How Teachers can conduct and evaluate Research

how do teachers contribute to educational research and how does action research help teachers and how to conduct teacher research how does research help a teacher
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Dr.CherylStam,New Zealand,Researcher
Published Date:04-07-2017
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Inga-Britt Skogh and Marc J. de Vries (Eds.) Technology Teachers as Researchers INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION SERIES INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION SERIES Technology Teachers as Researchers Technology Teachers Philosophical and Empirical Technology Education Studies in the Swedish TUFF as Researchers Research School Inga-Britt Skogh Philosophical and Empirical KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden Technology Education Studies in and the Swedish TUFF Research School Marc J. de Vries (Eds.) Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden This book presents the scientifi c output of the TUFF research school in Sweden. In Inga-Britt Skogh and Marc J. de Vries (Eds.) this school, a group of active teachers worked together on a series of educational research studies. All of those studies were related to the teaching about technology and engineering. The research program consisted of studies at various angles of view: a philosophical view, a national view, and a classroom practice view. The book is a showcase of how a well-conducted research program for teachers can lead to good contributions to technology education research. A selection of topics: the nature of technological knowledge, mental images of engineers and engineering, the process of choosing for a study in technology, teachers’ beliefs about technology education and assessment. These topics are directly related to major issues in the international technology education research agenda. The studies presented here were the basis of the authors’ Ph.D. theses. The teachers’ chapters are preceded by a description of ideas behind the TUFF research school and the way it was realized. ISBN 978-94-6209-441-3 SensePublishers ITES 12 Spine 16.891 mmCONTENTS Preface vii 1. TUFF and the Value of Teachers as Researchers 1 Inga-Britt Skogh & Marc J. de Vries Section I: Philosophy of Technology 2. What Is Technological Knowledge? 17 Sven Ove Hansson 3. Explanation and Prediction in Technology Education 33 Per Norström 4. Pictorial Realism in Geometric Images and Technical Design 53 Anna Stenkvist Section II: Technology Education Research 5. Students’ Encounter with Technology Education: Testimonies from Compulsory School Technology Classrooms 79 Inga-Britt Skogh 6. The Noble Art of Problem Solving: A Critical View on a Swedish National Test 101 Edvard Nordlander & Maria Cortas Norlander 7. To Use or Not to Use a Teacher Support Programme: A Study of What Characterises Swedish Schools that Apply the Inquiry-based Teacher Support Programme, NTA 119 Joakim Svärd 8. Challenge Traditional Structures: Ways of Building Gender Equality in Technology Education 143 Guuilla Rooke Section III: Engineering Education 9. Why Choose a Regional Engineering Education Programme? 173 Håkan Ahlblom 10. The Successful Student: A Study Examining How Young Swedish People Represent Engineering Students Discursively 199 Patricia Kingdom v ITES-Skogh.indb v 11/18/2013 12:28:07 PMINGA-BRITT SKOGH & MARC J. DE VRIES 1. TUFF AND THE VALUE OF TEACHERS AS RESEARCHERS INTRODUCTION This book is the outcome of a Swedish project in which a group of technology school teachers carried out a research plan that eventually led to their Licentiate or Ph. D. theses. In the past it was rare when teachers did research. Now there seems to be a certain trend towards the teacher-researcher combination, at least for the time that is needed to produce a Ph. D. thesis. In e.g. Sweden the Swedish National Graduate School in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Research (FontD) has been running since 2002. In the Netherlands 2013 was the final year of the DuDoc project in which also a group of teachers worked on Ph. D. theses. In this introductory chapter we will describe the TUFF project and discuss some of the pros and cons concerning teachers doing research as we find them in literature. Finally we will sketch an outline of the book and show how it is structured. THE TUFF PROJECT In Sweden, and probably in many other countries, the perceived distance between researchers/universities and teachers/schools is considerable. Hence the implementation of educational research in ‘everyday’ school practice is and has been problematic. To bridge the gap between academies and practice the idea of doctoral programs specially designed for teachers wanting to do research up to the level of licentiate (half a PhD) was launched in Sweden in the early years of the 2000s. The ‘first generation’ teacher doctoral programs in Sweden started in 2001 (Andrea-Thelin, 2009). This first venture was followed by a number of similar doctoral programs initiated by universities and municipalities wanting to collaborate. The ‘second generation’ programs were commonly funded by the Swedish research council and (to a lesser extent) by concerned municipalities. In 2008 a ‘third generation’ doctoral program designated towards practicing teachers was launched. Ten doctoral programs in selected subject areas received funding from the Government. In this venture in total 160 teachers participated. Twelve of these teachers were admitted to our graduate school called Technology Education for the Future (in Swedish TUFF) for research projects about teaching and learning technology. I.-B. Skogh & M.J. de Vries (Eds.), Technology Teachers as Researchers, 1–13. © 2013 Sense Publishers. All rights reserved.I.