Technology Department Philosophy
The Technology Department of the Caldwell-West Caldwell Public School District believes that all students must become technologically literate in order to achieve complete literacy in today’s society. Humanity has evolved through the ages, and life has been enriched because of technology. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, in their 1989, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, Project 2061 supports the necessity for Americans to become technologically literate in order to re-establish America’s strength among industrialized nations throughout the world. The AAAS defines technology as: The application of knowledge, tools, and skills to solve practical problems and extend human capabilities. Technology is often perceived as artifacts but is actually the process of designing, implementing, and fabricating ideas. Therefore, students should know some of the basic underlying principles of the technological systems that they use daily. Furthermore, students should recognize that technology does not stand apart from the society that it serves. Students must recognize that technology affects our society and that society must equally affect technology. Thus, students must have a framework that provides a clear understanding that technology is neither good nor evil. In the final analysis, it is the way in which technology is used in relation to a society’s customs that defines a technology’s value. While science education is focused on understanding the natural world, technology education is focused on the process of innovation (moving ideas to fruition.) Technology education provides students the opportunity to solve human problems. In doing so, students learn how to manage resources, (i.e. people, information, materials, tools, energy, capital and time,) to accomplish their goals. Students solve problems through a prescribed design model that causes them to define the parameters of the problem, gather and interpret information, brainstorm multiple solutions, assess the appropriateness of the solutions, and evaluate the outcomes. As a result, students not only understand the questions being asked of them, but are able to validate how their answers were derived. In addition, students recognize that often there are multiple solutions to solving problems, but that choices must be made according to merit when determining the best solutions. All students must employ higher order thinking skills of synthesizing, analyzing, and judging. The need for these skills has been identified by the New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards; more specifically in the Cross-Content Readiness Skills, the Early Warning Test and the High School Proficiency Test. The Technology faculty acknowledges the evolution of our society from the industrial era to the information and electronic age. Consequently, we have a responsibility to provide students appropriate and transferable career readiness skills that have become essential expectations in the new global environment. In addition to developing creative problem solving skills, the Secretary of Labor’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), American Society for Training and Development, National Academy of Sciences and Stanford University all identify five core competencies (Boyett, 1995). The SCANS Report, of 1990 states: Students must be proficient at managing resources, developing interpersonal relations, processing information, understanding systems, and manipulating technology. The technology program of the Caldwell-West Caldwell Public School District is committed to providing opportunities for all students, grades K-12, regardless of race, gender, creed, national origin or handicapping conditions, to become eligible to enter the workforce of the twenty-first century. Beyond providing students interdisciplinary experiences that reinforce the basic skills, the technology program is capable of shaping students to cope with the dynamic society they are about to encounter.