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Productivism and the Product Paradigm in Technological Education


Leo Elshof

Acadia University, CA
About Leo

Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

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Aldo Leopold was a pioneer in United States’ wildlife management and his axiom is certainly familiar to anyone who has tried to repair a complex technological system, it applies equally whether one is rebuilding a small block V8 engine or repairing a computer. “Keep all the pieces” is good advice because in all likelihood they will all be necessary to restore the proper functioning of the system. Before we begin tinkering it’s a good idea to figure out the purpose of the components so even if we initially forget where the pieces go, we will (if we’re competent) eventually figure out where they fit. The metaphor is appropriate in light of the impact our technological systems of production and consumption are having on the biosphere. We are effectively tinkering on a dangerous planetary scale, damaging, even destroying critical pieces of the biosphere, often without even comprehending the role of the systems we have lost in maintaining a thriving and healthy planet. There is a serious disjunction between our science-informed environmental knowing and our technological- economic actions.

How to Cite: Elshof, L. (2006). Productivism and the Product Paradigm in Technological Education. Journal of Technology Education, 17(2), 18–32. DOI:
Published on 22 Mar 2006.
Peer Reviewed


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