-B. SKOGH & M. J. DE VRIES Between 2008 until 2012 the graduate school TUFF was run in partnership with Stockholm University (Host University), University of Gävle and Royal Institute of Technology (partner universities). In this introductory text graduate school TUFF is presented. Within the next pages you will find information regarding the project background, the aims and goals of graduate school TUFF, choices, activities and experiences and an update of the current situation for the TUFF PhD students. PROJECT BACKGROUND From Centralization to Decentralization In the 1990s, the responsibility for schools in Sweden was transferred from central government to local municipalities. State influence changed from regular management to management by objectives and from centralization to decentralization. National goals and guidelines are specified by Government and Parliament through the Education Act, curricula etc. but the responsibility for the implementation and realization of these national goals were transferred from state to municipalities. The mission to, on behalf of the government, work actively for the achievement of these national goals is laid upon the National Agency for Education (NAE). The responsibility for educational research has also changed over the years. The municipal and local level has been given greater responsibility for both school improvement and educational research. How educational research is organized, how it is administered and the decisions on what content should be prioritized is today decided by local authorities. For example, since 2003 key education authorities have neither influence nor responsibility for the initiation or distribution of research funds (Andræ Thelin, 2009). The main source of funding in educational science in Sweden today is a research-driven committee within the national Research Council. In 2012 165 million Skr was allocated by way of grants for research within educational sciences from the council’s total budget of 4.5 billion Skr (Research Council, 2013). Educational research oriented towards teaching and learning technology have only occasionally received financial support from the Council. Educational Research, School Practice and Teacher Education To what extent teachers (and teaching) are influenced by new educational research has been discussed by school authorities, researchers and politicians in Sweden for many years. Results seem neither to reach nor to involve practicing teachers as much as desired. Some even claim that there is a considerable gap between educational research and teachers’ practice. Measures to address this perceived gap have however been taken. During the last ten years efforts have been made to promote and support practice oriented educational research in Sweden. The importance of a dialogue between research, training and the educational sector has been emphasized by stake holders and policy makers. This dialogue can (and should), according to 2TUFF AND THE VALUE OF TEACHERS AS RESEARCHERS decision makers, take the shape of collaborative research thus making research results available to interested groups (Thelin, 2009, Prop. 1999/2000:81). Teacher education is, in this context, a particularly important arena. The teacher education reform launched in 2001 led to a rapprochement between theory and practice which meant a shift from ‘know how’ to ‘know why’. A requirement for all teacher students to write a thesis based on theory and focusing relevant educational issues was also introduced in this reform. The link between teacher training and postgraduate education was however not thoroughly addressed. The European Union-harmonization of academic education through the so-called Bologna process has however opened for a clearer discussion of how teachers in Swedish can be connected to master’s programs and doctoral studies. Teacher education in Sweden was recently revised and a new teacher education in line with the Bologna process (SOU 2008:109) was launched in 2011. The First and Second Generation Teaching-graduate Programs In 2001 the idea of so-called teaching-graduate students was introduced in a governmental proposal (Prop. 2000/2001:3). The proposal suggested that the National Agency for Education (NAE) should support the development of a scientific base for the teaching profession by investing in teaching graduate programs run in collaboration between the NAE, one or more universities, municipalities and school authorities. The NAE identified a number of strong research environments, selected subject areas to be highlighted in the research (e.g. pupils’ learning, teachers’ work and the leadership of this) and requirements for admittance to the program was set up (teachers diploma, two years of professional experience, employed as a teacher, listed in a regular research training program, financial support from municipality and the obligation to produce a practice-oriented thesis). In the years following 2001 just over thirty PhD students were admitted to the program. It should however be noted that only a quarter of these PhD-students (two men and six women) were ‘pure’ teaching-graduate students who met all the above mentioned NAE-criteria. The average age among these eight ‘first generation’ teacher-graduate students was high (48, 6 years) and they were studying Didactics (e.g. music didactics) and Educational Work (Thelin, 2009). This teaching-graduate student program was a new instrument in the field of research. The example given by authorities was followed by a number of similar ‘second generation’ PhD-programs around Sweden. In e.g. 2002 a PhD program focusing educational research in science and technology (FontD) was launched. FontD was (and still is) hosted by Linköping University, funded by the National Research Council and run in partnership with a number of universities/university colleges from all over Sweden. This and other ‘second generation’ programs were however initiated by municipalities and/or universities wanting to collaborate. On a national level the effort to promote teachers to do practice-based research was followed up in 2008 within the frames of a new professional development program called the Boost for Teachers Initiative. 3I.