N. Gutiérrez, M. Calvo, J. Ramírez, F. Olarte

Universidad Nacional de Colombia (COLOMBIA)
According to the UNESCO, Technology education has a significant impact on every student career, well-being and overall quality of life. In Colombia, Technology education for primary and secondary school became mandatory since 1994, and in 2008 the Ministry of National Education (MNE) published a document with curriculum orientations in this area. This document presents the main skills to be considered in Technology education, as well as the technologic competences to be developed in each of the basic and secondary school levels. However, the given orientations must be adjusted considering the specific needs of each school and the community context. This adjustment is currently performed by the technology teachers making it a subjective non-structured process dependent on teacher perception.

In this article a structured process oriented to aim the design of a technology curriculum is proposed, which can be replicated and customized according to the context of each school. Firstly, the skills proposed by the MNE are redefined using a competency-based learning approach to follow a standard competency structure and the Bloom’s taxonomy for prioritizing them. Subsequently, the institution and the community are characterized in order to determine which of the redefined competences are more relevant for the local context. Features analyzed for the school comprise: physical resources, pedagogical approaches and pedagogical strategies used in the technology class. In addition, the teachers, students and parents’ interests regarding technology are determined, as well as the perception of technology education and the teaching methods. This characterization involves the use of surveys and interviews to determine the community perception and the Felder-Silverman test to identify preferred learning styles of the students. Based on the results of these two initial phases, a set of suggestions for activities is designed. These activities are oriented from inductive learning methods and are divided into stages. Each stage endeavors to develop skills associated to a specific competency. For this set of suggested activities, some didactic tools and a set of assessment tools are built. Finally, the teaching-learning strategy proposed here is implemented and then evaluated to adjust elements in each stage in order to achieve the expected technology competencies.

The first phases of the structured process described above were implemented in a local institution. Characterization results revealed that the current teaching-learning strategies used in secondary school for Technology education cannot completely develop the technology competences defined by the government, since Technology is commonly understood as information technology only. The results also showed the importance of weighing up the characterization results depending on each role (student, teacher or parent) and depending on the educational approach of each school. These results will be used to generate teaching-learning strategies for several schools with different social and economic contexts, in order to determine how flexible and adaptable the proposed process is. The impact of the proposed strategy on the curricular design and on the student learning process will be also evaluated.