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Defining and Measuring Technical Thinking: Students' Technical Abilities in Finnish Comprehensive Schools

Defining and Measuring Technical Thinking: Students' Technical Abilities in Finnish Comprehensive Schools

The terms "technical" and "technology" are widely used by educators, workplace practitioners, and the general public. Seldom, however, is there a written explanation of a technologist's or technician's attributes (Hansen, 1994; Ropohl, 1997). What do technicians know and do? Also absent from public consciousness is a sense of what constitutes the design or problem-solving process which precedes any technological act. By comparison, media depictions of technology as computers, electronics, and tools are widespread and the public appetite for these depictions is extensive. In teacher education and in schooling itself the subject through which technical skills and knowledge are imparted suffers from confusion about definition as well. What is technical thinking? What is technical aptitude? Why is it that technology teachers can recognize this ability when it is observed in students but they, and educators generally, have difficulty documenting the essence of it in writing? To expose what it means to be a technologist, the investigators in this research project examine what students in Finland's schools learn in their study and practice of technology. Why, you might ask, would the...

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