-B. SKOGH & M. J. DE VRIES The Third Generation Teaching-graduate Programs – The Boost for Teachers Initiative In 2008 the so called Boost for Teachers Initiative was launched. By means of continuing professional development for teachers this program should “… strengthen teacher’s competence, both in the theory of their subject and pedagogical approaches to teaching” (NAE, 2009). Specially developed ‘Boost for Teachers Initiative’ courses in selected subject areas were ordered by the NAE to be developed by universities and colleges. Certain requirements must however be fulfilled before a teacher could enter such a course. The teacher must be eligible, have a teaching qualification in higher education and be a practicing teachers working at any level from preschool class up to adult education. The rules of the promotion stipulate still one further requirement. Teachers’ participation in the program was to be governed by the needs and priorities of the local schools/ municipalities (Skogh, 2010). Within the Boost for Teachers Initiative the government also decided to fund ten third-cycle study programs (graduate schools). The conditions of this initiative were very favorable to teachers as well as to organizers (universities). Two and a half years of study leading to licentiate level (‘half a PhD’). Four days of studies and one day of teaching in school each week with full payment during the entire period of study. A state grant guaranteed 60% of the teachers’ salary and participating communities/ schools contributing the remaining 40%. To be eligible teachers must fulfill the above mentioned requirements (including having a signed certificate of approval from the local school organizer) and, also be assessed by the university concerned to be qualified for doctoral studies. In the autumn of 2007 universities in Sweden were invited to develop special designed graduate school programs. In March 2008 ten programs were selected by the government (via the national Research Council). One of the selected programs was TUFF. Aims and Goals Three overarching goals of the TUFF program were formulated from the very beginning. The graduate school TUFF should: – strengthen the status of technology and the efficiency in compulsory school – technology education – strengthen the recruitment to technical studies in high school and college and – promote gender-neutral education and gender balance in recruitment. From these aims three objectives were extracted. Research within TUFF should address the following areas: 1. explore factors affecting recruitment to technology training and develop methods to promote recruitment, 4TUFF AND THE VALUE OF TEACHERS AS RESEARCHERS 2. develop practical methods for teaching technology education in primary and secondary education and 3. explore how gender equality can be increased in recruitment and in the teaching of technology subjects. TUFF started March 15, 2008 and was formally closed June 30, 2012. It was run in cooperation between Stockholm University (SU), the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and the University of Gävle (HiG). Two postgraduate education subject areas were included: Education in Arts and Professions (SU) and Philosophy (KTH). The result of study for each student should continuously be fed back to their schools in order to certify a practice-related research situation as well as to inject the outcome of research in school practice. Twelve teacher graduate students (six women, six men) worked in the research school. Choices, Activities and Experiences We have, during our work with TUFF, been faced with many choices. Each and every one of those choices has, in different ways, affected the outcome of the graduate school. Some choices were made early on in the process and others have been made ‘along the way’. Some of the choices will be presented here. Selection of Research Question and Development of Post Graduate Courses To formulate research questions is painstaking and time consuming work for any researcher. To facilitate the students but also to guide research into issues of particular concern for the graduate school, we decided that we should present a list of research questions for the students to choose from (e.g. “Students’ conceptions of technology”, “Reasons for students’ choice of technology studies at higher levels”, “Assessment of pupils’ achievements in technology” and “Technology education and gender”). The program also required the development of specially designed technology education oriented postgraduate courses (e.g. Technology Didactics, The Epistemology of Technology and Technology and Gender). Selection of Students During May of 2008 between thirty and forty applications were submitted. The applications were reviewed and valued by the management group (one representative from each university). In the call for applications we emphasized only teachers who had been given the ‘green light’ from her/his community and school principal were eligible for the program. However, early in the process we found that many of the candidates had not understood the need for approval from her/his employer. Of the twenty applications, which we deemed interesting, there were uncertainties about 5I.