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  • WP6j - science in design and technology
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WP6j: Using science in design and technology A book chapter and a guide for teachers will be produced. These will be built on  theoretical perspectives on learning as situated, the relationship between science and technology and the use of knowledge in action (see for example Layton, 1991). These perspectives address the tension between on the one hand that science  constitutes an important component of modern technology and, on the other hand, that technology as a form of knowledge (see Mitcham, 1994) is highly situated in practical contexts. Therefore, science knowledge cannot be used in a straightforward  way in practical technological contexts. Following these perspectives, the material will build on the conception of technology as not simply 'applied science', nor a motivational tool for science learning, but as a knowledge domain in itself. Still,  science is a relevant knowledge component in this highly dynamic domain of knowledge and activity, and the material will attend to the challenges of reconstructing science knowledge into practical action. Due to the practical, problemsolving nature of technology, inquiry constitutes a natural part of technological activity. Some effort will also be put into elaborating on how this form of inquiry can be considered, and used in teaching, in terms of the concept of inquiry learning in  science.  The relationship between science and technology as knowledge domains in the  school curriculum differs a lot between countries in Europe (and elsewhere). While design and technology in Norway is incorporated in the curriculum for several subjects, providing for cross-curricular teaching, some countries, like UK and Sweden, have (design &) technology as an independent subject in their curricula. Other countries have no technology teaching in their curriculum for all pupils, or it  may form part of the science curriculum in the sense of applications of science. The different organizations do of course carry different expectations and traditions for how technology as a field of activity is framed within schools. The material produced in STEAM will attempt an approach that may be of use for teachers and science educators working within this variety. This means that specific connections to subjects and curriculum goals must be avoided. Still the material needs to be specific  enough to be of use for teachers. This can be solved by presenting case studies from different contexts.   Bungum (2006), from research on teachers and technology teaching, demonstrates how curriculum ideas are heavily influences by the national and cultural context when transferred from one country to another and realized by teachers in their classrooms.  Teachers tend to have strong professional frames (Barnes, 1992), that inform their teaching practice in terms of aims and objectives, heavily situated in the school culture they form part of. They do, however express a great need for curricular  knowledge (Shulman, 1986) in terms of concrete, practical ideas in order to realize these aims and objectives. For technology teaching, this involves detailed knowledge on useful 'nuts and bolts' and all the tedious, but important, pragmatics on where  these can be purchased and what they cost (this of course is somewhat challenging in trying to reach teachers all over Europe!).    The material for S-TEAM will operationalise the above perspectives in two steps.  Step 1: WP6j.1 constitutes production of a book chapter intended for science and technology educators, for teacher training and for teacher practitioners who want to  go into some depth in the issues concerning the use of science in technological settings. It will bring in some theoretical perspectives and treat the issues on an analytical level, but makes strong links to the various practical approaches to the  teaching of science and technology, in order to avoid an over-academic approach. It will focus on the challenges of learning and applying theories and concepts from science in technological contexts. Inquiry learning will be addressed in showing how  technological settings allow for scientific inquiry in a creative way, and what this require in terms of time, resources and teacher competence.    Step 2: WP6j.2 will provide a very practical guide for teachers with concrete examples of technology projects that have a potential for learning and using science concepts and relationships, and for scientific inquiry. Concrete ideas for how this  potential can be utilised will be provided.  (product 6.13)

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