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Conceptual Understanding in the Construction of a Technology Concept: A Case Study with Colombian Students

Author:

Ruth Molina-Vásquez

Professor in the Faculty of Sciences and Education at Francisco José de Caldas District University, Bogotá, Colombia., US
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Abstract

This article presents an analysis of students’ conceptual understanding of technology. The study focused on two groups of seventh-grade students located in Bogotá, Colombia, living in rural and urban areas and participating in activities developed in a virtual learning network. The methods used in this study followed grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 2002) to generate a theoretical structure that allows explanations to be built on how participants construct concepts. A total of 1,257 analysis units were obtained. After an open, axial selective coding process, these units were classified into four categories: artifacts, materials, and instruments; social and cultural aspects; systems, knowledge and processes; and scientific applications. From these categories, the results show an ordination in transversal dimensions helicoidally articulated in the following ascending order: (1) artifacts (technological, cultural, symbolic, and scientific), (2) objectives of technological advances (transformation processes with varied purposes highlighting continuous technological change), (3) fulfillment of basic survival needs (daily life, welfare, and biological maturity), (4) artifact production in terms of process (creation, innovation, and context transformation), and (5) relationships between human beings and technology (passive role, positive interdependence, and symbiosis). In conclusion, a unidirectional concept of technology encompassing all its features cannot be built. In contrast, students construct the concept in a plural, complex way. The construction of a technology concept at the school level leads to a more comprehensive education in technology in terms of its attitudinal, volitive, and cognitive aspects, which favor cultural technology insertion in schools.
How to Cite: Molina-Vásquez, R. (2021). Conceptual Understanding in the Construction of a Technology Concept: A Case Study with Colombian Students. Journal of Technology Education, 32(2), 21–37. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jte.v32i2.a.2
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Published on 24 May 2021.
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