An Associate Professor in the Technological Studies Program at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. This paper was presented at the Technology Education Isues Symposium, Maui, Hawaii, in June 1996.
Determination of a curriculum development paradigm for technology education was identified as a primary concern for the profession (Wicklein, 1993). The lack of focus for curriculum content has created a somewhat disjointed approach to the study of technology. It has also diminished the impact that technology education could have on education and society. Satchwell & Dugger (1996) described the diversity within technology education to be “ranging from basic programs reflective of early manual arts to state-of-the-art technology education programs” (p. 11). Zuga’s (1989) seminal research on relating the goals of technology education with curriculum planning identified major curriculum design categories. Curriculum design and development in technology education has centered around these five categories: (a) technical performance or processes; (b) academic focus on the specific body of knowledge relating to industry and technology; (c) intellectual processes that concentrate on critical thinking and problem solving; (d) social reconstruction through realistic or real world situations; and (e) personal, learner-centered focus on individual needs and interests (Zuga, 1989). The strengths and weaknesses of each of these design approaches must be evaluated, possibly coordinated, and eventually implemented into technology education curriculum planning if the field is to ever have a central theme or focus.