-B. SKOGH & M. J. DE VRIES the municipal financing in more than half of the applications. In particular, smaller municipalities turned out not to be able (or willing) to commit to the financial conditions of the program. Consequently several of the high ranked candidates from smaller communities could not be admitted. The question of what qualities we were looking for is reasonable to ask. In addition to the formal requirements stated by the government and the participating universities we were looking for persons having the ability to verbally and in writing present their research interest and their choice of research question/ research area with precision and in a credible manner. We also wanted our future students to demonstrate a number of subtle personal properties that are difficult to capture in words but still are well known to all researchers; purposefulness, a clear sense of reality, good reflectivity, openness to opinions and arguments and, not least, accuracy. Research work means both solo work and group work. We were therefore keen to find individuals with self-discipline and with good interpersonal skills. Seven candidates were finally selected in the first run starting their studies in August of 2008. A second call for applicants was made in September of 2008 and five additional, equally qualified, teachers were selected to join the program in December of 2008. Table 1 gives some basic information about the whole group. Supervising With regard to the supervision of the TUFF graduate students, it was decided from the start that each student were to be assigned to one of the three participating universities where a work place and other resources were made available to the assigned students. The students’ main supervisor was appointed from the institution where he/she was assigned. One assistant supervisor per student was appointed from one of the other universities. To students in need of further special expertise (e.g. specific methodological support) yet another assistant supervisor was appointed. The total amount of supervisors appointed within TUFF is 9 (professors, associate professors, assistant professors). Commonly tutorials have been individual but group instructions have occurred. All graduate students and main tutors have regularly met in research seminars. External experts/researchers have been invited for presentations and discussions. At least twice a year, representatives from Table 1. Fact about TUFF students Average age Gender School level (at admission) balance Number of students assigned focused 46 years 6 female, kth su hig primary: (from 35–56 years) 6 male 5 5 2 5 projects secondary: 7 projects 6TUFF AND THE VALUE OF TEACHERS AS RESEARCHERS participating universities and municipalities, representatives from various interest groups (e.g. teacher union representatives, engineering union representatives and policy makers) and representatives from the industry have been invited to meetings (so called reference group meetings) for information exchange, discussions and presentations. When necessary (on a regular basis) supervisors have met for follow- up discussions, information exchange and tutorial support. Students’ Experiences A minor follow-up study of TUFF was performed in 2012 (Skogh & Gumaelius, 2012). A survey was sent (by e-mail) to the twelve teachers in late May of 2012. The two part survey consisted of open ended questions. In Part 1 questions are posed about the application/ admittance procedures, working/studying conditions, the perception of goal fulfillment etc.). Part 2 consisted of questions about the students’ attitudes towards graduate studies in general and to TUFF in particular (their own personal goal fulfillment, their contacts with their schools/municipalities and their future career plans). Ten of the twelve teachers answered the survey. Six teachers from each of the three participating universities were then selected for interviews. The semi-structured interviews were made in early July of 2012 via telephone. The aim of the interviews was to get a deeper understanding of statements regarding the teachers’ views on their own personal goal fulfillment (having or not having completed the studies) and about their perception of interest from the municipal/ school regarding their research and future career. Collected data was systemized and thereafter analyzed through repeated readings of statements. According to findings all TUFF-students have found their graduate studies valuable for their own personal devolvement. They all found their working tasks during their studies stimulating, mainly because of the significant change in their working conditions. As researchers they found time for reflection on teaching methods and subject development, which has not been the case when working in school. Six out of ten students express that they would like to continue their graduate studies to doctoral level. The opportunity to join this research school was a personal choice, which opened up the possibility for a new carrier. Several students point out that applying for admittance themselves and thereafter anchoring the application with their employer was the only way to do it as the time from when the positions were announced until time for application was very limited. Municipality and school management simply had no time to learn about this project in advance. After completion of their study period most TUFF-students express that the quality of their own teaching has improved after the study period. Not more than four students believe that the quality of education in their respective schools/ municipalities has increased as a result of their education. There are some negative statements mentioned by the TUFF-students. Most informants fear that their acquired competence will not be put to use in the school environment. Six students cannot see that their knowledge and competence will be 7I.-B. SKOGH & M. J. DE VRIES used at all when/if they go back to their position as schoolteacher. This has caused a lot of frustration among the students as they themselves see great possibilities to make a difference in school. The four students who do feel that they are supported by school management or by their municipality have a much more positive attitude towards going back to school after finishing their thesis and they also think that their knowledge will be put to good use. Two out of ten students feel they have had a good relationship with their school management and/or with the responsible persons in ‘their’ municipality during their graduation studies. Only one student decided to participate in the TUFF research school as a result of a discussion and in collaboration with the municipality. The students also found the available time for studies (2.5 years) too short. Since they all had to go back to a fulltime job after the time period had expired, it has, according to the teachers, been difficult to complete their theses even