Project 1: Technology Central
The focus of Technology Central is on learning with technology, as well as about technology. Although both are worthy of attention, it is important to distinguish between technology as a subject area and the use of technology to facilitate learning about any subject area. While computer-related skills will unquestionably be quite important in the twenty-first century, and while such skills are clearly best taught through the actual use of computers, it is important that technology be integrated throughout the K-12 curriculum, and not simply used to impart technology-related knowledge and skills. Although universal technology literacy is a laudable goal, we believe we should work toward the use of computing and networking technologies to improve the quality of education in all subject areas.
Technology Central is a project undertaken to develop a strategic plan for the integration of specific skills in communication technology into the teaching/learning environment. Our challenge is to increase the use of and knowledge of technology in the K-12 educational system. The project requires that students use a variety of technologies to produce web pages dedicated to providing in-depth information on one specific technology. This will serve to expose students to a wide variety of technological devices and systems.
The Internet isn't a single network; it is a vast, globe-spanning network of networks. No single person, group, or organization runs the Internet. Instead, it's the purest form of electronic democracy. The networks communicate with each other based on certain protocols, such as Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP). More and more networks and computers are being hooked up to the Internet every day. Every time you tap into the Internet, your own computer becomes an extension of the network.
As part of the Technology Central Project our students will be required to construct their own web page, using a variety of available software, which consists of at least four links to further pages and at least five graphics created or scanned using the lab scanner. Students are to select one technology and create a web page dedicated to explaining that technology. Students must declare which technology they have chosen in order to avoid duplication. Information for the technology may be gained from the library, magazines, or from the Internet itself. A bibliography of the source materials must be included.
Suggested topics for technology web pages include:
Aircraft, agriculture machines, heating systems, cameras, sailing ships, engines, navigational instruments, weather instruments, telephones, telegraphs, railways, transportation vehicles, atomic power, generators, computers, explosives, firearms, fiber optics, food industry, energy systems, health industry, metals forming/processing, space industries, machinery/tools, propulsion, lithography, construction industry, military technology, mining technology, nuclear power, oil industry, pesticides, plastics, geothermal power, tidal power, fusion reactors, solar power, wind power, water power, rocketry, electronic devices, sonar, radar, planetary travel, shuttles, probes, planetary landings, steam engines, surgery, telecommunications, televisions, satellites, weapons, etc.
Research and development of technology web pages will assist all students in Technology Education (Communications Technology 2104/3104, Design Technology 1109/2109). As a rural school, students of Mobile High School are not frequently introduced to emerging technologies in comparison to students living in more urban areas. Researching, designing and uploading technology web pages will allow students from all areas to quickly browse through quality information on various technologies with relative ease. This increased exposure to various technologies will ensure that students graduating this school will have a greater sense of technological literacy.
Production of Technology web pages will also promote the notions of language across the curriculum and reading to learn. Students will be expected to incorporate language skills in writing, editing, and publishing the results of their research.
The Technology Education learning outcomes that are applicable to this project include:
Mobile High School currently has a Technology Education lab which features 24 workstations networked by Windows NT 3.51. The network shares both a laser printer and a flatbed scanner both of which are necessary for web page development. In addition, the school has a digital camera which is frequently used by students in producing slide shows on various technologies they have researched in and around the community.
Evaluation of this project will be in accordance with the objectives set out in the curriculum guidelines published with the Communications 2104/3104 course outline.
Students will be expected to exhibit evidence of progress and achievement. Four areas are of particular interest: factual knowledge, conceptual understanding of systems, problem-solving skill, and practical performance of a variety of technological activities.