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Problem Solving in Technology Education: A Taoist Perspective


Jim Flowers

Ball State University, US
About Jim

An Assistant Professor in the Department of Industry and Technology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

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Problem solving and product design experiences can empower students by presenting unique learning opportunities. Although the problem solving method may have been important to technology education, as well as industrial arts, as far back as the 1920s (Foster, 1994), the movement to incorporate more problem solving and product design in technology education kept surfacing in the 1990s. For example, the Commonwealth of Virginia introduced a series of high school technology courses grouped together as Design and Technology (Virginia Department of Education, 1992); TIES Magazine’s web site offered 70 video tapes “that will support the teaching of design, problem solving and technology” (Ties, 1998); the use of design briefs was emphasized (Ritz & Deal, 1992); the popularity of a textbook titled Design and Problem Solving in Technology (Hutchinson & Karsnitz, 1994) continued to grow; and smiling students and their technological inventions were featured in articles (Edwards, 1996), at fairs, and in promotional materials. In the newer approaches to technology education that center on design, students are often asked to design new products. They creatively invent products like: pizza cutters with built-in flashlights; roller skates that work in sand; hats with built-in fans for cooling; and yet another way to store compact discs.
How to Cite: Flowers, J. (1998). Problem Solving in Technology Education: A Taoist Perspective. Journal of Technology Education, 10(1), 20–26. DOI:
Published on 22 Sep 1998.
Peer Reviewed


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