though they are work wise close to graduation. None of the students think the requirements are set too high, but they admit that the high requirements has been one reason why they have not fulfilled the goals on time. (At the time all students had published articles in international journals, taken 45 units of courses, participated in national and international conferences and contributed to a Swedish anthology.) Several students feel that the requirements for this research school have been higher than for other similar research schools. On the other hand they appreciate this and are proud of this ambitious research school. They also feel that the step to reach the doctorate level is not so big. A third factor that is often mentioned in the interviews is that it has been disrupting to work in school 20% of the time during the 2.5 years of study. Some felt that it was difficult to restrict the working time to 20%. It seems like the students who are most satisfied with this combination are the ones who has done their school duties in periods where they have spent more than 20% in school (in other words concentrated to fewer but longer periods of time). Finally most TUFF students express that it would have been even better to take a doctorate degree at once as this degree is more accepted in the academic world. However the students do acknowledge the difficulties in this arrangement for the school/municipality as 2.5 years are already seen as a long time period to be away from the position in school. Lessons Learned In retrospect there are obvious lessons to be learned. The requirement for each student to produce a compilation thesis with (preferably) internationally published articles in English is one such issue. This has without doubt delayed the students’ examination. However the long term benefit of being published in international journals (by our judgment) does justify this requirement. There are other lessons to be learned. Let’s look at the investment as a whole. What opportunities have been opened up – and for whom? Teachers have been able to do research. Municipalities and schools have gained additional didactic and research competence that they can 8TUFF AND THE VALUE OF TEACHERS AS RESEARCHERS use in the development of schools. Universities have gained extended research resources (academically and economically). The hypothetical possibilities are undoubtedly good. The problem is that the needs of the different parties (individual, municipality, university) are not compatible. It is rather the opposite. It seems like the needs for one of the actors risks becoming a restriction for one or both of the others. When a teacher is given the opportunity to do research, the demands from her/ his municipality, school, university and from the teacher her/himself are tangible and obvious. However the benefit of successful studies (or the burden to having failed) primarily concern the teacher her/himself. From the municipalities’ point of view successful research studies leads to a probable risk of losing a competent teacher to the university. The universities are in most cases the winners as they gain economic resources as well as access to qualified researchers. There are however limitations regarding the amount of available positions also at universities. The lesson learned for future investments in teacher graduate schools could be formulated in the following way: the opportunities of the individual teacher must be accommodated within the same constraints that surround municipalities and universities. This means that the planning, organization and implementation of teacher graduate schools must be coordinated more carefully by all concerned parties and span over a longer period than previous initiatives and projects. CURRENT SITUATION FOR THE TUFF STUDENTS Today (2013) five of the twelve teacher graduate students within TUFF have completed their studies receiving a licentiate degree. Four of these five students are admitted for further graduate studies towards a ‘full’ PhD exam. The remaining seven students have partly or fully returned to their respective schools/employers. Some have been appointed to positions where they are responsible for developing technology education in their municipality. Others have been involved in occasional or more long- term assignments as guest lecturers at universities. They are all expected/expecting to complete their studies – some in the coming semester, others in coming years. TEACHERS DOING RESEARCH: PROS AND CONS IN LITERATURE As stated before, TUFF is an example of a larger trend towards teachers doing academic research. As remarked before, the idea behind that is that it might help reduce the gap between educational research and classroom practice. Let us first see what causes this gap. In the first place the fact that teachers traditionally only serve as the people who provide pupils and classes to the researchers but otherwise are not involved in the research creates a lack of commitment to using the outcomes. In the second place, many studies have research questions that are not relevant for teaching practice but only have theoretical meaning. In the third place, the experimental research set-up requires a control over the variables that normally is not available in a classroom situation and therefore artificial situations have to be created that hamper 9I.