Technology education in schools
In progress from 01-01-2004 to 31-12-2004
Project manager: Hild Lamvik
The Norwegian Government is reforming the Science & Technology curriculum in order to enhance learning and interest in these subjects. A Board of Technology project has looked at possible education models for technology education.
Scientific and technological knowledge (S&T) and skills are crucial for understanding, participating in and developing modern societies. Poor performance among young people and declining enrolment to S&T education alarms politicians, scholars and industrial leaders throughout Europe.
The perceived lack of relevance in the S&T curriculum is considered one of the greatest barriers for good learning as well as for interest in the subject.
New subject proposed
Hence, a government committee in June 2003 proposed the introduction of design and technology (D&T) as a compulsory subject in secondary schools to prepare pupils for participation in tomorrow's rapidly changing technological society. The Norwegian Government, however, suggested that D&T be incorporated as one of several topics in the already existing subjects of science and arts & crafts.
D&T combines practical skills with an understanding of aesthetics, function and industrial practices, and can hereby facilitate S&T learning. The subject encourages pupils to become autonomous problem solvers, both as individuals and as members of a team. Pupils must look for needs, wants and opportunities and respond to them by developing a range of ideas and making products and systems.
However, D&T knowledge is not sufficient for fully understanding, participating in and developing new strategies in today's high-tech society. Hence, S&T education must be taught in a wider setting, involving also social, cultural, ethical and environmental aspects.
The Norwegian Board of Technology established an interdisciplinary working group to look at how such a broad approach can be practically integrated in S&T education. The group delivered a policy paper to the Parliament in May 2004.