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Rick Zilla Staff Photo

Technology and Engineering Education 

Within the past decade, the educational community has undergone major changes in its view of curriculum, instruction, standards, and assessment. The most significant shift is the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s shift to common core standards and, more importantly, the testing of standards with the Keystone Exams. In light of this change, a greater emphasis has been placed of the practical application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The Greenville Area School District must respond to this in a proactive manner creating a curriculum that shows our students the value of education and the practical application of the knowledge gained in the core subject areas. By developing hands-on course work that demonstrates this integration, students will be armed with the tools and skill set to be successful in a global market place. The following proposal will shift our curriculum to a more STEM centered approach using engineering, creativity, and design as a vehicle for student success.

STEM learning is an economic imperative. Experts say that technological innovation accounted for almost half of U.S. economic growth over the past 50 years, and almost all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in STEM. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics have extended human capabilities in physical, social, and intellectual ways. The positive and negative impacts from these changes have had social, ecological, political, educational, and economic implications. In response to the impact of these areas on human life, educators are becoming more aware of the need for students to be extremely proficient in these areas. The adaptation of STEM education is an example of the response educators are making to this global shift.

Tremendous changes in human lives have occurred because of the advancements in technology. Young people face a world that will change constantly during their lifetime. Because of the very nature of technology, advancement is the driving force in a technological society. To continue with the great strides people have made in society, students must be equipped with the ability to use, manage, and understand technology. We must also be able apply science and mathematics along with other subject areas to promote future changes and advancements to society. Technological literacy is a concept used to characterize the extent to which an individual understands and is capable of using technology. Educators must create an environment that fosters these skills and allows the students to achieve a high level of technological literacy.

People use technology while employing the concepts of math, science, and engineering to change and adapt to their surroundings. Countless marvels have been created using technology, although humans have also learned that not all of the changes have had a positive effect. Controlling technology requires that people use it carefully; understanding how to balance the positive and negative effects of the changes created. As a member of society there is a responsibility to help understand technology in a way that will allow people to use it wisely. Making decisions about technology is not the job of a few well-educated individuals; it falls on all members of society. A basic level of technological literacy is a necessity for all citizens. Technological literacy clearly is a valuable trait for all students and must permeate the entire school district curriculum and not just be developed in one curricular area.