-B. SKOGH & M. J. DE VRIES transfer of the outcomes to normal situations. In the fourth place, the outcomes are usually published for researchers and are unreadable for teachers. The effect is that a lot of educational research remains unused in practice (Broekkamp and Van Hout-Wolters 2007). This complaint is heard for many school subjects. In technology education, research is relatively young, but also in this domain it is not easy to identify a research study that really had a substantial impact on teaching. Having teachers themselves become researchers is seen as a possible solution. Success, however, is not guaranteed due to a number of barriers. In the first place, teachers often are insufficiently qualified to do research at the level that is required to publish in academic journals. They may have had a course in research methodology during their teacher education, but that may be long ago. A second barrier is that their school environment does not have the infrastructure that is needed for doing research: often access to scientific literature is not present, there is no community of researchers that they can discuss with, and they lack resources like time and money, as research is not the primary goal of the school and therefore only little resources are dedicated to that. Methodologically, there is a danger that when a teacher investigates interventions in his/her own practice/school, there is insufficient objectivity. As a result the outcomes of many studies done by teachers in their own school are of insufficient quality (Vrijnsen-de Corte 2012): validity and/or reliability are insufficiently warranted, and generalizability is questionable. Even when the outcomes are such that they cannot really be called ‘academic research’, the experience of doing research can still be a useful activity for teachers. It is a form of professional development that can make a teachers more motivated to continue teaching. After all, many teachers leave school before the normal retirement age because the treadmill of daily teaching practice has made them loose interest in school life. Doing research as a side-activity can refresh them and give them opportunities for innovating their own teaching practice. It would be more appropriate, however, to call this ‘professional development’ rather than ‘academic research by teachers’ (West 2011). The remedy for this seems to be to create communities in which teachers work closely together with qualified researchers at universities. This is the basis for creating research schools like TUFF and FontD in Sweden and DuDoc in the Netherlands. By creating such communities the advantages of school teachers doing research can be harvested without suffering the barriers mentioned. This requires, of course, active involvement of both parties. Teachers need to commit themselves to not wasting precious academic research and time and academic supervisors need to commit themselves not to cause irritation with teachers and sloppy supervision by seeing this supervision as less important than their own research activities. Research by teachers fits well with a trend towards new types of research that have more potential of applicability in practice. Action research, design-based research, and in general, practice-oriented research are quickly emerging in the research arena and teachers are in a good starting position for that (apart from the barriers mentioned above), as they have their own teaching practice directly at hand 10TUFF AND THE VALUE OF TEACHERS AS RESEARCHERS to be used a ‘experimentation garden’ (Cochran-Smith and Lytle 2009). In fact, one would expect that teachers, when becoming involved in research school like TUFF, FontD and DuDoc, would have a strong preference for those types of research, as they offer immediate possibilities for improving their teaching practice. The strange thing is that both in TUFF and in FontD this is not the case. This book reflects that, too. Many of the research topics have no direct practical relevance for teaching practice. One may wonder why teachers still opt for such a topic. No research has been done into that, but one could guess that this has to do with teachers’ perception of what academic research is. It may well be they the traditional image of research as something that has to be either on a macro-level or has to be in a rather artificial ‘scientific’ setting, and that almost by definition has to be large-scale and quantitative, dominates teachers’ perception of what they ought to choose as a research topic in order to make it Ph. D.-worthy. This is something that needs to be worked on in the future and hopefully the traditional image of research will erode once sound action research and design-based research Ph. D. studies by teachers become published and used in practice. What is also needed is more attention for research capabilities in the teacher education programs in those cases where this attention is still small. Of course, this will always remain a minor element in the whole teacher education program. Teacher educators can be frustrated by the fact that it is almost impossible to bring future teachers up to a level of ‘qualified researcher’ in the little time that is available for research courses. Maybe a different content for those courses may improve this. Normally, the student teachers are required to do a (small but still) full research study in the course of the program. It is extremely unlikely that this will result in any serious research study given the fact that it is the teachers’ first experience. Maybe a more fruitful approach would be to have the student teacher do a sort of ‘apprenticeship’ with a professional researcher in the program. That may have as a consequence that the student teachers is not actively involved in all phases of a research, but the experience (s)he gets with the limited part of the whole research study probably is much more in-depth. To compensate for the parts of the research process the student teachers has not been actively involved in, (s)he may be required to at least read about that and perhaps in his/her apprenticeship report writes about it to show that (s)he does have gained an understanding of the whole research process. STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK TUFF has resulted in a variety of thesis topics, all related to technology education. One of the interesting aspects of the TUFF program is that it combined philosophy of technology and technology education research. The philosophy of technology generates perspectives on the nature of technology that are very useful for developing education about technology. Section 1 of the book is dedicated to the philosophy of technology. The three papers in this section deal with the nature of technological knowledge and contain contributions from the field of philosophy of technology. Sven Ove Hansson introduces some aspects in the nature of technological knowledge 11I.