THE IMPORTANCE OF TECHNOLOGICAL EDUCATION IN THE CURRICULUM

Technological innovation influences all areas of life, from the daily lives of individuals to the work of business and government, to interactions on a global scale. It helps meet basic human needs and provides tools for improving people's lives and exploring new frontiers. The policy outlined in this document is designed to ensure that technological education in Ontario enables students to meet the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century.

The power, reach, and rapid evolution of technology demand a curriculum that will enable students to become technologically literate – that is, able to understand, work with, and benefit from a range of technologies. Students need to acquire the technological skills and knowledge that will allow them to participate fully in a competitive global economy and to become responsible citizens in an environmentally vulnerable world. To succeed in today's society, students need to be effective problem solvers and critical thinkers, able to understand, question, and respond to the implications of technological innovation. Students who pursue careers in technology will also need these high-level skills to develop solutions to technological challenges or to provide the services required in their chosen fields.

Technological education focuses on developing students' ability to work creatively and competently with technologies that are central to their lives. As they proceed through their elementary and secondary school education, students attain a level of technological literacy that will enhance their ability to succeed in their postsecondary studies or in the workplace. For students who do not choose to pursue careers in technology, technological education can provide knowledge and skills that will enhance their daily lives, whether by enabling them to work on home renovations or car repairs or by allowing them to pursue technological hobbies.

Technological education promotes the integration of learning across subject disciplines. For example, when students design a product, they explore the social or human need that the product addresses (social science), the scientific principles involved in its design and construction (science), its dimensions and shape (mathematics), and the aesthetic qualities of its design (the arts). When they assess the impact that new technologies have had – or may have – on society, students are exploring historical or current events. When they consider how various technologies affect health and physical well-being, they are looking into aspects of health and physical education. Students apply business principles to the study of the production and marketing of products. They apply literacy skills to communicate design ideas, produce reports summarizing technological projects, and write instructions for the use of the products they create. Technological education also helps students develop research skills and fosters creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. In addition, in its emphasis on innovation to meet human needs, it encourages global citizenship and promotes social, economic, and environmental awareness.

Subject matter from any course in technological education can be combined with subject matter from one or more courses in other disciplines to create an interdisciplinary course. The policies and procedures regarding the development of interdisciplinary courses are outlined in the interdisciplinary studies curriculum policy document.

The secondary school technological education curriculum is designed to build on the foundation of knowledge and skills provided by the elementary science and technology curriculum, particularly in its Understanding Structures and Mechanisms strand. In this continuum, there is a similar emphasis on foundational knowledge and skills (fundamentals), technological problem-solving skills and processes, and the relationship between technology, the environment, and society.

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