Positioning Technology and Engineering Education as a Key Force in STEM Education


Disciplines and professions such as technology and engineering are easy to include within the STEM acronym and are catchy understandings in the vernacular of the populous, but the reality of implementing the delivery of technology and engineering as the subject is convoluted, misinterpreted, under-delivered and blended within the sciences. The authors present statistics indicating that a shortage of trained and subject certified professional teachers are available to competently deliver such education. Large proportions of such teachers of this subject matter have little mathematics education beyond first-year algebra, with no preparatory course work in either subject. Due to this shortcoming, the distinction between the two fields has become blurred and overlapping. The overarching aim of STEM is to encourage interest in the fields and prepare students for post-secondary education after which contribute to society and economic benefit would result strengthening a declining population of such professionals. As the sciences include subjects such as biology, chemistry, earth-sciences et al., engineering delivery must include electrical, mechanical, civil, architecture et al., to distinguish engineering’s specificity in its own domain and the same holds true to technology as well; however, an ambiguity surrounds the term and hinders the general understanding of technology as subject. The authors implore a true focus on engineering as a core disciplinary subject, which they conclude will help remove the long-standing confusion of engineering with technology.



As the presence of engineering content and practices increases in science education, the distinction between the two fields of science and technology education becomes even more vague than previously theorized. Furthermore, the addition of engineering to the title of the profession raises the question of the true aim of technology education. As a result, the technology and engineering education community must effectively communicate its role in an evolving STEM education landscape. During this time of change, it is important that we understand how the technology education profession has transitioned in the past while we figure out how to balance traditions and contemporary needs. The authors present three pathways that appear most salient in moving forward: (1) adhering to the fundamental goals of technology education, (2) collaborating with science education to potentially become a core discipline, or (3) revitalizing the field through a shift to engineering education. A final recommendation is made to energize the field by centering on becoming a true provider of K–12 engineering education.

Strimel, G., & Grubbs, M. E. (2016). Positioning technology and engineering education as a key force in STEM education. Journal of Technology Education, 27(2), 21-36.