Technology and Engineering Education in the State of Maryland: Challenges and Opportunities

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1 Technology and Engineering Education in the State of Maryland: Challenges and Opportunities Dr. Ayodele J. Alade, Dean School of Business and Technology University of Maryland Eastern Shore FTEE Spirit of Excellence Breakfast March 3, 2016 Introduction by Dr. Derrek Dunn, Chair, Department of Technology, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Main Speech Board members, Program organizers, distinguished leaders in Technology Career Education, University host, and our honored guests. Good morning This morning, I speak on Technology and Engineering Education in the State of Maryland, the Challenges and Opportunities. It is not by accident that we are talking about the challenges and opportunity of Undergraduate Technology and Engineering Education today, we have seen over the decade reduced support for Technology and Engineering Education across the nation, even though, it remains the main pillar for producing essential educators to help train future leaders in Technology Education, especially at the secondary level. 1

2 In the United States, technology and engineering education is relegated to nothing more than just an elective course across most institutions. It is given top consideration as a required course in only seven States. In the State of Maryland, technology education is mandated as a high school graduation requirement. Technology and engineering education in many cases is treated as a general education, or Career Technology Education (CTE) job preparation course, depending on the School Board and State law. In Maryland, it is an academic course which helps provide some credence to Technology and Engineering Education (TEE) in the State. There multiple ways that credits could earned in Technology and Engineering Education in Maryland. The credits may be earned through Engineering by Design Course Foundations of Technology, Project Lead the Way, or through a District Developed Course. Based on national work by the International Technology and Engineering Educator Association (ITEEA), e.g.; Technology for All Americans (1996), Standards for Technological Literacy (2000, 2002, 2007), and Advancing Excellence in Technological Literacy (2013), many States have adopted the Standards for Technological Literacy in content standards in their State curriculum frameworks for technology education. 2

3 These same standards were implemented within teacher certification exams, such as Praxis II. It is great to know that Maryland is currently rewriting the voluntary curriculum frameworks for Technology Education. In doing so, the International Technology and Engineering Educator Association (ITEEA) Standards for Technological Literacy are again being used as a guidepost for the development of State standards. Starting in the mid-2000s, there was a shift in the emphasis on the role of technology education within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The eventual inevitable shift in the education landscape placed technology education as an integrative content area within the academic college preparation structure. With a new focus on accountability, the field of Technology and Engineering Education worked to show ways that students could develop academic skills in math, science, and language arts in their hands-on coursework. As a result of these new developments, some teacher education institutions moved technology and engineering education into new departments of STEM Education. Part of our problem is how do we appropriately position Technology and Engineering Education (TEE) in the larger context of our curriculum? In order for TEE to be considered an 3

4 equal partner in STEM in the future, we need to follow the belief that technology and engineering (the T and E) should be for all students, whether college bound, or going into the workforce or military, and other personal life style choices. Another recent trend in American education which is impacting elementary and secondary education has been the adoption by most States of the Common Core State Standards, whether in whole or adapted. These standards were developed to increase critical thinking and deep understanding of content by students. Maryland adopted their own set of standards called the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards. With the adoption of the national exams from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC, 2014) and a new focus on disciplinary literacy in all subjects, technology education teachers are now being asked to help prepare their students for academic school goals. There has been a pronounced loss of undergraduate technology education teacher preparation programs in the United States since the 1990s. Reasons for the closings of these programs may be due to the impact of Research I status at universities, high costs of programs, and or/low enrollments. 4

5 These teacher education program closings have created a major gap in the availability of competent and qualified educators with a consequent and predictable outcome of a lack of fully certified teachers to be hired by school districts. School districts are increasingly turning to the hiring of alternative certified teachers, i.e.; retired or former engineers and teachers transferring-in from other fields, i.e.; like history, and business education. Unfortunately, the lack of preparation for teaching pedagogy means that these alternative certification teachers, with less experience and commitment, migrate out of teaching to other careers at a higher rate than traditionally prepared teachers. In addition, it is difficult for these new teachers to pass the Praxis II and State exams for technology education content due to their vocational training rather than technological education orientation training. With these challenges, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) has been a beacon of change, by recognizing these trends and challenges facing undergraduate technology teacher education. UMES is aggressively moving forward by taken firm steps to address the issues in Maryland technology and engineering education. In 2015, Dr. Tyler Love, an alumni of UMES was hired to coordinate and be the lead faculty member with the undergraduate Technology and Engineering Education 5

6 degree program in our Department of Technology at UMES. Dr. Love brings a lot of enthusiasm and well-developed ideas on how to update the program and increase enrollment to sustainable levels. He is receiving tremendous support from the School of Business and Technology and the University in these efforts. While calls have been made for some time about the pending demise of technology education, the field in the United States has stayed vibrant, exciting and renewed due to leaders in the field within professional associations, government education offices, district departments, and professional teachers efforts in the classrooms. These leaders that have committed themselves to promoting technology and engineering education are now helping to promote research and scholarship in the field, help develop new curriculum ideas and models that have helped bring about technological change and professional development at all levels. Technology and engineering education in the United States has been in a period of continual change since the late 1960s. Innovation and change will likely continue into the foreseeable future. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is committed to stay in the forefront of these changes and provide national leadership. Thank you! 6

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