The modern day education system is governed by the needs of the prevailing society. As such, the curriculum should be designed in a way that manages to balance the social as well as the intellectual aspects of those that it is intended to serve. It should also manage to offer a platform for improvement since learning is a dynamic process. As such, this discussion will examine the 2005 draft guide of the High School model course for technological issues.
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In the curriculum given on the high school model course guide, the technology content is accurate. This is achieved by having the syllabus modeled on encouraging the use of the physical world in developing class room ideas. This practicality gives the curriculum credibility. It is also due to the fact that it has been intended to capture engineering by design. As such, most of the inventions and technological advances that are being encouraged for pursuit are those that satisfy the immediate needs. In addition to this, the approach encourages technological literacy for everyone. In essence, technology should serve both the young and the old by simplifying the approach to diverse tasks without compromising quality.
The content in the technology curriculum also addresses the issue of Big Ideas. This is where both the instructors or teachers and the students are involved in the development of ideas and concepts especially on the design of different items. This is indicated by the trend to have a system that encourages an understanding of theory that is then translated into practical exercises. As such, it addresses matters ranging from design to actual practicability of the lessons given. It is also placed in a way that gives room for individual innovation in reference to what is already available.
As the education system of the country dictates, there are national standards that should be met by any given curriculum. This curriculum achieves that by benchmarking itself against recognized research recommendations from acclaimed scholars as well as institutions. There is also evidence of a great deal of involvement of the education authorities in the form of a consortium of member representatives. This is indicated by the co-ordination of diverse authorities in curriculum development for this age bracket. These scholars are from different states in the country and by their co-operation, they ensure that the syllabus addresses and satisfies national education standards.
The time frame specified for this course is one hundred and eighty (80) days. Since the lessons are split into forty (40) minute intervals, this is ample time to complete the course in a step-by-step basis. The time frame also allows for a balance between the practical aspects of the course as well as the theory aspect. This is essential since it is one of the surest ways of judging a studentâ€™s progress in relation to the rest of the class.
In the course of the curriculum, the main strength is that it is designed to build on prior knowledge acquired. In essence, what has been learnt from previous classes is then used to move to the next. As such, it ensures a logical progression in all the knowledge transferred from various entities. It also allows for students to co-operate in form of group assignments as well as class presentations.
The curriculum encourages innovation of new concepts in line with what has been taught in class as well as experiences in the physical world. These innovations can be totally new or improvements of already existing concepts. This model ensures that the big ideas are incorporated in every aspect of the lesson. In addition to this, the standards already set are supported both in class and also outside the laboratory experience. This is the embodiment of knowledge transfer thus making it an appropriate curriculum or syllabus.
The curriculum ensures that students are encouraged to pursue higher thinking. This is attained through ensuring that the assignments given make the learners to seek information from their colleagues as well as the instructors. Since this is a technology curriculum, it does not discriminate on any grounds. Learners who have attained high school going age and with the mental capacity to take up this class are not deterred from doing so. The curriculum encourages diversity in its populace so as to transfer as much knowledge from the students as possible.
There are multiple types of assessments that are used in this syllabus. The two main ones are in the form of class supervised examinations as well as the practical lessons. Practical lessons examine concepts that are expressed through design and also the efficiency of the studentâ€™s designs .
The syllabus outlined in this manual is teacher supportive. Teacher support in any model of study is essential since it allows for adequate conditions to get the required instructions and guidance from the teachers to the learners. This curriculum is designed to grant the teachers adequate time to prepare for the lessons and also sessions that are timed to teach the required ideas for a given lesson. It also encourages the use of available technology and teaching aids that can be catered for by a regular school budget .
The curriculum is designed in a way that it can be integrated into the current as well as future teaching situations. Future prospects are dictated by possible changes in subject outlines or course objectives. This curriculum has space for integration with other practical based subjects in high school as well as tertiary levels of education.
The syllabus also gives room for the teachers to review their skills or improve on their proficiency. It is offered in terms of teacher exercises that are meant to prepare the instructors before they get to class sessions with their students.
Outside influences have been used to model this curriculum. These have been drawn from the local community. In this case, this is the contemporary United States of America. The curriculum is based on a needs assessment that has taken into account the lifestyle and intellectual abilities of the students in relation to the modern day United States of America.
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This curriculum supports the use of additional content from other related disciplines. As a technology based syllabus, it ensures that the dynamic nature of this subject is open for improvement and also integration with other issues. Engineering by Design calls for adaptation of class room knowledge in the physical environment. The curriculum in question encourages this by giving exercises through out the academic year that are geared towards practical solutions for day to day problems.
Strengths and weaknesses
The curriculum is strengthened by its design that encourages reference to ideas taught in previous classes especially at lower levels. This encourages progression both for the learners as well as the teachers since it gives an all inclusive mode of learning.
Another strength lies in the fact that it encourages the co-ordination of the teacher and the student. This is indicated by the use of practical laboratory lessons that are intended to make students consult among themselves and also with the teacher. This ensures that theoretical ideas are efficiently taught and also easily employed by the students.
One of the weak points of this syllabus is that it offers little room for interaction with other disciplines. It is mostly an inclusive curriculum and it has little room for mixing other disciplines like the arts. Another weakness is that it is only adoptable in First World countries. This means that it is hard to take students who have undergone this curriculum to use what they have learnt in Third World countries and this limits knowledge transfer.
The changes that can be put forward in this syllabus are addition of chances to have interaction with more arts subjects. This is due to the fact that the modern world is more inclined to adopt technologies that are both practical and aesthetically superior. Another change is to include more resource persons in designing the curriculum and making it easier to teach and also add more modern ideas.
Another change that can be effected is adoption of the curriculum to be taught via the internet using online platforms. This would reach more people and at the same time make technology to be put into use. This would also push the boundaries of practical uses of technology that are some of the building blocks of this curriculum. Presently, everything is being adopted for use over internet platforms. This calls for a change in the approach of curriculum development from the traditional set up to one that allows for such innovations.
There should also be an addition in laboratory or workshop sessions. These are the best ways in which both theory and practice can be intertwined in the same time frame. As such, it will save time as well as resources used to teach the same subject and it will also improve the studentâ€™s understanding. These changes would make the curriculum to be in line with the prevailing times
Conclusion and Recommendation
In conclusion, the high school manual for CATTS/ Engineering by Design (EbD) is a sufficient curriculum for an all inclusive technology class. This is due to the fact that it offers buffer zones for both the student and the instructors to explore the course to the fullest. In addition to this, it also accommodates other related courses and thus it ensures that the knowledge shared by the two parties is practical both inside and outside the class room environment. The curriculum is recommended for the high school student since it gives guidance on how to explore the physical environment and apply the knowledge gained in class.
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