By Marianne Riis, Bjarke Lindsø Andersen, Martin Dybdal, Rasmus Leth Jørnø, Marie Falkesgaard Slot and Mikkel Hjorth
Technology understanding is on its way into the Danish education system as a new professional skill. Development of this professionalism has so far been particularly widespread in primary school and the associated teacher training, where since 2018 there have been various attempts to develop the subject and professionalism. In the youth programs, experience is also gained with similar new skills, such as the subject Business Informatics in the vocational programs and the subject Informatics in the upper secondary education. In the same way, the new professionalism also gives rise to considerations and attempts at higher education.Read full preface
In this themed issue, the focus is on the identity, content and practice of the professions as they are thought of and expressed in different contexts. In this way, the articles can help to qualify the debate about technology understanding with both empirical and theoretically anchored propositions. Together, the theme issue shows the unity and diversity of the profession, or rather the professions, in contributing to a subject didactics for understanding technology.
The theme issue consists of 16 articles:
In the article How is technological understanding integrated in Danish? examines Slot, Lorentzen and Hansen technology understanding in Danish through a subject didactic analysis of curricula and selected courses from the experiment with technology understanding in primary school. The authors point to opportunities, but also challenges in integrating Danish and technology understanding, which are linked to differences in both subject understanding and use of terms as well as in the subject’s methods and practice.
In the article Teacher professional development in higher education and the Teknosofikum project, Pischetola presents a socio-material approach to the development of content in technology education in higher education. The study contributes empirical insights into the process of development and testing of course and content.
In The technologically empowered citizen, Christensen and Nielsen argue that digital empowerment, as it is formulated in the elementary school experimental subject, is too narrowly oriented towards (re)design. Based on this, the article presents an approach with citizen and expert analysis that supports the students’ critical attitude towards technology.
In Intersecting technology understandings in theory and practice Andersen starts from different positions and their take on what technology understanding is and should be. Based on studies of science and technology (STS), it is analyzed how multiple understandings and interpretations can coexist and diversify the didactic development of the subject.
In the article Technology in the HTX technology subject, Jeppsen and Henriksen deal with the concept of technology in HTX’s profile subject. The so-called ‘technology model’, which forms the framework of the subjects, is analyzed in relation to its potential, limitations and whether it supports the purposes and learning objectives of the subjects.
In Incongruent agreement, the authors adopt a critical-hermeneutic perspective in the analysis of narratives from the project Technology understanding in Folkeskolen. Dau, Hachmann and von Sehested identify epistemological and subject didactic positions in descriptions of processes from the project. This sheds light on the transformation of professionalism from the theoretically anchored management documents to the professional developers’ design of prototypes.
In the article Technology Comprehension in a More-than-Human World, Danholt analyzes the elementary school’s technology comprehension subject and its implicit understanding of technology from an STS perspective and thereby argues that students must be able to do more than master technology.
In the article Technology understanding in subjects, Slot, Gissel and Hjorth start from interviews with professional developers of prototypes for understanding technology in existing subjects. In the analysis, the professional developers’ interpretation of technology understanding is examined, and on that basis the authors identify four barriers in the subject meeting between technology understanding and existing subjects.
In the contribution Science and Technology Studies – steps towards an empowering technology critique, Andersen and Tafdrup present three impacts in the STS research tradition. The aim is to visualize how and why this tradition can contribute to and nuance the professional and conceptual content in the competence area of digital empowerment.
The testing of Technology Understanding as a new professional skill has thrown off several projects. In the project ‘The children in the robot city’, governing documents for the experimental subject have been translated and taught from ministerial discourses into concrete practice courses for students in three subjects. The article Business forms and technology concepts from curriculum to practice in and across three subjects by Nielsen, Larsen, Krossá and Petersen follows case studies from the project to understand how a relatively narrow and analytical approach to understanding technology in the governing documents unfolds more nuanced in practice.
In the article Technology understanding in teacher training, Andersen et al. an empirically grounded conceptual contribution to how the cultural encounter between technology understanding and existing subjects in teacher education can be described. With inspiration from acculturation theory, it describes how technology understanding can be assimilated, separated and integrated.
Based on 110 prototype courses from Experiments with technology understanding in Folkeskolen examines Technology understanding – a coherent professional? by Slot, Hachmann, Hjorth and von Sehested, whether a coherent professionality has been developed as well as the connections and gaps between the four competence areas in technology understanding both as an independent subject and integrated into existing school subjects.
In The learning material as a change agent in the classroom, Beksgaard et al. on an experiment with a learning tool aimed at promoting problem solving and technological competences. In the study, the teacher’s role and competences are highlighted as some of the things that provide challenges and opportunities in the teaching of technology understanding.
In the article Technology understanding for everyone? examines Riis, Hansen and Holmboe vocational education’s new basic subject Business Informatics. Through a subject-didactic analysis of the subject’s curriculum, the authors take a closer look at how the subject and its intended practice meet the distinctive characteristics of vocational education and the intentions that focus on understanding technology in this context.
In the article “Do you have robots to paint for you?” Buhl and Skov investigate the professional renewal potential of technology understanding in the visual arts. Based on an analysis of teaching courses (prototypes), the authors point to the interaction between computational thinking, digital empowerment and programming as crucial for a potential subject renewal, which can both contribute with new aesthetic qualities of expression and contribute to the fulfillment of the objectives of the visual arts as well as the school in general
In the article Computational thinking characterized as a set of competences, Duun, Misfeldt and Andersen contribute an overview of which competences have been defined and highlighted in the research literature on computational thinking in the period 2013-2018.
We wish you a very happy reading!
Marianne Riis, Bjarke Lindsø Andersen, Martin Dybdal, Rasmus Leth Jørnø, Marie Falkesgaard Slot and Mikkel Hjorth