What do Fleer & Jane mean by appropriate technology?

Developing a critical perspective of the impact of technology?

Technology amplifies the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ aspects of human activity. At its ‘best’, new technology has enabled us to connect people and ideas across vast distances, explore the corners universe, and help to save lives through innovative new medicines and medical devices – to name but a few of its positive uses. At its worst, technology has also given us the power to destroy the planet multiples times over. While a lack of access to technology exacerbates inequality, raising questions about how technology is shared both locally and globally.

Part of learning about technology and its place in society in 21st century, is developing a critical perspective on how it is used and for what purposes. This is about developing a balanced view of what happens when technology is applied to the real world. This involves young learners developing a critical appreciation of technologies and its impact on people and the environment. Even at a primary school level it is possible to talk generally about issues associated with technology and the production of technological services and goods.

Using broad guiding questions can help young learners develop their awareness of technology’s impact on others. Teaching strategies should try to connect broader issues back to the lives of students. Useful guided questions might include:

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  • What impact does this technology have on myself, on my family and friends, on other people in other countries?
  • How does this affect the world around me, and the environment I live in, and the environment other people live in?


Read Technology is really a way of thinking, pp. 1-6, for further discussion by the ATSE (2004) on technology.

Also this week, read Chapter 1: The nature of technology and technological knowledge (Fleer & Jane, 2011, pp. 1-29).

Think about the following questions as you are reading:
  • What do Fleer & Jane mean by appropriate technology?
  • This reading is now a couple of years old – have there been any significant changes that are not addressed by this reading?
  • Have your understandings of technology changed after this week?

Technology is deeply intertwined with human history

By learning about and how to use technologies, connects young learners with an important human activity that is deeply intertwined with human history. Click the Demonstrate tab to work together to develop a timeline of contemporary, traditional and emerging technologies.

Week 2 reference page

Week 2

Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013, February). Draft Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Retrieved from http://consultation.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Static/docs/Technologies/Draft{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20Australian{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20Curriculum{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20Technologies{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20-{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20February{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}202013.pdf

Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). (2004). Technology is really a way of thinking.  Retrieved from http://www.atse.org.au/Documents/Publications/Reports/Education/ATSE{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20Technology{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20Education{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20A{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20Way{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20of{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}20Thinking{0e601fc7fe3603dc36f9ca2f49ef4cd268b5950ef1bbcf1f795cc00e94cdd119}202004.pdf

Corning Incorporated. (2013, May 1). A Day Made of Glass Extended Montage (5-minute – 2013) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfgmlVxLC9w

Corning Incorporated. (2012, February 2). A Day Made of Glass 2: Same Day. Expanded Corning Vision (2012) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZkHpNnXLB0

Fleer M. & Jane, B. (2011). The nature of technology and technological knowledge. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Pearson Education.

Library of Congress. (2009, June 8). The History of Household Technology [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOo92Vu9PZo

Maintenance Technology. (2014). Possible, Probable, Preferred. Retrieved from http://www.maintenancetechnology.com/2001/10/possible-probable-preferred

Mobilegeeks. (2011, October 27). Microsoft’s Concept of How 2019 Will Look Like – Official Video [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwj2s_5e12U

University of California Museum of Paleontology. (2014). Fueling technology. Understanding Science.  Retrieved from http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/whathassciencedone_02


Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014). Creating solutions. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/rationale

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