology, artefact, technological knowledge, technological processes, technological ethics, and aesthetics.
Basalla, G. (1988). The evolution of technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
This book presents an evolutionary theory of technological change based on recent scholarship in the history of technology, and on relevant material drawn from economic history and anthropology. The book challenges the popular notion that technological advances arise from the efforts of a few heroic individuals who produce a series of revolutionary inventions that owe little or nothing to the technological past. Therefore, the book's argument is shaped by analogies drawn selectively from the theory of organic evolution, and not from the theory and practice of political revolution. Three themes appear, with variations, throughout the study. The first is diversity: an acknowledgment of the vast numbers of different kinds of made things (artefacts) that long have been available to humanity. The second theme is necessity: the mistaken belief that humans are driven to invent new artefacts in order to meet basic biological needs such as food, shelter, and defence. And the third theme is technological evolution: an organic analogy that explains both the emergence of novel artefacts and their subsequent selection by society for incorporation into their material life without invoking either biological necessity or technological process.
Keywords: artefact, diversity, necessity, technological education.
Bronowski, J. (1973). The Ascent of Man. London: BBC. Video series.
An account of man's development through his scientific and technological achievements. The book and video series provide elegantly expressed insights into the fundamental place of technology (and science) in the development of humankind.
Keywords: scientific, technological, achievement.
Burns, J. (1997). 'Technology – the Intervening World' in Burns, J.(Ed.), Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum Perspectives in Practice, 15-30, Palmerston North. The Dunmore Press.
In this chapter Burns provides an introduction to 'what is technology?' She uses a historical perspective to challenge existing ideas of technology as being 'high tech', 'ICT' or 'food technology', and to develop readers' understandings that technology is value based and culturally situated.
The chapter introduces a number of illustrations to show that technology encompasses not only products, but also systems, and the use and development of processes. The chapter briefly discusses two models of Technological Practice: The Reflective and Active Capability model (Kimbell 1993) and Diagrammatic Definition of 'Technology' and 'Technology Practice' Pacey (1983).
Keywords: technology, technology practice, value laden.
Reviewed by: Wendy Fox-Turnbull.
Durie, Arohia. (1997). 'Technology and Māori', in Burns, J.(Ed.), Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum Perspectives in Practice, 31-45, Palmerston North. The Dunmore Press.
This chapter focuses on the relationship between Māori cultural philosophy and Māori technology through exploring a number of different contexts. Durie discusses the importance of technology through providing examples such as: survival – taoga, food preservation, and communication strategies. The chapter also discusses the philosophies underlying Māori assumptions of the interconnectedness of all this, and the interwoven nature of actions and consequences.
Māori technology, taoga, food preservation, communication strategies.
Reviewed by: Wendy Fox-Turnbull.
Title: Technology and Values: Essential Readings
Reference: Hanks, C. (2010). Technology and Values: Essential Readings
Review Statement: This book addresses a need for reference material in this area. It is a rich and versatile resource for anyone interested in deep philosophical questions related to technology per se. It is a meaty read covering technology from a number of philosophical lenses ranging from autonomy of technology through to environmental values.
Keywords: philosophy, ontology, epistemology.
Reviewer: Gary O'Sullivan.