-B. SKOGH & M. J. DE VRIES that make this type of knowledge different from knowledge in science. Per Norström shows that explanation and prediction, as knowledge-related activities in technology, also have some distinctive features in the technological domain. One of the aspects of technological knowledge that make it special is the importance of knowledge representation in pictures. Being able to understand those is therefore an important element in technological knowledge. In the chapter by Anna Stenkvist this type of knowledge is investigated theoretically. Implications for technology education are also presented. Section II is about technology education research at national level. Inga-Britt Skogh first introduces the development of technology education in the Swedish curriculum and some previous study about its practice. Edvard Nordlander and Maria Cortas Nordlander present a study into the Swedish National Testand the way it deals with problem solving, a core activity in technology, but also in other domains. Joachim Svärd investigated an inquiry-based national support system for teachers. This and the previous chapter show that national interventions may not always work out what they intended. In particular for a relatively vulnerable school subject like technology education this can cause all sorts of problems. Another educational concern at national level is the extent to which girls have equal opportunities with boys. This gender issue is the topic dealt with in Gunilla Rooke’s chapter. Although Sweden has been very active in this respect traditionally, the chapter shows that still further action is needed. Section III is about engineering education. The first chapter builds a bridge between the macro-level of Section II and the micro-level in the remainder of section III. Håkan Ahlblom studied the way students make choices between regional engineering education programs. Several factors influencing this choice were identified in the study and those can be used to promote engineering education. Patricia Kingdon focused on one such factor, namely the image that young people have of engineers. It is evident that unattractive images of engineers will distract people from a study in engineering and therefore creating an attractive image in technology education is of great importance. Equally important is to know what engineers and designers themselves think they do and what they have to learn in engineering education. This is investigated in Helena Isaksson Persson’s contribution. Having seen the national level (curriculum) perspective and the students’ perspective, it is logical that we also looked for the teachers’ perspective. This is what section IV is about. There are two papers in this section. The first, by Eva Hartell, describes teachers’ perspectives on assessment in technology education. The outcomes show that assessment is still by no means unproblematic in technology education and a lot of opportunities for improvement remain still unused. The final chapter, by Lennart Rolandsson, is about teachers’ beliefs regarding programming education, which deals with a particular technological skill and for that reason is often seen as part of technology education. The study, together with Kingdon’s earlier text, is a nice example of how relevant it is to know the ideas pupils are 12TUFF AND THE VALUE OF TEACHERS AS RESEARCHERS teachers hold, as this can be used to tune educational intervention better to where people are mentally seen. The whole set of chapters nicely illustrate the variety of technology education studies one can find nowadays. Some are more theoretical, others are more empirical; some are outspoken quantitative, others and very much qualitative and there are also mixed-method studies. Also the different perspectives of curriculum teachers and pupils are represented. The TUFF experience shows that a well-orchestrated effort to develop a collection of research studies in technology education with teachers as researchers can be successful. This is promising for the future of technology education. Research studies can be an important support for the development of a school subject that still is not reckoned with the traditional undisputed elements of the school curriculum. Such support is most welcome in that vulnerable situation. Educating future citizens in such a way that they have developed a sound technological literacy is well worth the effort of preserving technology education in the school curriculum in some form. Hopefully the TUFF project has made a contribution to that. REFERENCES Andræ Thelin, A. (2009). På tröskeln till en okänd värld. Forskarutbildning och skolans vardag. Rapport 31/2009. Oslo: Norsk institutt for studier av innovasjon, NIFU STEP. Broekkamp, H., & Hout-Wolters, B. H. A. M. van (2007). The gap between educational research and practice: A literature review, Educational Research and Evaluation, 13, 303–220. Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (2009). Inquiry as stance. Practitioner research in the next generation. New York: Teachers College Press. National Agency of Education (2009). The boost for teachers initiative. Brochure. National Agency of Education. Stockholm: Fritzes Proposition. 2000/2001:3: Forskning och förnyelse. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet. Proposition 1999/2000:135: En förnyad lärarutbildning. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet. Research Council home page Retrieved: 2013–04-10 www.vr.se Skogh, I-B. (2010). Teachers becoming researchers – a way to bridge the gap between academy and practice. In H. Middleton, (Ed.), Knowledge in technology education (Vol. 2). Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Brisbane, Australia. Skogh, I-B., & Gumaelius, L. (2012). Technology teachers as researchers; the TUFF experience. In H. Middleton, (red.), Explorations of best practice in technology, design & engineering education (Vol. 2). Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Brisbane, Australia. SOU 2008:109: En hållbar lärarutbildning. Betänkande av Utredningen om en ny lärarutbildning (HUT 09). Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet. Vrijnsen-de Corte, M. (2012). Researching the teacher-researcher. Practice. Practice-based research in Dutch professional development schools. Eindhoven: University of Technology. West, C. (2011). Action research as a professional development activity. Arts Education Policy Review, 112, 89–94. 13SECTION I PHILOSOPHY OF TECHNOLOGYSVEN OVE HANSSON 2. WHAT IS TECHNOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE? INTRODUCTION As usual, Joanne goes to work by bicycle. She is an engineer in a medium-sized company in the automatic control industry. The first thing she does after putting down her bag in her office is to make a pot of tea for herself and her closest colleagues. She pours four teaspoons of black tea into the pot, one for each person and one for the pot. After bringing a cup of tea to her own desk she begins the day’s work. Her first task is to study a report from the company’s laboratory. The technicians have tested the first prototype of a new thermostat that she has designed. Unfortunately the device did not respond rapidly enough to changes in temperature. In order to solve the problem she pulls out a couple of handbooks in thermodynamics from her bookshelf and starts to calculate the effects of several alternative designs. In this short episode we find examples of four types of technological knowledge. The first is her ability to ride a bicycle. Most cyclists cannot tell how they keep balance on a bicycle (Jones, 1970). Such knowledge is called tacit. It has an important role in many types of craftsmanship and professional knowledge. Painters can seldom explain the hand movements by which they even out a surface much faster, and with much less spackling paste, than an amateur. The skilled lab nurse will find it equally difficult to explain to an inexperienced colleague how to take blood samples from patients with difficult veins. When Joanne made tea she applied a traditional rule for measuring out tea leaves. Probably she does not know its background. She uses it because it works (gives suitably strong tea). This can be called practical rule knowledge. It differs from tacit knowledge in being expressible in words. She has in fact taught it to her five year old son (who is still not able to ride a bicycle). Joanne also makes abundant use of rule knowledge in her work as an engineer. When she designs a load-bearing part she always makes it strong enough to carry twice the intended load. This is a practical and reasonably simple way to ensure that her constructions do not break, but there is no theoretical ground for choosing 2 as a safety factor. (Doorn and Hansson, 2011). When she studies the lab report she (and her colleagues in the laboratory) apply scientific methodology to investigate a technological object. This is technological science. Advanced engineering often proceeds in this way, i.e. technological constructions are investigated with scientific methodology. This means that the same methods are used as in the natural sciences to ensure a reliable result: control groups, randomization, blinding, control measurements, well-calibrated measurement I.-B. Skogh & M.J. de Vries (Eds.), Technology Teachers as Researchers, 17–31. © 2013 Sense Publishers. All rights reserved.S. O. HANSSON instruments etc. But technological science differs from natural science in having man- made rather than natural objects of study. Finally, when she applies thermodynamics to design a better thermostat she makes use of natural science to solve a technical problem. This is a type of problem solving that her education has made her well prepared for. Engineering education includes considerable amounts of natural science and training in its application to technological problems. But ten years ago, when working so hard with her course in thermodynamics, she had no idea that one day she would apply it almost on a daily basis. FOUR TYPES OF TECHNOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE In summary we have four major types of technological knowledge: tacit knowledge, practical rule knowledge, technological science, and applied (natural or social) science. This is by no means the first attempt to classify technological knowledge; quite a few typologies and catalogues have already been published. (For an overview, see Houkes (2009, pp. 321–327) There are two major reasons why I have chosen to propose a new typology instead of applying one that is already available. One reason is that previous typologies have been based on mixtures of several criteria for the classification; some typologies contain both types defined in terms of what is known and types defined in terms of how something is known. The present proposal focuses on how we know, not on what we know. (I will return below to the possibility of combining these two crossing distinctions to obtain a more detailed typology.) The other reason is that previous typologies did not seem to be well suited to educational needs. As we will soon see, the four types in this typology are acquired by different learning processes, which makes the typology relevant for studies of teaching and learning. As shown in Figure 1, the four types can be linearly ordered in terms of how practical or theoretical they are. Tacit knowledge is decidedly non-theoretical. It is followed by practical rule knowledge that is somewhat more ”theoretical” since it is expressed in words. The two types of science represent more theoretical types of knowledge. Since technological science is focused on making things work, we can describe it as less theoretical than natural and social sciences that focus on explanations. Figure 1. The four types of technological knowledge, ordered in the practical–theoretical dimension. 18