The PATT36 conference addressed the theme of “Research and Practice in Technology Education: Perspectives on Human Capacity and Development”. Within this theme, three sub-themes formed the focus of three separate sessions, each including a keynote presentation and plenary discussion. On Thursday 21st July, the session centred on the sub-theme of “Driving Social Change”.
The Keynote address was given by Gerald Crotty, a Technology teacher from Scoil Mhuire Kanturk. Gerald discussed how, despite female representation in technology educational in Ireland being only approximately 20%, over the last seven years he has managed to increase this number to being above 50% in his classroom. Gerald presented on how he has achieved this through his own practice and stressed that increasing female representation requires sustained longitudinal efforts to change traditional perceptions of the subjects.
Following the keynote, Gerald sat on a panel with Prof. Stephanie Atkinson and PhD candidate Ulrika Sultan to further discuss driving social change in Technology education. The panel session was convened by Dr Donal Canty. All speakers shared their own unique perspectives on this topic. The panel responded to questions posed by the delegates including:
“Understanding the philosophy of technology and the role of technology in shaping and impacting society are vital components of technology education. What are your views on how to get this message to teachers given the limited time they have in Initial Teacher Education programmes and that many believe students come to technology to “make stuff”. How can we drive a significant change in developing the deeper understanding of technology in schools?”
“Females in many countries are underrepresented in technology education. I do not think it is fair to view a solution to this by increasing the numbers of females in technology education as this could lead to some women being in a subject they do not necessarily want to be in. Acknowledging that, increasing female representation would be positive. What barriers do the panel think exist for female engagement in technology education?”
The session finished with an open floor discussion where audience members responded to the discussion and asked further questions to panel members.